Virginia Emelie Del Bondio Hassinger

Wife of William Henry Hassinger

Born September 22, 1869 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Died age 85 in April 13, 1954 Birmingham, Alabama

Virginia was the daughter of Emile Ferdinand Del Bondio and Wilhemina Ziegler, born in New Orleans and died in Birmingham, Alabama. She married William Hassinger February 8, 1893 at age 24 (he was age 30) in New Orleans and they had 7 children, 4 of whom moved into the Hassinger Daniels Mansion at its creation and 3 others who were born to the couple after the Mansion was built. They owned the Mansion until 1976 when they sold it to Roy and Venoa Daniels. Hence Sheila and Ira Chaffin have named it the “Hassinger Daniels Mansion” in honor of the 2 founding families.

Supervision of the household servants and daily family activities in the Mansion would have been the duties of Virginia Hassinger. Historians believe that Level I had the entry reception parlor, pocket doors on west led to the Ladies Parlor, more pocket doors led to the Gentlemen’s Parlor (now Victorian Chamber Room), and the Dining Room was straight forward of the entry (like now). The first kitchen of 1898 was in a separate structure located near the alley and also contained servant quarters. It was the practice of the day to keep cooking remote from the Mansions to avoid burning down the main building in case of a fire. Servants would have brought the prepared food across the yard to the Butler’s Pantry area, placed it on china, and served in the Dining Room. About 1905 after electricity came to Highland Ave and dangerous gas lamps were discontinued, an addition was built at the rear of the Mansion (it has horizontal wood cladding). The second kitchen was established inside the brick original structure, with its cook stove shaft still visible in the walls of the Southern Belle Suite and quarters below it. The cook stove clean-out compartments are visible in the Artist Studio in the Basement.

Servants would have supervised necessary coal deliveries by ox pulled heavy wagons up the slope from the rail road lines down below. Coal entered the Mansion from a wood shaft door still existing near the Artist Studio, then down a trough to a iron coal stoker which fed the iron furnaces that kept the Mansion evenly heated in the Winter. The Mansion boasted 3 large beautiful cast iron bathtubs and modern plumbing, which was a rare treat in 1898 Birmingham. These tubs were restored and guests in the Camelot, Southern Belle, and Garden View Rooms can enjoy them. Warm baths were possible because of a coal fired stoker hot water heater, which is still visible in the Artist Studio below. Clothes washing was accomplished by the Servants in the 3 compartmental soap stone sinks, one sink for scrapping off, one for soapy water, the last one for rinsing, before it is presumed the garments were hung up to dry on clothes lines stretching across the Basement during inclement weather. Below the middle are of the Basement, was a cistern that collected rain water, which it is presumed, was then pumped over to the soap stone clothes washing operation.

The Mansion is a passive solar structure with sustainable green architectural traits, with a significant thermal mass, achieved via high fired exterior brick exterior masonry, then a 4 inch air pocket, an interior brick wall construction, followed by lath supporting horse-hair plaster. The high roof structure with slate roof allowed rain water to shed quickly, thus avoiding standing water harm to the structure, with an elaborate rain gutter collection system below.