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.
January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Tuesday Winter Civil War Tours, 2:00-3:00pm. For more information call 251-540-5257.
Guided Excursion, 9:30am-1:00pm. Tickets are required. For more information call
French & Indian War of 1812. For more information call 334-567-3002.
Happy Holidays from the Alabama Historical Commission
Alabama Historical Commission Receives Prestigious National Award
On November 30, 2016 the Alabama Historical Commission (State Historic Preservation Office) received recognition from the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) for its work in helping to restore and protect the 500-year-old Native American cliff art known as Painted Bluff, Marshall County, Alabama.
The purpose of this project, a partnership between the Alabama Historical Commission, the University of Tennessee, the University of Alabama, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), 15 federally recognized Indian tribes, researchers, and local volunteers, was to identify, remove, and camouflage graffiti that had defaced the centuries-old imagery of Painted Bluff and to engage in public outreach to further reduce human impact to the site.
"The Painted Bluff project fulfills a number of the objectives we honor through the Chairman's Award, including the rehabilitation and stewardship of historic resources, as well as the public involvement of partners and stakeholders in preserving those resources," said ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA.
Partners who received the prestigious national award. Stacye Hathorn, State Archaeologist, traveled to Washington, DC, to accept the award on behalf of the Alabama Historical Commission.
"Painted Bluff is remarkable because it is incredibly rare for 600 year old rock art to be preserved in the South's humid climate," said Stacye Hathorn, State Archaeologist, Alabama Historical Commission. "There are at least 80 glyphs rendered in natural pigment on the rock surface at Painted Bluff," said Stacye.
"The Alabama Historical Commission is honored to be recognized by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and to receive this prestigious award for its role in helping to preserve Painted Bluff, said Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, State Historic Preservation Office. "It is a pleasure to work alongside such talented and passionate individuals who labor tirelessly to preserve our cultural resources," said Mrs. Jones.
In 2013 the Alabama Historical Commission named Painted Bluff to its "Places in Peril" list, which highlights the most significant endangered landmarks in the state. This endeavor brought statewide attention to the much needed conservation issues at the site.
AHC to Launch New Website
The Alabama Historical Commission will unveil its newly redesigned website in January 2017. The restyled site provides a cleaner, more engaging user experience.
The domain change and the redesign have been several years in the making. Thank you to Lee Sentell, Director of the Alabama Tourism Department, for funding this project.
This endeavor will help to further our mission - protect, preserve, and interpret Alabama's historic places.
2017 Places in Peril Nominations
Places In Peril nominations are now being accepted (
deadline for nominations is March 31, 2017). If there is an irreplaceable historic building or site in your area that is threatened by demolition or neglect, this is your opportunity to help save it.
Please download the attached nomination form
. Each submission will be evaluated for its significance and level of threat.
National Register of Historic Places Update
On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Florence Alabama Music Enterprises (FAME) Recording Studio was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was listed for its significance in the performing arts and relationship to Rick Hall, founder of FAME.
Even with its elite musical legacy, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, has never quite gotten the same kind of accolades as Detroit or Memphis - that is, until recently.
In the 1960s and '70s, that tiny town - population around 13,000, according to the most recent census - on the south bank of the Tennessee River was the unlikely site of historic soul, rock and country recordings by everyone from Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett to Paul Simon and the Rolling Stones. Dozens of classics came from this place, including "When a Man Loves a Woman," "I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)," "Mustang Sally" and "I'll Take You There." Read more here.
The Alabama Historical Commission is pleased to see FAME Studios added to the National Register.
Alabama Register Update
On Thursday, December 1, 2016, the Alabama Historical Commission held the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage Review Board meeting.
The following properties were added to the Alabama Register:
Coffee County Jail, Elba, Coffee County
The Jail, listed for its association with African American heritage and for architecture, was built in 1912 with an addition in the 1950s.
The Old Coffee County Jail was constructed using bricks baked in a kiln on the banks of the Pea River. The same kiln also furnished bricks for the Elba United Methodist Church.
With the original blueprints retained by the county, the separate cells of men, women, White, African American, and the Insane can still be seen.
After the flood of 1990, a new county jail was built in New Brockton. The Old Coffee County Jail has been vacant since that time.
The Town of Elba plans to restore the old jail as a local county history museum.
Mulberry Heights School (Elba Colored School), Elba, Coffee County
The school, listed for its association with education and ethnic heritage, was constructed in the late 1950s with an addition of the gym and another classroom building in 1966 as the separate but equal facility for local African American school children.
The property on which the Mulberry Heights School sits was purchased by the Mulberry Baptist Association, an African American organization that includes several churches in the area. This organization built a Rosenwald school on the property in 1927. The school later burned and in the 1950s the Elba Colored School was built in its place.
The structure has now been purchased by the Elba Zion Missionary Baptist Church, which plans to restore the property as a community center.
Saint John United Methodist Church, Anniston, Calhoun County
At the turn of the century, a group formed Saint John Methodist Church, the first Black Methodist Episcopal Church in South Anniston. The original building was constructed in 1922 on D Street.
In 1951 under the leadership of Reverend O.J. Leeth, a new church building was erected and served as a meeting space during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
In 1967 the Black Central Alabama Conference merged with Alabama-West Florida and the North Alabama Conference. At that time, Saint John Methodist became known as Saint John United Methodist.
Saint John still stands as the only Black United Methodist church in the community.
Saint Luke Missionary Baptist Church, Gallion, Marengo County
Constructed in 1913, Saint Luke has served the local African American community throughout its history.
Organized in 1890, the congregation met in brush arbors, or in the homes of church members until a sanctuary was built. In 1913, three acres of land was acquired for the sum of sixty dollars, and construction on a permanent church building began soon after.
Saint Luke became a vital resource for the local African American school children. The congregation supported and provided teachers for the school until 1946 when the Marengo County Board of Education took over the task.
Saint Luke continues to serve as a local church and a resource for the surrounding community. A new building was erected next to the original church in 2013 to replace the aging sanctuary.
Weldon General Store, Chelsea, Shelby County
From the time the store was constructed in 1922 until its closure in the 1980s, it served the community of Chelsea.
The original store, burned in 1921 and rebuilt in 1922, provided dry goods, farm supplies, local produce, medicine, and other necessary goods for the community.
After George Washington Weldon passed away, his daughter, Valerie Weldon took possession of the store and its daily operation until her death in 1980.
The store and the property now belong to the City of Chelsea but are in danger of being demolished.
AHC Staff and Black Heritage Council Attend Marker Dedication
On Friday, December 2, 2016, Elvin Land, Vice-Chair of Black Heritage Council, and Hannah Garmon, Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) Alabama Register and Historical Marker Coordinator, spoke at a ceremony dedicating a historical marker for the Escambia County Training School (ECTS) in Atmore, AL.
The school began in 1920 as the Atmore Colored School. In c. 1926, with assistance from the Rosenwald School Building Fund, a new building was constructed and it was renamed the Escambia County Training School. The ECTS was one of four schools built in Escambia County with assistance from the Rosenwald School Building Fund. The other three Rosenwald Schools in the county were the Pollard School, Mason School, and the Boykin School. Of the four, the ECTS was the largest and is the only one that has been documented to date still remaining in Escambia County.
In 1984, the Alabama Historical Commission created the Black Heritage Council as an advisory group to the Commission on the preservation of African American historic places in the state. It was the first organization of its kind developed in the nation. Today, the Black Heritage Council is the only statewide organization whose sole mission is to advocate for the preservation of historic African American places, their associated artifacts, history and culture.
For information on the Black Heritage Council or Rosenwald Schools in Alabama, contact Dorothy Walker at 334-230-2676 or
AHC Staff Christmas Party
The AHC Staff gathered for the annual Christmas party. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Where in the State are the AHC Staff?
Amanda McBride, Head of Review & Compliance, Alabama Historical Commission, attended the 75th Anniversary Commemoration of the
USS Drum SS-228, a World War II submarine and National Historic Landmark.
AHC staff attended the Alabama Communities of Excellence quarterly meeting in Livingston on the University of West Alabama campus. Pictured left to right: Hannah Garmon, Alabama Register Coordinator; Mary Shell, CLG Coordinator; and Chris Kinder,
Happenings at #AHCsites
The Goat Hill Museum Store hosted a book signing for Dr. Edwin Bridges' new book,
Alabama: The Making of an American State
. Dr. Bridges is pictured here with Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission.
Battery Thomas, built in 1898, has not been accessible to Fort Morgan visitors for a while now. It is now open again with all new handrails. The view from the top is spectacular.
Gaineswood held their annual Candlelight Tours. This year a descendant of General Whitfield returned for a visit (
M.B. Ulmer and his wife, Lawana).
Dr. Greg Waselkov,
Professor of Anthropology and Director of Center for Archaeological Studies at the University of South Alabama, led a tour of the Bottle Creek Indian Mounds hosted by Blakeley State Park. The next scheduled tour is January 14. For more information call
Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, participated in the tour of Bottle Creek along with her brother Dr. Steve Demetropoulos and nephew Steven (college freshman at Ole Miss).
Mike Bunn, Director of Operations at Blakeley State Park, presenting the history of the Bottle Creek Indian Mounds.
Belle Mont Mansion held their annual Plantation Christmas. Pictured below (center) Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission.
The Goat Hill Museum Store hosted a book signing for celebrity chefs Christy Jordan, author of
, and Stacey Little, author of
The Southern Bite.
Magnolia Grove held their annual Jingle Jangle Christmas Celebration.
Fendall Hall held their annual Holiday Open House.
Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler Home held their annual Christmas Celebration.
Happenings Around the State
January 13 -
, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, Department of Archives & History, 624 Washington Avenue.
January 17, 24, and 31
Main Street Alabama Application Workshops
January 17, Athens 1-4 pm: Center for Lifelong Learning, 121 South Marion Street;
January 24, Birmingham 1-4 pm: The 880 Building, 880 Montclair Road;
January 31, Wetumpka 9 am-Noon: Wetumpka Civic Center, 410 South Main Street.
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