Protect, Preserve, & Interpret 
Alabama's  Historic Places

468 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104   ( 334) 230-2690
In This Issue
Calendar of Events
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.
September 3
First Capital Rediscovery Wagon Tour, 10:00am-11:00am. For more information call  334-872-8058. 
September 10
General Joe Wheeler Birthday Celebration, 10:00am. For more information call 256-637-8513. 
September 14
Council of Alabama Archaeology----
Meeting will be held in Carriage House at Alabama Historical Commission in Montgomery, 1:00pm. For more information call 334-230-2690. 
September 17
1750s French Garrison. For more information call 334-567-3002. 
September 17
Fall Migration Walk at 7:00am. After the bird walk a new Alabama Birding Trails sign will be unveiled. For more information call 334-567-3002. Click here to download flyer. 
September 30 - October 1
2016 Community Preservation Forum. For more information call 334-230-2678 or click here.
Recent Press Releases


In the News

Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism

The Alabama Historical Commission staff truly enjoyed attending the 2016 Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism in beautiful Orange Beach! We all learned so much about  the economic impact of the industry on the economy and new strategies for marketing our historic sites.

Lee Sentell, Director of Alabama Tourism Department, and Shelley Piraino, Digital Marketing Manager, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Cooper Holmes, Rhonda Davis, and Lisa Jones

Lisa Franklin, site director of the Alabama State Capitol, visits with Stephanie Compton with Poarch Creek
Main Street Alabama's 3rd Annual aLABama Downtown Laboratory Conference

On August 22-24  Lisa Jones, Executive Director of AHC, Mary Shell, Certified Local Government & Community Services Planner, and Collier Neeley, National Register Coordinator, attended the  Main Street Alabama's 3rd annual aLABama Downtown Laboratory Conference in Five Points South, Birmingham. "Good Design. Good Business." was the theme of the conference, which was attended by downtown revitalization experts, historic preservationists, and economic development professionals from across the state. 

Topics included popups in underutilized spaces, branding your community, and design solutions for downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. Also Shark Tank returned by popular demand. Designated Main Street Alabama communities had the opportunity to pitch their design oriented projects to a panel and live audience.

Featured speakers included:

Ed McMahon , a renowned speaker and a thinker on health and real estate.  He is also a senior staff adviser for Urban Land Institute's (ULI) Building Healthy Places Initiative, and is currently at work on a major new report, Active Transportation and Real Estate: New Frontiers in Development, which will be released at ULI's Spring Meeting in Houston in May 2015. 

Donovan Rypkema,  principal of PlaceEconomics, a Washington, DC-based real estate and economic development consulting firm, gave an intriguing presentation on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Also, in the keynote address Rypkema discussed how Main Streets across the country are the singularly most cost effective economic development program in America

Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President  of Revitalization  Programs, gave an overview of national trends impacting downtown economies and how Main Street programs might be affected. He also presented "Developing Transformation Strategies That Drive Economic Impact in Urban Districts."
Commissioner News

Dr. Ralph Draughon, an AHC Commissioner, was featured in the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art's Fall 2016 issue. The art museum is on the campus of Auburn University, and is the only university art museum in Alabama. 

The article celebrates Commissioner Draughon's continued support of Auburn University.

Passing of Longtime Old Cahawba Employee

As remembered by Linda Derry, site director of Old Cahawba:

Tommy joyfully manned the visitor center at Old Cahawba for over 20 years.  The Splendor Falls, a 2011 novel set in Cahawba contained a character described as "a twinkling-eyed Santa Claus of a man."  That was Tommy Coleman. 
His love of Cahawba was lifelong. Long before the Alabama Historical Commission became actively involved at the site, Tommy, as a scout leader, was bringing boy scouts to the site to accomplish much needed tasks.  And when the "Save Cahawba" movement began with the Old Cahawba Festival, he brought scouts and other scout leaders on board to help make that awareness campaign a success, year after year.  
As an employee of the park, he often helped the site director figure out how to accomplish projects on a shoestring budget. Tommy also used his knowledge of plants, developed  as a boy in his family's greenhouse,  to document Cahawba's living artifacts: the old roses, bulbs, trees and shrubs left behind by Cahawba historic residents. He particularly loved Cahawba's Civil War History, and maintained great relationships with descendants of the Union Soldiers who were held captive at Cahawba.  
Celebrating the upcoming Alabama bicentennial at Cahawba, Alabama's first capital, will be bittersweet without Tommy, but we will always remember him as a vital element in the effort to preserve, protect and interpret this important historic treasure. We will never forget his kind nature and his heart warming chuckle.  
Join Us to Celebrate General Joe Wheeler's Birthday!

The Alabama Historical Commission is honoring General Joe Wheeler's birthday at his home in Hillsboro, Alabama, on Saturday, September,10 at 10:00.

Visitors to Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler Home, will be able to sample cake made from a family recipe said to be the General's favorite.

Fees: Entrance to the grounds, to view the re-enactment, the concert, and, cake (while it lasts) and Pepsi products are FREE. Admission to the Wheeler House is $8 adults, $5 seniors/college students/military, $3 children 6-18, and free for children under 6. 

Tours will be offered from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The annual celebration begins at 10:00 am. The public can explore the grounds from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. 

Come see re-enactors firing a working Civil War cannon and cavalry officers performing drills; watch folk artists such as a blacksmith demonstrate their skills; enjoy a pit-fire cooking demonstration; view handmade quilts based on designs from the 1860s; and learn about bees and their ecosystem from representatives from the Tennessee Valley Beekeepers Association.

Lunch will be available for purchase from Copperhead Road Barbeque & Such, a local food truck. At 12:00 pm the grounds will be filled with live music featuring country music performer Wade Oliver on the front porch of the museum.

**The birthday celebration will be even more exciting this year with two awesome giveaways made possible by The  Friends  of  General Joe Wheeler  FoundationAttendees will have the opportunity to register to win an awesome prize at the celebration (you must be present to win). There will also be an opportunity to register to win a giveaway exclusively on Facebook (you do not have to be present at the event to win). 
You are Invited to Attend the Watch Party for the Opening of the NMAAHC

Please join us for a Watch Party at the Freedom Rides Museum on Saturday, September 24 at 9:00am to watch a live streaming of the Opening Ceremony of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Freedom Rides Museum.

Come witness this seminal American moment! For more information on the watch party at the Freedom Rides Museum, visit us online at or follow us on Facebook. You can also call 334-414-8647.

About NMAAHC: September 24, 2016 will be the Grand Opening Weekend of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The NMAAHC will be the newest and the 19th Smithsonian museum.  Though this is a museum dedicated to telling the story of the African American experience in America, it is a museum that has importance for all Americans.

According to the NMAAHC's website, "African Americans have survived slavery, fought for their freedom in the Civil War, for the freedom of others in subsequent wars, and created lives of meaning for themselves, their families, and their country." The NMAAHC's collections feature items-large and small- that tell the story of America through the African American lens. The museum features 85,000 square feet of exhibition space, nearly 3000 objects, 12 exhibitions, 13 different interactives with 17 stations, and 183 videos housed on five floors.

The opening of the NMAAHC is "an unprecedented local, national and international event unlike any other opening of a cultural institution in America or globally in recent memory."

For those who are unable to attend the Grand Opening Celebration in Washington, DC, you can still be a part of this nationwide celebration.  Across the country and around the world, watch parties and other signature events are being organized by local museums, individuals or corporations as co-celebrants with the NMAAHC Grand Opening.

For more information about the National Museum of African American History, visit their website online at  

National Park Service Announces Availability of New Civil Rights Grants

On August 17 the National Park Service (NPS) opened the application period for new grants to preserve and highlight the sites and stories related to the African American struggle for equality in the 20th Century. Congress appropriated $8.0 million for this new grant program in FY 2016.

"This year the National Park Service is marking 100 years as America's storyteller by finding new ways to provide Americans a more complete history of our country as we enter our second century of stewardship," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program the National Park Service will enlist the support and expertise of state and local governments and non-profit organizations to educate and inspire a new, diverse generation of citizens who must continue our nation's march toward a more perfect union," Jarvis said.  

The grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the NPS. The competitive grant program will provide funding to states, tribes, local governments, and non-profit organizations. Funding will support a broad range of planning, development, and research projects for historic sites associated with African American civil rights in the 20th century. Possible projects include surveys and documentation, interpretation and education, oral histories, architectural services, historic structure reports, planning, and bricks and mortar preservation.

A 2008 NPS study, Civil Rights in America, A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, will serve as the principle reference for grant applicants to determine the appropriateness of proposed projects and properties. 

Who may apply?
States, territories, federally-recognized tribes, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Organizations, local governments (including Certified Local Governments), non-profit organizations, including private non-profit historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); note that HBCUs need to apply in partnership with an eligible recipient.

How do I apply?
Applications must be submitted using Search in for Funding Opportunity #P16AS00485, under Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 15.904 or African American Civil Rights Grants.

When is the deadline for applications?
Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm EDT Friday, October 14, 2016. If the project is funded, applicants should expect to be able to begin work no sooner than January 2017.

For questions about the grant program and application, please contact the NPS at or 202-354-2020.
AHC's Dorothy Walker to Present "How Firm a Foundation: Rosenwald Schools in Alabama" During Landmarks Foundation's Discovery Sundays

On September 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm, Dorothy Walker, site director of AHC's Freedom Rides Museum, will present information on Rosenwald Schools in Alabama as a part of the Montgomery Landmarks Foundation's series called Discovery Sundays. Walker will speak at the newly renovated historic Capri Theatre, 1045 E Fairview Ave, Montgomery, AL 36106 and immediately following there will be a showing of the documentary entitled "Rosenwald."

Walker has been involved in the research, documentation, preservation and promotion of Rosenwald Schools since her career began at AHC nearly 20 years ago. She served as one of Alabama's representatives on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Rosenwald School Initiative and was instrumental in getting the National Trust to hold a national conference in Tuskegee in 2012 to celebrate the centennial celebration of the Rosenwald School program. 

"I have had a keen interest in the history of Rosenwald Schools since learning about them as a Black Heritage Council student intern at the AHC," Walker said. "I had never heard about Rosenwald Schools before coming to work for the AHC and then I learned my high school started as a Rosenwald School! Had it not been for Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, who knows whether my community would have even had a school. These schools were critical to small, rural communities like mine in west Dallas County, AL and all over the South."
Where in the State are the AHC Staff?

On August 12, Lisa Jones, Executive Director of AHC, Lee Anne Wofford, Deputy SHPO, along with Dorothy Walker and Stacye Hathorn, State Archaeologist, attended the dedication of museum exhibits in the Shiloh Rosewald School in Notasulga, Macon County. The school, built in 1922, is one of 19 Rosenwald Schools constructed in Macon County under the Rosenwald School program. 
In 1912, Booker T. Washington, President of Tuskegee University partnered with Julius Rosenwald, Sears CEO, to construct schools across the South, mainly in isolated rural African American communities. This partnership resulted in more than 5,000 schools in 15 states, mostly in the southeastern U.S.

The current school was classified as a two teacher building and demonstrates one of the most common Rosenwald School plans. Although the school closed in the 1970s, it has been well maintained by the Shiloh Baptist Church next door who owns the school. Under Elizabeth Sim's leadership, the nonprofit Shiloh Community Restoration Foundation was established to guide the preservation efforts of the school which was completed about a decade later.

Now completely restored, the school retains much of its historic appearance from its days as a school including original floors, windows, folding interior partition doors and stage. Long term plans include the collection of oral histories from former teachers, administrators, and students of the school and gathering artifacts to display in the museum. Individuals interested in more information on the history of the school, donating items, or taking a tour of the museum, please visit
Happenings at #AHCsites  

Fort Morgan State Historic Site commemorated the Battle of Mobile Bay

Fort Mims celebrated the 30th Anniversary of its re-enactment
The Black Heritage Council Welcomes New Student Intern

In August, the Black Heritage Council welcomed Shaquiall Felder as its newest student intern. Felder, who is originally from Washington, D.C. is a junior history student at Alabama State University. After graduation, he plans to go back to Washington D.C., teach history and attend graduate school at Georgetown University. 
Formed in 1984 by the Alabama Historical Commission, the  Black Heritage Council  (BHC) is the only statewide organization that promotes the preservation and awareness of African American historic places, associated artifacts and culture. 
The Alabama Historical Commission Welcomes New Employee

Rebecca Lynn Shockley joined the staff of the Alabama Historical Commission's historic site Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park

Rebecca is classified as a parks worker. Her primary duties include operating the site's visitor center and assisting with buildings and grounds maintenance.
Happenings Around the State  

September 11  -  Join  Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery  for its dynamic new series,  Discovery Sundays  featuring a line up of speakers and field trips to engage history buffs and curious minds of all ages.  Discovery Sundays takes place one Sunday a month at 2 pm. The program will alternate between presentations at Old Alabama Town and field trips around Montgomery. Free to the public. 

August-October 1 Enter Preservation50's photography contest  to share your skills and love for historic places! The top 5 photographs in each category will be featured on their website and seen by millions of social media followers of P50 partner organizations. Tag your photos with #P50Photo on Instagram.  Official rules  can be found here      

October 24 - The Alabama Humanities Foundation will hold its annual awards luncheon at The Club at 11:30am in Birmingham. Keynote speaker will be Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. Special guest will be Roland Mesnier, former White House Executive Pastry Chef. For more information visit
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468 South Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36130-0900