Protect, Preserve, & Interpret 
              Alabama's  Historic Places

468 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104   ( 334) 230-2690
In This Issue
Calendar of Events

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Guided tours are offered by appointment only, Monday - Friday at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00. Self-guided tours anytime Monday-Friday, no appointment needed. Guided Saturday Tours are offered at 9:00, 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00 (group reservation requested but not required). 
Call Lisa Franklin, 
Site Director, at 
334-242-3188 for more information.
This Place Matters is a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities. Join the   National Trust's campaign to raise awareness for our mission of protecting, preserving, and interpreting Alabama's history.
In honor of National Mental Health Month the Alabama Department of Mental Health will display its Capitol Showcase Consumer Art Exhibition, which includes over 100 art pieces by mental health consumers from around the state. For more information c all Lisa Franklin, 
Site Director, at 
May 21
Preservation Consultant, Caroline T. Swope will speak at the quarterly meeting of the Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation, support group for Belle Mont. She will discuss aspects of Belle Mont's architecture.  For more information call 256-383-4401.
May 11
Alabama Register Meeting ----
To be held at the Alabama Historical Commission at 10:00am. For more information c all 334-230-2644 .
May 20
The 2nd Annual Freedom Rides Bike Ride. For more information call 334-414-8647. 
May 20
French & Indian War of 1812. For more information call 334-567-3002.
May 24
Slave Dwelling Project's Sleepover. For more information call 334-624-8618.
May 27
The Memorial Day Tribute will remember those who gave their lives in service at Fort Morgan. For more information call 251-540-5257.
Recent Press Releases

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In the News

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Legislative Update for May 9-11, 2017

Senate Bill 302 (Corrections Construction and Renovation Public Safety Act) 
Sponsor: Senator Ward
Committee: Judiciary
This bill is a scaled down version of SB 59. It allows for $350 million in bonds to renovate existing prison facilities and to construct 1 new prison upon the lease of two prison facilities from local authorities. It still uses the funding for Confederate Memorial Park as a second priority security for the bond issue.
** Update: Bill had a public hearing in Judiciary committee on May 10, no vote was taken.

Senate Bill 60 (Moving or renaming Monuments) 
Sponsor: Senator Allen
Committee: Governmental Affairs
The bill was substituted at the start of the Committee meeting. No monument located on public property that has been situated there for over 50 years can be relocated, moved, altered, or renamed or otherwise disturbed. Monuments on public property that have been there less than 50 years must go before a review committee before it can potentially be relocated, moved, altered, or renamed. This bill had a third reading in the Senate and a substitute was introduced with an amendment that changes the threshold from 50 years to 20 years for monuments and "architecturally significant buildings". It also adds the AHC to the State Committee. This bill was voted favorably out of the Senate.
** Update: This bill was sent to conference committee on May 11 to work out differences.

Senate Bill 129 (Education Budgets) 
Sponsor: Senator Orr
Committees: Finance and Taxation Education
The AHC is included in the Education Trust Fund Budget with an appropriation of $900,000. The majority of these funds are for grants to other entities.
** Update: The Senate on May 9 did not agree with House changes and appointed members to a conference committee and then sent the bill back to the House, where on May 11 they appointed members to the conference committee.

House Bill 155 (General Fund Budget) 
Sponsor: Representative Clouse
Committee: Ways & Means General Fund
The AHC has been appropriated level funding in this budget.
** Update: Both Houses have agreed and the General Fund Budget has been sent to the Governor for her signature on May 11.

House Bill 345 (Historic State Tax Credit Bill) 
Sponsor: Representative Gaston
Committee(s): Ways & Means Education
This bill establishes a new income tax credit for rehabilitation, preservation, or development of certified historic structures, beginning in 2018 and runs through 2022. This bill allows for a maximum of twenty million dollars per year of tax credits.
** Update: This bill passed its 3rd reading on May 9 in the Senate and was sent back to the House to concur or send to a conference committee.

Senate Bill 308 (Supplemental ETF Appropriations) 
Sponsor: Senator Orr
Committee: Finance and Taxation Education
This bill adds language to the AHC's FY 17 appropriation that allows the Commission to appropriate $300,000 to the Alabama Bicentennial Commission Foundation.
Update: No change, this bill still awaits 3rd reading in the second House.

General Information
Staff continues to monitor committee meetings and continue to meet with Senators and Representatives as needed regarding the best interest of the Alabama Historical Commission.

**denotes an update since our last reporting

Download the full update here. Stay current with updates on our website!
Welcome to Our New Commissioner

Welcome to our new commissioner, Mr. Thomas L. Coley, Jr.  He fills the position added through the 2016 legislation, which made it possible to nominate a Black Heritage Council member to the AHC.

Following is a brief biography and contact information for Commissioner Coley.
Commissioner Coley is a member of the AHC's Black Heritage Council.  He was a two-time Diversity Scholar of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Commissioner Coley is a five-term member and past chair of the Tallapoosa County Commission where he has worked to bring jobs and economic development to the county. He currently works with the Alabama Education Association and formerly worked as the Executive Director for the Tuskegee History Center, formerly the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center. Commissioner Coley is a graduate of the University of Alabama. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, Association of County Commissions of Alabama, and the National Association of Black County Officials (Past President).
Commissioner Coley accredits his interest in historic places beginning with a tour of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in elementary school. In his application to join the Black Heritage Council (BHC), Commissioner Coley states, "I fully embrace the BHC's mission of advocacy for historic African American place and the related stories, artifacts and cultures in Alabama.  This mission makes the BHC one of the most important, if not the most important institution in Alabama for preserving 'African American identity' because the identity of a people is rooted in its places, stories, artifacts historic culture.  Without these touchstones of identity, any culture is lost.  And Alabama's African American community is no different."
For a full list of Commissioners visit
AHC Executive Director Elected to Serve on the NCSHPO Board
Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission

Lisa D. Jones, AHC Executive Director and State  Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), is honored to serve on the  National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) Board of Directors. Each officer is elected by the member States. 

The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) is the professional association of the State government officials who carry out the national historic preservation program as delegates of the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended 
(NHPA) (16 USC 470).
AHC Staff Attended World Heritage & U.S. Civil Rights Sites Symposium

AHC staff, Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director, Clara Nobles, Assistant Executive Director, Lee Anne Wofford, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Dorothy Walker, Site Director of the Freedom Rides Museum, and Collier Neeley, National Register Coordinator, attended the World Heritage & U.S. Civil Rights Sites Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Left to Right: Jeff Jensen, General Services Administration Preservation Specialist, Trey Granger, Deputy Clerk of Court at U.S. District Court, Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, Honorable Gray Borden, U.S. Magistrate Judge, and Honorable Keith Watkins, Chief District Judge.  
The Symposium attracted over 100 participants who learned about the World Heritage process and discussed how to shape a serial nomination of U.S. Civil Rights Sites.
Plenary sessions were informative and evocative, followed by lively Q&A sessions. Group breakout sessions were focused and interactive.
AHC Attended National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week

Our very own AHC Executive Director Lisa D. Jones, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Lee Anne Wofford, and AHC Commissioner and President of Downtown Mobile Alliance Elizabeth Stevens attended National Historic Preservation Week in Washington, D.C. They learned about advocacy for preservation and met with Alabama's representatives to let them know how we are preserving our state and local history! 

Left to Right: Lisa D. Jones, Lee Anne Wofford, and Elizabeth Stevens

Selma-Dallas County Held Bicentennial Kick-off at Old Cahawba

With Alabama's bicentennial quickly approaching, the local celebration committee held a kickoff at Old Cahawba to let the public know their plans and ways to celebrate the state turning 200.

Linda Derry, Site Director of Old Cahawba, welcomes visitors to kick-off event
The kick-off was held at Old Cahawba because of its significance in Alabama's history, being the state's first capital.
"We appreciate the fact that the committee saw this as the natural place to have the kickoff," said Linda Derry, Site Director of Old Cahawba. "I think it just naturally belongs here because this is the place of origin for all of Dallas County. Just about everything that began in Dallas County, began here at Old Cahawba."

The state set aside $1,000 for each of the 67 counties to use for their celebrations, and the committee decided to use that money as a tool to raise more funds for larger projects throughout the four-year celebration.
Portrait of Horace King Displayed in Alabama State Capitol

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, nearly 170 years after African-Americans built the Alabama State Capitol, the first portrait of a black person has been added to its walls.
Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, and Dr. Richard Bailey, author and historian, unveil the portrait of Horace King.
(Photo: Albert Cesare / Advertiser) 

Horace King was a bridge builder, legislator and emancipated slave. His portrait, which was donated by historian and author Richard Bailey, now hangs beneath the spiral staircases that King conceptualized and built.
In 1807 King was born into slavery in South Carolina and purchased by contractor John Godwin in 1830. Godwin began training King how to build bridges, but King "very soon outdistanced (Godwin)," said Dr. J. Mills Thornton, a retired University of Michigan professor and historian of the South. "He was recognized for his skill and deeply impressed people who saw his work."
The stairs in the Alabama Capitol designed by Horace King. (Photo: Albert Cesare / Advertiser)

"(King's) story is as remarkable as in American history," Thornton said. "In Alabama history, it stands alone. It is I think deeply moving that the state of Alabama is now recognizing (King) and his achievements with this portrait."
Click here to read more about King. 

For more information about touring the State Capitol visit 
Pond Spring Unveiled New Entrance Sign and Markers

Pond Spring, the Friends of the General Joe Wheeler Foundation, and the Alabama Historical Commission unveiled two refurbished historical markers and new museum sign on Saturday, April 29. 

AHC was honored to welcome U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt, State Senator Arthur Orr, State Representative Ken Johnson, Red Cross North Alabama Executive Director Kris Anderson, and Scotty E. Kirkland, Chair of the AHA Historical Marker Committee. Lucy LeGrand Walser, great-great-granddaughter of General Joe Wheeler, was also a special guest. 

Thank you to the Friends of the General Joe Wheeler Home Foundation for all your hard work and for making this event a success!

Senator Arthur Orr speaking to crowd

From left to right: Senator Arthur Orr, Leland Free, President of the Friends of the General Joe Wheeler Home, Mitchell Morris, member of Friends, U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt, State Representative Ken Johnson, and Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission
Pond Spring and Belle Mont Awarded MSNHA Grants
Support and funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area will enable Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler Home to add 13 outdoor interpretive signs to the museum grounds, which will communicate the history connected to the structures and landscape features of the site.

Belle Mont Mansion was also awarded a MSNHA grant to be applied towards the installation of ultraviolet window film so that the museum can safeguard its priceless contents.
New Signage at Fort Tombecbe

During its annual Community Day Fort Tombecbe unveiled new interpretive panels, which were made possible by a grant administered by the Alabama Historical Commission. 

Staff from the Black Belt Museum and the University of West Alabama Division of Economic Development and Outreach helped to write, design, and edit the panels.

Google Executives Visit Freedom Rides Museum

In February, a group of ten executives based in California, with Google's Associate Product Manager program, visited Montgomery, Alabama, to learn about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and issues of Racial Justice in the United States. The executives visited the Freedom Rides Museum where they were greeted by Lisa Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission. They also enjoyed a guided tour given by the Freedom Rides Museum Site Director Dorothy Walker. 

The purpose of their trip was to
● Listen and absorb stories and background from primary sources, scholars, activists, and organizations.
● Engage and learn by visiting landmarks, museums, and businesses that are steeped in history. Ask questions, think deeply, engage in conversations.
● Pay it forward. Explore meaningful ways to give back to the Montgomery community and carry on the discussions even after the trip is over.
AHC Cemetery Register Update

Since February 2017 the Alabama Historical Commission has added 25 cemeteries to its register.

The most recognizable of these is, perhaps, the Key Underwood Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama. 

Coon Dog Cemetery is the only burial ground in the world exclusively for coonhounds. It was established in 1937 by Key Underwood, who lost his coonhound, Troop.

The cemetery, once a camping ground, is now a popular tourist attraction. Coonhounds from all over the United States are buried at the site.

Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery maintain, restore, and preserve the cemetery for the use of future generations.
National Register of Historic Places Update

On Thursday, April 27, 2017 the National Register Review Board presented the following nominations for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places:

Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Perry County, was originally in an unpopulated area around a plantation house purchased by the American Missionary Association (AMA) after the Civil War. A prominent African American neighborhood grew up around the school, which is located on a slight rise, evidence of the importance of the school in the community.

Today, the neighborhood around the site stills exists, but has fallen into disrepair in the past twenty years.

The Lincoln School site contained thirteen structures at various times during its operation. 

Lower Dauphin Street Commercial District in Mobile, Mobile County, is commercial in character, but the district includes several important historic houses in a variety of styles. These include the Italianate and Queen Anne styles among others. The district also contains two parks - Cathedral Square and Bienville Square.

The buildings are closely spaced, presenting a distinctive nineteenth century urban landscape. The commercial importance of the district continued through the twenty century, and a number of Modernistic styles are present. 

McFarland Heights Historic District in Florence, Lauderdale County, is located on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River. 

The neighborhood developed as Florence's first exclusive suburban development. Built over a period of about 45 years, (1920-1966) McFarland Heights has a wealth of high style buildings, most of which maintain their historic integrity.

The houses reflect the transition from pre- to post-World War II suburban American architecture, with one notable dwelling designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.   

Where in the State are the AHC Staff?

Dylan Tucker, Cultural Resources Specialist at Fort Morgan, dressed in CAC World War I uniform, presented a demonstration to Flomaton High School's first history fair

In April AHC archaeologists were invited to visit the 1830's Morrisville Dam on Cane Creek, which is located within the Alabama Army National Guard's (ALARNG) Pelham Range in Calhoun County.  This site, which served several industries within the former Morrisville community, may represent one of the earliest dams in Alabama.  Pictured here from left to right are Nick Glass and Dr. Heather Puckett (ALARNG) with AHC State Archaeologist, Stacye Hathorn.

Linda Derry, Site Director of Old Cahawba, gave a presentation at the annual reunion of the Sultana Descendants and Friends Association in Franklin, Tennessee.
Cahawba, during the Civil War, was the site of a prison for captured Union soldiers. Many of those held captive in Cahawba were captured at the Battle of Franklin. At the end of the war, the Cahawba P.O.W.s were taken to Vicksburg where many were loaded onto the steamboat Sultana.  After surviving the bloodiest war in U.S. history and prisoner of war camp, they thought they were going home to their loved ones. Instead, just miles above Memphis, Tennessee, the boilers exploded and killed most of these men. 
Officers in the Sons of Union Veterans (SUV) of the Civil War were in attendance and expressed an interest in supporting Cahawba's annual memorial service for the Union dead.  There are plans to hold this in conjunction with the Sultana Reunion at Cahawba next year. 

Attendees enjoyed tour of battlefield excavation

Freedom Riders Catherine Burks Brooks and Willie James Thomas (Ameen Tuungane)
Dorothy Walker, Site Director of the Freedom Rides Museum, joined Freedom Riders Catherine Burks Brooks and Willie James Thomas (Ameen Tuungane) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to speak to students.

Both Mrs. Burks Brooks and Mr. Tuungane spoke about their early life and experiences with Jim Crow segregation, which influenced their decision to join the Freedom Rides.
Happenings at #AHCsites

Confederate Memorial Park welcomed over 600 visitors to its annual Civil War Living History Program

Gaineswood was honored to host the Rolls Royce club. Pictured are  Mary Elizabeth Whitfield (Courtney Flowers), Mary Alice Foscue Whitfield (Makayla Durden), and (center) Paige Smith, Site Director of Gaineswood. 

The Cahawba Advisory Committee and the April 1865 Society held a Memorial Service for Civil War POWs at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park 

In April Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson Park hosted the 26th annual French & Indian War Encampment. Nearly 100 re-enactors interpreted the Seven Years War period to approximately 500 visitors. The Park also debuted a new Fort Toulouse t-shirt during the event! Photo courtesy of Ashley Dias

In April Fort Morgan held the Spring Garrison Living History Day 

Monica Moore teaches students about Choctaw Indian life in the 1800s at Gaineswood's annual Heritage Days

An article on the Civil War Walking Tour at Old Cahawba, led by Linda Derry, Site Director, was included in USA Today

Birmingham Audubon - in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Mississippi State University, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, the Alabama Historical Commission, and Mobile Bay Audubon Society - held a new Coastal Alabama Bird Banding Project at Fort Morgan.

Attorneys Fred Gray and Ashley Smith spoke to Booker T. Washington High School Law Academy students at the Freedom Rides Museum during Black History Month. The students learned about the  role of the law during the Civil Rights Movement and in addressing contemporary social justice issues.
Pictured here is Glenn Rickard one of the demonstrators 
at  Belle Mont's first Heritage Day
AHC Job Announcement

Freedom Rides Museum
Part-time Position Available
The Alabama Historical Commission seeks to fill a position at the Freedom Rides Museum located in the historic Greyhound Bus Station in Montgomery, AL. In May 1961, an integrated group of 21 young college students - known as the Freedom Riders - met mob violence with non-violence and courage at the Montgomery Bus Station. Their actions helped end racial segregation in all interstate transportation.
Duties of this position include staffing museum during regular open hours and as needed for groups with reservations; conducting guided tours, scheduling group tours, responding to tour requests via phone and email, coordinating dates for tours and maintaining the tour calendar; completing cash register and credit card transactions; submitting basic reports on daily transactions, weekly and quarterly visitation numbers and retail sales; reconciling cash register record with receipts; opening and closing the site daily including light cleaning, inspecting exhibits and condition of art and artifacts, checking lighting, and changing bulbs when needed; notifying site director of museum inventory and building issues; performing office and computer work including preparing daily and weekly numbers.  
Other duties include historical and education program research; helping to develop education programs and special events; some social media posts and other daily tasks as assigned.
This is a part-time position ranging from 30-35 hours per week. Candidate must be available to work Monday - Saturday from 11:00 am - 4:30 pm. Basic knowledge in Microsoft Word and Excel and experience with a printer/scanner and email preferred.
About the Alabama Historical Commission
Located in historic downtown Montgomery at 468 S. Perry Street, the Alabama Historical Commission is the state historic preservation agency for Alabama. The agency was created by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama's historic places. AHC works to accomplish its mission through two fields of endeavor: Preservation and promotion of state-owned historic sites as public attractions; and, statewide programs to assist people, groups, towns, and cities with local preservation activities. For a complete list of programs and properties owned and operated by the AHC, hours of operation, and admission fees please visit   
Dorothy Walker, Site Director
Freedom Rides Museum
Alabama Historical Commission
468 South Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
Office phone: 334/230-2676
Museum phone: 334/414-8647

Happenings Around the State  

May 13 -   Annual Membership Meeting and Workshop , Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance, Inc., Auburn, Alabama  

May 16 - Preservation & Placemaking: Enhancing Our Future by Celebrating Our Past, Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission, Huntsville, Alabama


June 1 - Deadline for National Trust for Historic Preservation Grants - Gwyn Turner Preservation Fund for Alabama, for more information click here

June 9 - Deadline to submit applications for Executive Director position at Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery, click here for more information 

June 13 - Educator's Enrichment Workshop, Blakeley State Park, click here to download flyer


August 21-23 - aLABama Downtown Laboratory, Main Street Alabama Annual Conference
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468 South Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36130-0900