The Official E-Newsletter of the Alabama Historical Commission
Volume 5 Number 2
468 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104   ( 334) 242-3184
In This Issue
Calendar of Events

See more events at
Download the 2019 event calendar here!
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.
July 2-July 30
Eventide Living History Tours
Spend the evening at Fort Morgan State Historic Site visiting with Living History interpreters. Learn about the military history of Mobile Point, watch small weapons demos, learn about the life of a laundress, see the cannon crew demonstrate the civil war cannon fire drills, and then watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Tickets are $10 per person. No discounts available. All events are weather dependent. Please follow the Fort Morgan Facebook page for delays and cancellations. No reservation required. Learn more by calling  251-540-5257. 
July 2
WWI and WWII Occupation at Fort Morgan
Fort Morgan was occupied by the Coast Artillery Corp in WWI and WWII. Stroll through the photo gallery of actual photos taken here during those eras, bring a lawn chair to enjoy the 151st Army Detachment Band, and talk with the living history interpreters stationed inside the fort.. Learn more by calling  251-540-5257. 
July 18, July 19 
Summer Civil Rights Workshops
Register for one of the Freedom Rides Museum's FREE educator workshops this summer and level up with some new resources and fresh approaches to engage your students in the Civil Rights Movement. Utilize new sources and lesser-known stories to help bring the past alive and into the present.
Middle School, High School, and College educators can come away with greater knowledge of the 1961 Freedom Rides and some new ideas for energizing students in the coming school year.
Choose from one of the final sessions:
Thursday, July 18, 9-10:30 am

Friday, July 19, 9-10:30 am

Registration is free but required. Space is limited.

For more information call 
August 17
Confederate Memorial Park ----
Drill! Drill! Drill! 
Borne in Battle, part two of the 2019 Visitors will experience demonstrations performed by authentically uniformed & equipped reenactors with a focus on the Manual of Arms. Stop by to learn more about how soldiers handled their weapons and maneuvered on the battlefield.

Event is 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Admission to the park is free. Normal museum admission rates apply.
In the News

See more news at

The 'Clotilda,' the Last-Known Slave Ship to Arrive in U.S. Is Found

March - June 2019 NEWS

Making International News: Finding the Clotilda 

On May 22, the Alabama Historical Commission made international news with the announcement that the last-known slave ship to enter American waters had been identified.  After a comprehensive archaeological assessment and months of research, the Alabama Historical Commission formally declared the shipwreck targeted in the Mobile River search was the Clotilda

AHC, along with partners Black Heritage Council, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institute, Slave Wrecks Project, Diving with a Purpose, SEARCH Inc., and National Park Service, hosted a press conference at the Robert Hope Community Center in the heart of Africatown on May 30. During the press event, archaeologists reviewed the evidence and scientific methodology used to determine the identity of the wreckage. 
Pictured: Arthur Clarke, Senior Engineer, National Geographic Society; Frazine Taylor, Chair, Black Heritage Council; Clara Nobles, Assistant Executive Director, AHC; Dr. Fred Hiebert; Archaeologist-in-Residence and Curator; National Geographic Society; Anderson Flen, descendant, Africatown; Joe Womack, descendant, Africatown; Kamau Sidiki, member, Slave Wrecks Project and Diving with a Purpose; Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director, AHC; Dr. James Delgado, maritime archaeologist; SEARCH Inc.; Dr. Joycelyn Finley; board member, Black Heritage Council. The featured art was produced and provided by the National Geographic Society. 
Dr. Fred Hiebert, Archaeologist in Residence and Curator, National Geographic
Descendants and dignitaries alike heard first-hand from maritime  a rchaeologist Dr. James Delgado as he  accounted for the details which led them to dive on the Target amid the harsh river conditions. In summary, these revealing details include confirmation of the schooner's unique size, dimensions, local building materials, and construction of the vessel. The wreck also showed signs of burning, which is concurrent with Captain Foster's claim that he scuttled the ship. A detailed survey of all surviving historical survey records for schooners in the entire Gulf of Mexico region, including those of the port of Mobile, found only four vessels built in the size range as this wreck; only one,  Clotilda , out of some 1,500 vessels assessed in the archival records, matches the wreck.
Click here to view the final archaeological report. 

Frazine Taylor, Sylviane Diouf, Mary Elliott, Kamau Sidiki, Anderson Flen,  Eric Sipes

The Alabama Historical Commission has been proud to work with the Black Heritage Council, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Partners, SEARCH Inc., National African American Museum of History and Culture/Smithsonian Institution, Slave Wrecks Project, National Park Service, Diving with a Purpose, and the citizens of Africatown and descendants of the  Clotilda as we work together to build a future that protects and preserves this priceless artifact.  Additional updates and further announcements about this developing story will be made in the coming weeks. 

Senator Vivian Figures and Commissioner Walter Givhan
Anderson Flen, Descendant and Africatown Alumni

May 22 Announcement with Members of Africatown Community

W hat the Discovery of the Last American Slave Ship Means to Descendants by National Geographic

What the Discovery of the Last American Slave Ship Means to Descendants | National Geographic

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Names Mount Vernon/Searcy Hospital Complex
"11 Most Endangered" List 2019 
May is National Historic Preservation Month, during which the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognizes the nation's 11 Most Endangered Places. This year, the Trust has included the Mount Vernon Arsenal and Searcy Hospital Complex on their list of endangered places. 

Each year, the list of America's 11 Most Endangered  Historic Places sheds light on important examples  of our nation's heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Over 300 places have been listed in its 32-year history, and in that time, fewer than 5 percent of listed sites have been lost.  

The Alabama Historical Commission and partners the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, Alabama Bicentennial Commission, and the Mount Vernon Historical Preservation Society, are working to secure funding the site's most urgent preservation needs.

In recognition of the "11 Most Endangered" designation, the Alabama Historical Commission and partners hosted a press conference on Thursday, June 20 at 10 am,  at the McCafferty House on site. AHC is pleased for the opportunity to illuminate Mount Vernon and Searcy Hospital's history and impress upon citizens that the time is now to act and save these early structures. The Mount Vernon Arsenal and Searcy Hospital Complex constitute a place with extraordinary historical and architectural  significance for Alabama, the region, and nation.

Mount Vernon and Searcy Hospital Complex represents  pivotal  moments in U.S. history pertaining to the Federal Road, military history, Civil War, Native American history, mental health, desegregation and Civil Rights.  "It's not every day that you have in one location an intersection of history of Native Americans, European-descended Americans and African-descended Americans. And, notice what came behind every hyphen that I used. It was 'American.' Even though we have these different cultural groups, at the end of the day we still come together to form one common story, one common experience," said Thomas "T.C." Coley, AHC Commissioner and Black Heritage Council Board Member.   
11 Most Endangered Press Conference                                                                                                                                          Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director, AHC

To support this historic site, please contact Collier Neeley, National Register Coordinator at the Alabama Historical Commission by phone at 334-230-2696
 or by email at
AHC Awarded National Park Service Grant 
to  Identify Remaining Slave Dwellings in the State

On May 31, the National Park Service announced awards for the Underrepresented Communities Grants Program.  This grant program helps fund projects such as surveys and inventories of historic pro perties, and assists communities currently underrepresented in the National Register with developing their nominations.  The Alabama Historical Commission's proposal to  complete a Multiple Property Document for evaluating the eligibility of extant slave dwellings in each of Alabama's cultural and physiographic regions is one of the projects selected for funding.

Slave Dwelling, Magnolia Grove
Hickman Cabin, Pond Spring: The General Joe Wheeler Home
"Together with our state, tribal, and local partners, this competitive grant program will help communities across the country identify and nominate lesser-known historic properties," National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said. "Historic properties brought into the National Register through this program will help the register better reflect the significant stories told throughout our nation."

Thank you Alabama Legislators! 
2020 Historic Site Grant Application Now Open 

The Alabama Historical Commission has opened its 2020 Grant Program with funds appropriated by the Alabama Legislature. Historic sites meeting the eligibility can submit applications now through August 15, 2019.
AHC will administer a $900,000 state-funded Grant Program with funds appropriated by the Alabama Legislature in the 2020 Fiscal Year (October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2020), for improvements as well as educational programming at historic sites in Alabama.

Grants will be awarded to public or non-profit entities who own and operate historic sites in Alabama, reflect an education-based mission, concentrate on educational programming, and reflect the geographical diversity of the state.  Grants will not be awarded to any entity receiving funding directly or indirectly from the Education Trust Fund or the General Fund.  Grants will also not be awarded to any private or for-profit business or organization. Amounts will not exceed $20,000 for any one entity.
Preference will be given to properties built before 1840 that are listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, historic school structures, and properties built before 1943 that are listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. 

"Last fiscal year, the Capital Enhancements Grant Program helped to facilitate several types of improvements, including roof replacements, window restorations, and exterior painting," said Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission. "The goal of the 2020 grant program is to assist historic sites throughout Alabama with both improvements as well as educational programming, which will help preserve them for future generations. Thank you to the Alabama Legislature for funding this much needed grant program to help preserve Alabama's historic sites."

Applicants must complete an official 2020 Historic Sites Grant application. Grant Application Guidelines and Applications are available here on the AHC website.

Applications must be hand-delivered or mailed to Stephanie Hamil, Contracts and Grants, Alabama Historical Commission, by August 15, 2019. Faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted. AHC will announce the grant awards in October 2019. All grant guidelines and details about eligibility can be found here on the AHC website.  

Freedom Rides Museum Redesign Project
The Freedom Rides Museum reached an important milestone in the 60 th Anniversary commemorative exhibit design project. On June 10, exhibit design team Ralph Appelbaum Associates presented the Concept Design for the new exhibit. This project re-imagines the exhibit space in the historic Greyhound Bus Station, giving a more complete understanding of the Freedom Rides and adding interactive components. An important part of the design is the addition of a vintage Greyhound bus which will serve as a centerpiece of the new exhibit as well as a mobile museum. The exhibit design phase is scheduled to be complete by November 2019. The AHC will be able to use the documents from this phase to raise funds for fabrication and installation of the exhibit.
BHC Chair Frazine Taylor Elected 
 Alabama Historical Association President
Black Heritage Council Chair, Frazine Taylor was recently elected president of the Alabama Historical Association. An Alabama State University Archives Department staff member, Ms. Taylor is widely known for her expertise and acumen in genealogical research and African-American history. Prior to joining the staff at ASU, Ms. Taylor served as the co-director of the Reference Service Division at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Ms. Taylor also serves as president of the Elmore County Association of Black Heritage, ASU's Patrons for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture, and on the Alabama Governor's Mansion Authority.

"I am honored to be elected as the president of the Alabama Historical Association by its esteemed members," Taylor said. "To also know that I am the first African-American to ever serve as the president of the statewide association since its inception in 1947, both excites and humbles me," Taylor said. "I hope to live up to the confidence that the membership has shown me by electing me their president." 

Ms. Taylor was elected at the recent joint conference between the Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Alabama Historical Association where she was also awarded the AHA's Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton Award. The Hamilton Award recognizes and honors an individual for contributions to Alabama history, which encourages joint endeavors and mutual understanding among nonprofessional and professional historians. 

"Frazine Taylor makes daily contributions that bridge gaps between different types of historians, historical communities, and audiences throughout Alabama" said Laura Anderson, chair of the 2019 Hamilton Award Committee. "In that way, and due to her persistence and dedication, Taylor and her work embody the very spirit of the Hamilton Award." 
AHC Recognizes Lifetime Achievements
 in Historic Preservation 
For fifty years, the Alabama Historical Commission has recognized individuals whose leadership and vision have guided efforts to protect our state's cultural treasures. We were proud to recognize three individuals  who have not only fostered a love for history among their peers, but have also tirelessly worked to influence the State of Alabama's efforts within the field of historic preservation. 

Lifetime Achievement Award  - Mary Ann Neeley 
The late Mary Ann Neeley was a friend and champion for history. Her dedication to preserving local stories and decades of public service left a legacy of protecting historic sites and the stories that belonged to those special places. Along with being an author and historian, Mary Ann also taught courses at Auburn University and Huntingdon College, worked as a researcher at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and served as Executive Director for the Landmarks Foundation for more than twenty years. Mrs. Neeley's boundless enthusiasm for knowledge and fueling public interest in connecting Montgomerians to their history has impacted generations.

Distinguished Service Award - Senator Ann Bedsole 
Senator Ann Bedsole 's illustrious tenure and service as an Alabama public official began forty years ago. She was the first Republican woman ever to have been elected to the Alabama House of Representatives and the first female ever elected to the Alabama State Senate. Senator Bedsole was a staunch supporter of keeping Middle Bay Lighthouse in Mobile Bay and was president of Mobile's tricentennial celebrations. Her generosity and philanthropy spans across many industries and arenas - from conserving Alabama's forests, to the leadership behind illuminating Mobile's historic structures. Senator Bedsole has been a pivotal leader and major advocate for education. She's served on the Board of Trustees of Spring Hill College and Huntingdon College and was instrumental in establishing the Alabama School of Math and Science. She knows first-hand what it takes to protect, preserve, and interpret Alabama's historic places through her time spent as a Commissioner in recent years. 

Distinguished Service Award - Mr. Nicholas Holmes, Jr. 
The lifelong work of Mr. Nicholas Holmes, Jr. speaks of a man who recognized the necessity and urgency to protect and preserve Alabama's historical assets. He specialized in historic renovations and practiced with his son, Nicholas III. Together they worked on restoration projects at Christ Church, Mobile City Hall, and Murphy High School. His hands directed the restoration of many iconic Alabama structures, like the Alabama State Capitol, and his guidance paved the way to establish the state historic preservation office of Alabama - the AHC. Nicholas Holmes was one of the original commissioners for our agency. One of his hallmark projects was the preservation of the Teague House, which serves as the AHC Main Office in Montgomery. Because of his pioneering effort, for more than fifty years, the Alabama Historical Commission has gone on to educate, empower, and encourage communities to stake interest in their local histories and inspire Alabamians to invest in preservation for the future.  
State Wide Preservation Program Survey :
 AHC Needs You! 

The Alabama Historical Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, receives grants from the National Park Service and is required to complete a statewide preservation plan every five to ten years. A critical part of the planning process is public engagement, and we need your help!
To help succeed in creating our statewide preservation plan, this online survey has been developed to determine what aspects of historic preservation are important to you and your community.  

Your input is valued in this process! The Historic Preservation Planning Program of the National Park Service develops national policy related to historic preservation planning.  Preservation planning is the rational, systematic process for a community to develop a vision, goals, and priorities for the preservation of its historic and cultural resources.  The community seeks to achieve its vision through its own actions and through influencing the actions of others.  Goals and priorities are based on analyses of resource data, relative environment ramifications, and community values.  

The goals of the Historic Preservation Planning Program are:
  • Strengthen the integration of historic preservation into broader public policy and land-use planning and decision-making arenas at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels.  
  • Increase the opportunities for broad-based and diverse public participation in planning for historic and cultural resources.
  • Expand knowledge and skills in historic preservation planning.
  • Assist states, tribes, local governments, and federal agencies in carrying out inclusive preservation planning programs that are responsive to their own needs, concerns, and opportunities. 
It takes just a few moments of your time to create a lifelong impact! 
 Thank you in advance for your input and voice!

Alabama Tourism Breaks Records in 2018

Fort Morgan 
The Alabama Department of Tourism released the 2018 Tourism Economic Impact Report in May. It is estimated visitors spent $15.5 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion or 8.5% over 2017 spending. 2018 was the second year in a row for growth in excess of $1 billion in a single year. The most visited counties in the state were Baldwin, Jefferson, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery, accounting for 67 percent of the total number of visitors to the state. Based on the primary and secondary data, it is estimated that more than 27.7 million people visited the State of Alabama during 2018. AHC sites are a part of this economic impact, attracting over 377,000 visitors in fiscal year 2018.

Freedom Rides Museum
Fort Toulouse- Fort Jackson

2019 Places in Peril 

Since 1994, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation have joined forces to sponsor  Places in Peril , a program that highlights significant endangered properties. As awareness yields commitment, and commitment yields action, these endangered properties can be saved and returned to their places as treasured landmarks.

Places in Peril has helped save many important landmarks that may otherwise have been lost. The program focuses on bringing public awareness to nominated places and sites to rally local and statewide support. Over the course of 25 years, the program has highlighted more than 250 resources.

Cowan-Ramser- White House
Located in Eufaula
442 E. Barbour Street, Eufaula 
Barbour County 
Nominator: Doug C. Purcell
Owner: Walter Lewis

Threat: The house has been damaged by storms repeatedly over the last several years. The building needs immediate repairs, or it risks destruction.

This property is a contributing structure in the National Register of Historic Places Seth Lore and Irwinton Historic District. 

It is also one of eight historic Eufaula structures recorded during the Historic American Building Survey in 1935. In addition, it is one of the oldest surviving Greek Revival residences in Eufaula. In 2017, the house's roof and several windows were severely damaged in a windstorm. That damage was exacerbated by Hurricane Michael in 2018. There is severe water intrusion and the damage continues with each passing day.
Places in Peril is listing this property to provide statewide awareness to the ongoing issue.

Prehistoric Native American Trade Canal
C onnecting Oyster Bay to Little Lagoon, Gulf Shores
Baldwin County
500-600 AD
Nominator: Harry King
Owner: City of Gulf Shores

Threat: The trade canals are relatively unknown in the community. They risk being forgotten and covered by current development pressures in Gulf Shores. Awareness will bring support to the effort to locate and document the remaining portions.
The first known account of the Prehistoric Trade Canal in Gulf Shores was made in a report to Congress in 1827 by Army Captain Daniel E. Burch. There have been stories about this canal and others like it since the beginning of European settlement in North America. These canals were used to transport trade goods between large inland bodies of water all along the Gulf Coast, this canal was constructed and used sometime between 500-600 AD.
Currently, only two sections of the Gulf Shores canal are known, but much of the canal has been covered by current development. The City of Gulf Shores owns one section, at Little Lagoon and is currently trying to restore and interpret the area. This canal is the only known canal this far west. Places in Peril seeks to elevate the awareness of the community about this site. Most of the canal is at risk from development pressures in the area and may have already been destroyed. It's imperative the community recognizes this site and its contribution to the history of the Gulf Coast.
  Hotel Talisi
14 Sistrunk Street, Tallasee
Elmore County
Nominator: Suzannah  Solomon Wilson
Owner: Wylie T. Troupe

Threat: A fire ten years ago and several failed renovations have left the building in an adverse state. The City of Tallassee declared it a public nuisance and will decide to demolish it after a hearing later this summer. 
The Hotel Talisi is under an immediate threat. After a devastating fire and failed rehabs, the community and state landmark has been condemned as a public nuisance and slated for demolition. 

A late appeal filed by the owner has delayed the demo for now. 
There needs to be a considerable effort made stabilize the buildings and renovate it, so Tallassee doesn't lose this important place. 

Oak Grove School
142 Oak Grove Road, Gallion
Hale County
Nominator and Owner: 
Oak Grove School Heritage Center Committee

Threat: There is a lack of organizational funding and deferred maintenance that has left the school with urgent repairs needing to be made. Places in Peril listed Rosenwald Schools as a collective nomination several years ago and this nomination allows us to revisit those important resources. Many of Rosenwald Schools still sit abandoned, vacant, and decaying.

Constructed in 1925, the Oak Grove school served the African American community in Hale County as a Two-Teacher School. The school relied on community investment when it was built and served the community until 1968. The building was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Now, the school is owned by the Oak Grove School Heritage Center. They operate the building, currently as a museum, but years of deferred maintenance are starting to show. The group needs support with planning and funding.

Oaklawn Cemetery
1800 Holt Road, Mobile
Mobile County
Nominator: Eddie Irby Jr, 92nd Infantry Div. Buffalo Soldiers Assoc. Of WWII
Owner: unknown

Threat: Constant deterioration and lack of financial support. There is an active preservation organization for the cemetery, but more support is needed to bring it back from the brink of neglect.

The first burial in Oaklawn Cemetery dates from the 1870s. This cemetery is a significant place for the African American community of Mobile. Located in North Mobile, the burial ground is the final resting place for many. 

While the number of burials unknown, it is  estimated that as many as 10,000 people are buried there. The cemetery contains burials of veterans from all branches of the military including, the Merchant Marines, from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars. Also buried there are Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Silver Star Recipients, as well as Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen, and others. There are also significant individuals that served their community in other ways.

Recently, the cemetery was listed to Alabama's Historic Cemetery Register and received a marker associated with that listing. However, the cemetery continues to deteriorate and needs serious care. Currently, there is no support from the City of Mobile, it is entirely a volunteer effort. That effort needs technical and financial support. Places in Peril seeks to bring a level a statewide awareness, but also connect the volunteer effort with historic cemetery experts.

Rural Training & Research Center

575 Federation Road, Epes
Sumter County
Federation of Rural Co-Ops
Owner: Audrey Haksin

Special note: This site is a significant agricultural learning center for self-supporting African American farmers in 
West Alabama. With the decline of single family-owned farms, the Federation of Rural Coops, through the Rural Training & Research Center supports, educates, and provides a community for small-time farmers.
The Rural Training and Research Center has a complicated past steeped in the quiet Civil Rights movement of West Alabama. Overshadowed by the events in Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham a legal battle played out between African American tenant farmers and white landowners, resulting in the tenants being evicted. The community came together and formed the Panola Land Buying Association. The goal was to build a place that was theirs. As part of that movement, the Federation of Rural Coops supported the farmers along the way. In 1970 the PLBA formally purchased around 1,100 acres in Epes, Sumter County, Alabama and the Federation of Rural Coops opened the Rural Training and Research Center, supporting and educating farmers across the South.
Today, the center is still in operation, but with the decline of small-time farming and rural communities, it needs support. Its facilities are suffering from years of deferred maintenance, but they remain useful. The preservation of this site is more important because of what it represents. The triumph of a resilient community and a focus on preserving rural communities. Sumter County along with the rest of the Black Belt suffer from economic and agricultural decline. Their way of life is increasingly at threat from a culture that is progressing at a rapid pace. It seems, with the proper support, the Rural Training and Research Center can help these communities move forward with sustainable goals.

The Pink House/The Bridges House
214 Edgewood Boulevard, Homewood
Jefferson County
Nominator: Homewood Alabama Historical Preservation Society, Inc.
Owner: Patrick O'Sullivan

Threat: In 2017/2018, the owner wanted to demolish the house and gardens, and to develop several new houses in a prime location in Homewood. The preservation community in Homewood rallied and applied pressure to get the owner see the benefits of historic preservation. Now the property is at risk of being sold and its fate is unknown.

Special note: The owner is aware of this nomination, they did not expressly disapprove of it and is aware the publicity associated with PIP can bring an appropriate buyer, who will preserve the property.
The Bridges House, or affectionately known as the Pink House by the residents of Homewood, Alabama in Jefferson County, has been the center of local controversy for at least a year. The Bridges designed and built the house and the gardens over the course of the middle twentieth century. The house was meant to be an artists' retreat for the two of them. Despite this fact, the couple was known for entertaining over the years and the home developed a cosmopolitan reputation despite the modest suburban nature of Homewood. The house is listed as a contributing building to a National Register district. However, given the significance of the property to the community and the design significance of the house and the gardens, it could be individually eligible for the National Register.
Two years ago, the property was purchased by a developer who planned to demolish the home and gardens, subdividing it, and selling it to build new, contemporary houses. This mindset is slowly changing Homewood's historic character. The expansion and altering of historically significant homes with insensitive additions, contemporary design trends, altering facades, and floor plans are changing the historic character of Homewood's neighborhoods. Like many places in Alabama, Homewood has faced the demolition of historic homes for the contemporary idea of constructing larger, new houses, that consume the modest lots and dramatically alter a neighborhood's design. These new homes fail to sensitively blend with the historic design aesthetic of the community. This is a trend seen all over Alabama. it's happening in Huntsville, Mountain Brook, Auburn, Opelika, and other places benefiting from the economic progress around the state.
The owner of the Bridges House has responded to the overwhelming public pressure and recognized the significance of the house and the gardens to the community and to the state. They are now looking to sell the property, in its entirety, to an owner willing to preserve the property. Hopefully, Places in Peril can help bring awareness to this special place. 
New Escape Room Opens at Fort Morgan

Visitors to Fort Morgan are in for a new experience.  A new, immersive escape room has debuted at the historic  site. Visitors are put to the test when they are 'transported' back to the summer of 1864 as Federal Spies captured by the Confederate soldiers before the Battle of Mobile Bay, one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War. Guests are charged with finding the clues and cracking the codes in one hour before being charged with treason. Can you help the Union forces understand the defenses of Mobile Bay? Wise captives have been known to escape. During the game, you'll learn about the history of this significant battle and its impact on the American Civil War.

Discover your fate, and rise to the challenge during your next visit to Fort Morgan! Tickets are $25 per person (recommended for ages 13+).  Escape room times vary. During July, guests can book experiences for Tuesdays at 2pm. From August to November, escape room activities will be offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am and 2pm. Tickets are first come, first serve, and may be purchased at the ticket booth. Reservations are for a maximum of 10 people and minimum of four.  

To learn more, please contact  or by phone at 251-540-5257.    
French and Indian Encampment Sees Rising Crowds

Every April, cannons roar and muskets sound off for  French and Indian War Encampment - incredible living history and reenactment event, bringing the 18th century to vivid life in Wetumpka. 

This year's event saw a rise in attendance, surpassing numbers in 2017 and 2018! 

This special event focuses attention on the main protagonists of the French & Indian War - France, Britain and their American Indian allies. Living history demonstrations of military, Indian, and civilian life took place on Saturday and Sunday throughout the day at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson.  Reenactors were dressed and equipped as they appeared in North America during the middle of the eighteenth century.
"Each year the park staff looks forward to the French & Indian Encampment weekend," said Site Director Ove Jensen. "The reenactors come from all over the country and really bring the park to life; it gives us a chance to focus on a relatively unknown period of Alabama history, the 18th century."

Reenactors participating in this year's event made their way to Alabama from Illinois, North Carolina, and even parts of Canada!

Baking Bread is a Family Affair
Confederate Memorial Park Hosts Spring Skirmish

Each spring, Confederate Memorial Park holds a Living History event weekend where  visitors have a chance to walk in history's footsteps through the exploration of sights and sounds of the Civil War with living history demonstrations and activities that included: infantry drill & firing, cavalry horses and equip ment, artillery firing, commissary and food, soldier's equipment, authentic uniforms, music, flags, civilian life, and civil war camp instruction. 
This year's event took place on Saturday, April 27 and was  officially endorsed by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. 
Alabamians may not be familiar with Confederate Memorial Park's unique history and connection to the Civil War. The 102-acre site was never a battlefield, nor was it established as an outlet to remember the fallen. Rather, the property was a site to pay homage to the living. 
Jefferson Faulkner, a lawyer from Montgomery, had a vision and wished to provide a home for aging veterans who could no longer afford to support themselves. In 1901, Faulkner donated private lands in the Mountain Creek area so that a facility could be assembled. On those lands, a small hospital, barn, mess halls, cottages, and a then-modern sewage system were built for the many who would come to reside on the lands, living out their final days.
Visitors can explore with a self-guided tour of the site, including two cemeteries, and the museum, which tells the story of many of its residents. The park is also a vast greenspace, touting a nature trail that combines an Alabama "Treasure Forest" with features from the soldiers' home. 
Freedom Rides Museum Commemorates 
58th Anniversary of Freedom Rides with History Bus Tour

Reverend Alphonso Petway
The Alabama Historical Commission  and  Freedom Rides Museum commemorated the 58th  anniversary of the  1961 Freedom Rides with the  Ride for Freedom: History Bus Tour on  Saturday, May 18. The special hour-long bus tours took riders to significant destinations within Montgomery that were integral to the Freedom Rides such as  First Baptist Church North Ripley, Reverend Ralph Abernathy House, Harris House, and the former Trailways Bus Station in Montgomery.
Freedom Rider Reverend Alphonso Petway joined the event as a featured speaker on the tour. Petway was 16 and a Montgomery local when he became a part of the movement. He was arrested on July 24, 1961 at Jacksonville Airport in an effort to desegregate the airlines, along with his father, Matthew Petway, and his 19-year-old sister, Kredelle Petway.
The Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station, now the Freedom Rides Museum, was the site of a violent mob comprised of hundreds of white protesters, who attacked the young civil rights activists when they arrived in Montgomery on May 20, 1961. This incident was part of a series of local events that led the Kennedy Administration to side with Civil Rights protesters for the first time and inspired Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. to pass a series of federal rulings that shape Civil Rights laws to this day.

Dr. Valda Harris Montgomery with the Harris Home                                                                  First Baptist Ridley Street  

Old Cahawba Designated as Cahaba Blueway Access Site
Brian Rushing and Site Director Linda Derry
The Alabama Historical Commission announced a public dedication of the Cahaba Blueway access site located at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park on Monday, April 15. Old Cahawba is one of 15 Cahaba River accesses that are officially being designated as Cahaba Blueway access sites during the month of April. 
Flowing from the City of Trussville, just northeast of Birmingham, to Old Cahawba Archaeological Park west of Selma, the Cahaba River connects 10 municipalities and 6 counties along its 200-mile course.  It is among the most biologically diverse and scenic rivers in North America and is an outstanding natural asset that has significant potential to enhance quality of life in nearby communities and to generate economic development through recreational and nature-based tourism. 
The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and its partners have developed the Cahaba Blueway program to enhance public awareness of the river as a recreational destination, to make available the information needed for safe navigation on the river, and to facilitate the development of access infrastructure to make getting on and off the water with a canoe or kayak safer and easier.
Program partners have created a website at where people can get all of the information they need to plan a paddling trip on the river.  The site features an interactive map with information about each access point and river section, important paddling and river safety tips, and links to local paddling outfitters and retailers as well as local hospitality and tourism information resources.  The site also features guideline documents that communities are encouraged to use as they develop new Cahaba Blueway accesses that are safe, environmentally sustainable, and durable.

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468 South Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36130-0900