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Swift-Coles Historic Home:
A Tidewater Mansion

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Swift-Coles Historic Home with children playing out front.  Circa 1910

Swift-Coles Historic Home has a rich history that dates back to 1882 when Thomas Gavin, a local Creole fisherman built the four room dog-trot style cabin on the banks of the Bon Secour River. In 1898 the small dog trot style cabin was purchased by lumber baron, Charles Augustus Swift and his wife Susan Platt Roberts Swift who moved into the small cabin with their seven children. Charles and his brother, Ira owned and operated three sawmills- two of which were located a few miles north of the home. Swift Lumber would prosper in the years to come and is still in operation today. 


Charles A. Swift (left), Ira A. Swift (right), standing on a logging train locomotive.

In 1902 the first addition of the home was built to include an entrance hall, dining room and kitchen. The porches were also added to the west side of the home. With the additions being made to the home Charles and Susan welcomed the birth of two more children. 

By 1908 the Swift family had grown with eleven children- six girls and five boys. At this time the family added two interior bathrooms to the home which was considered "very modern" for that time in American history. 

Charles Swift passed away in 1912 and a year later one of the sawmills that he had been operating caught fire and was a complete loss. Susan would continue residing in the home until her death in 1932. The Swift Supply lumber company is one of the largest businesses in Baldwin County today. The Swift children would return to the home at various times throughout the following years with their families. Susie Nell Swift Marshall would be the last member of the family to reside in the home.


Susie Nell Swift Marshall sitting outside Swift-Coles Historic Home

The home was purchased by Norman Nicholas Coles after Susie passed away in 1976. Coles was an entrepreneur who had graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (what is today Auburn University) and owned the Friendship House restaurant as well as an antique store. Coles traveled the world collecting antiques and artifacts- many of which are still on display in the home. 

Nik Coles bequeathed the home to the Baldwin County Historical Development Commission (BCHDC) upon his death in 2007. The home was opened to the public in 2009. Since then many people have enjoyed the home as a place of celebration as well as a place to take a stroll through history. 

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Shield and Banner of Baldwin County Historic Development Commission

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