Built in 1820, Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, is a simple, white clapboard home design in typical Southern architecture. The main house is of Virginia cottage construction, with four large rooms on the first floor bisected by a wide hall. Each room boasts an individual fireplace. Upstairs are three rooms connected by a hall. The old "whistle path" carries the visitor to the outdoor kitchen from the main home. Located around the estate are the Lion's Club's International Memorial Fountain, the "Clearing" and herb gardens, the Carriage House and Gift Shop. Helen Keller's birthplace cottage is situated east of the main house and consists of a large room with a lovely bay window and playroom. Originally, the small "annex" was an office for keeping the plantation's books.
The home and museum room are decorated with much of the original furniture of the Keller family. Each is highlighted by hundreds of Miss Keller's personal mementos, books and gifts from here lifetime of travel and lectures in 25 countries for the betterment of the world's blind and deaf-blind. Of particular note is her complete library of Braille books and her original Braille typewriter.
Helen Adams Keller was born a healthy child on June 27, 1880, to Captain Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller of Tuscumbia. At the tender age of 19 months, she was stricken with a severe illness which left her blind and deaf. At the age of six, the half-wild, deaf and blind girl was taken by her parents to see Dr. Alexander Graham Bell.
Because of her visit, Helen was united with her teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan on March 3, 1887. After Helen's miraculous break-through at the simple well-pump, she proved so gifted that she soon learned the fingertip alphabet and shortly afterward to write. By the end of August, in six short months, she knew 625 words.
By age 10, Helen had mastered Braille as well as the manual alphabet and even learned to use the typewriter. By the time she was 16, Helen could speak well enough to go to preparatory school and to college. In 1904 she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College.
Helen Keller, the little girl, became one of history's remarkable women. She dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind around the world, lecturing in more than 25 countries on the five major continents.
Her teacher, Anne Sullivan is remembered as "the Miracle Worker" for her lifetime dedication, patience and love to a half-wild southern child trapped in a world of darkness
In 1954, through the efforts of the Helen Keller Property Board of Tuscumbia and the State of Alabama, Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, was made a permanent shrine and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ivy Green is located two miles off Hwys. 72 and 43 in Colbert County, Tuscumbia, Alabama.
Live performances of William Gibson’s world-famous drama, The Miracle Worker, are offered on weekends in early June through mid-July each year on the grounds of Helen Keller’s birthplace (admission charged).