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.
February 3 - 24
Annual State Superintendent's Visual Arts Exhibit showcases artwork from school systems throughout the state.  Call Lisa Franklin,  Site Director, at  334-242-3188 for more information.
February 6 - 28
Celebrating Black History the month of February. For more information call Dorothy Walker at 334-414-8647. 
February 4
Cemetery Walking Tour. For more information call 334-872-8058.
February 6
Montgomery's Civil Heritage Trail: A History & Guide will be available for purchase at Goat Hill Museum Store and the Freedom Rides Museum. For more information call 334-353-4969.
February 7, 14, 21, 28
Tuesday Winter Civil War Tours, 2:00-3:00pm. For more information call 251-540-5257.
February 15
Quarterly Commission Meeting---
Will be held at 1:00pm at the State Capitol in Montgomery. For more information call 334-230-2690.
February 18
French & Indian War of 1812. For more information call 334-567-3002.
February 18-19
War of 1812 event that will focus on the British occupation of Fort Bowyer. For more information call 251-540-5257.
February 24
Book signing with Clarence Watkins, author of Baseball in Montgomery. For more information call 334-353-4969.
Recent Press Releases

In the News

AHC Launched New Website

The Alabama Historical Commission is pleased to announce the launch of
 its new website!
The restyled site provides a cleaner, more user-friendly experience with improved navigation.
The updated content provides visitors with a better understanding of AHC's mission -  to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama's historic places.

Preservation programs as well as state-owned historic sites are made prominent on the site's homepage along with a section on upcoming events and press releases.
The new web address and redesign have been several years in the making. The AHC wishes to thank Lee Sentell, Director of the Alabama Tourism Department, for funding this project.
Please visit and share this exciting news with others!
University of Alabama's Museum Expedition 39 to be held at Old Cahawba

The University of Alabama has announced the dates and locations of the 39th Annual Museum Expedition this coming summer. Participants will have the opportunity to meet friends, explore new surroundings, and conduct field work in archaeology at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park

We invite you to explore an area of rare opportunity as we dig into the past of Alabama's first state capital! Work side-by-side with archaeologists to discover important facets of Alabama's rich history.

There will be three sessions this summer:

Middle School Camp (6, 7 & 8th Grade): June 5-10
High School Camp (9, 10, 11, & 12th Grade): June 12-17
Public Archeology Camp (age 14 and up or accompanied by parent if younger): June 19-24

Course Credit: Students can earn elective high school credit through advance arrangements with their school and the Expedition staff. Teachers can earn University of Alabama continuing education units or professional development hours.

Registration: Space is limited to 20 participants per week.  To register for the program, please complete a registration form and return it along with a $50 deposit to reserve a space to participate in the Museum Expedition 39.

Cost: Program tuition is $375 per week ($350 for UA Museums Members). Accommodations, food, and scientific equipment will be provided; a detailed list of what to bring is included in the registration packet. For more information or to become a member of the Museum, call 205-348-7550.
AHC Receives National Park Service Grant for Alabama Historically Black Colleges & Universities 

On January 5, 2017 Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $500,000 in grants to help fund projects across the country to increase the number of listings associated with communities that are underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The Alabama Historical Commission received funds to complete the Alabama Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Survey and Nomination Project. This will provide a comprehensive survey of extant four-year HBCUs in Alabama.

The AHC project has two goals: 1) survey and update existing National Register historic district nominations for five HBCUs in Alabama and 2) survey and nominate to the National Register of Historic Places four new HBCU campus historic districts in Alabama. The survey will result in updates to five existing National Register nominations and the preparation of four new National Register nominations. 

The campuses to benefit from this grant are Alabama State University in Montgomery, A&M University and Oakwood College in Huntsville,
Miles College
 Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Talladega College in Talladega, Selma University and Concordia College in Selma, Stillman College in Tuscaloosa and Miles College in Birmingham. Currently, the five colleges listed in the National Register of Historic Places as historic districts are Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Miles College, Talladega College and Tuskegee University. Tuskegee University was listed as a National Historic Landmark in the 1970s and portions of the campus is managed as a national historic site by the National Park Service. Stillman College was listed in 2016 as a historic district in the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and several buildings on the campus of Selma University are also listed in the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

The Alabama Historical Commission HBCUs Survey and National Register project was the only one to be funded in Alabama and was one of only 12 projects funded in nine states through this grant fund. Many of the state's HBCUs as well as their supporters submitted a letter of support for the grant application. The AHC has sought support from all cities with HBCUs in their jurisdiction and from the institutions themselves.  In fact, in the early 1990s, the Black Heritage Council, along with the AHC, placed a spotlight on these campuses through the development of a poster project that chronicled the history of the state's HBCUs.

Alabama's HBCUs, which have played a major role in the state's history as well as the history of the nation, are worthy of this distinguished
Chemistry lab, Tuskegee University
designation. The proposed survey and nomination project will benefit these historical institutions in preserving their campuses while also educating others about their significant role in the history of Alabama, and even the nation. Some of the foremost figures in American history either attended an HBCU, have an ancestor who attended an HBCU or received some form of their education through an HBCU. Prominent examples include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mrs. Rosa Parks and others. 

Read more about the grants and other projects here
Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of Old Cahawba Cemeteries

During the spring, summer and fall of 2016, the University of Alabama's Office of Archaeological Research conducted multifaceted archaeological investigations at the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park under the direction of Dr. Virgil Roy Beasley, III.   

The work included Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys of both the old Cahawba Cemetery which dates to the capital era and the New Cahawba Cemetery, circa 1850.  The crew also inspected and mapped  Cahawba's oldest African American graveyard (1819). Thanks to this work, we now have a much better understanding of the nature of each of these historic cemeteries. An amazing 782 potential unmarked graves were discovered: 162 in the slave cemetery,  174 in the New Cemetery, and  446 in Cahawba's Old Cemetery!  

In 1978, prior to the development of the park, in an area adjacent to the old cemetery,  gravemarkers were placed  to mark the graves of soldiers that had died as prisoners of war in the Cahawba military prison during the Civil War. Historical research has determined that the bodies of these men had been relocated by April of 1867 and lie buried today in a national cemetery in Marietta Georgia. Naturally, the park staff was worried that these new stones may have been incorrectly placed on top of earlier unmarked graves, but happily, the GPR indicated that no bodies lie under these gravestones.   These granite markers can now be confidently interpreted as memorials to the men who died in the military prison at Cahawba rather than actual gravestones.
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. 

Places in Peril, a joint program between the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and the Alabama Historical Commission, annually recognizes Alabama's most endangered historic resources.

Please download the attached nomination form here. Each submission will be evaluated for its significance and level of threat.
AHC Staff Contributed to New Book

AHC staff Eleanor Cunningham, Historic Sites Director, and Dorothy Walker, Site Director of the Freedom Rides Museum, both contributed entries to the new book Montgomery's Civil Heritage Trail: A History & Guide

The Goat Hill Museum Store and the Freedom Rides Museum will have copies available for purchase after February 6, 2017. Both locations also have Civil Heritage Trail brochures. 
National Register of Historic Places Update

The following Alabama properties were listed in the National Register of Historic Places:

The Swift Coles House in Bon Secour, Baldwin County was individually listed in the National Register on December 12, 2016. The house and its out buildings were listed at a local level of significance for Criterion C for architecture.

The house is a unique design built almost entirely of pine from the area. It started life in 1882 as a two pile dogtrot on the Bon Secour river in southern Baldwin County. Built by Charles and Susan Swift, the house underwent two expansions between 1902 and 1910 to accommodate the Swifts ever growing family. With exception of the enclosure of the rear porch and a few interior alterations the house retains the design of the 1910 expansion. The design reflects several major attributes of popular Gulf Coast styles incorporating elements from French Colonial Revival as well as the popular Gulf Coast cottage, with its exterior galleries and wide, low hipped roof.
The house is currently owned by the Baldwin County Historic Development Commission and operated as a house museum.
The Dothan Dixie Water Works Standpipe in Dothan, Houston County was listed in the National Register on December 12, 2016.  The standpipe was listed at a local level of significance for Criterion A, B, and C for Community Planning, and Engineering, as well as its association with Mayor J.R. Young, who was responsible for raising the funds and having the standpipe built.

The Water Works Standpipe was the first water storage tank built for the City of Dothan. It began service on December 24, 1896, delivering potable water to citizens throughout the city. The tank is a 16 foot in diameter and 100 foot tall riveted steel tower. It is capable of holding 150,000 gallons of water which is retrieved from an artesian well 625 feet below the tank. Mayor J.R. Young understood that having a water tower of such stature could provide potable drinking water to the entire city, while also providing an available water supply for fire protection.

The tank is still owned by the city and is the second water tank in Alabama listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Jenkins' Family Farm and House in Loxley, Baldwin County was listed in the National Register on December 20, 2016. The Jenkins' farm is one of the most successful farms owned and operated by an African American family in the State of Alabama. The farm was listed at a statewide level of significance for Criterion A and C for Agricultural and Social history as well as Architecture.

John Wesley Jenkins purchased land in Loxley in 1915 and by 1925 expanded to 40 acres, and 125 acres by 1935. Amelia, John Wesley's wife, took over operation of the farm after his death in 1935. During that time, she was able to diversify their crops and livestock, making a profitable farm that expanded to 1,052 acres. She and her eldest son Hilliard, managed the farm until her death in 1966. Hillard continued to work the farm and sent his younger siblings to college. The family was recognized in Ebony magazine and by the Tuskegee Institute for their contributions to the agricultural industry in Alabama and the advancement of African Americans in Alabama.

The farm house, its outbuildings, and some of the land are still owned by the family today.
The Oakleigh Garden Historic District National Register listing was updated on December 20, 2016. The district was originally listed in 1972 and has undergone several updates since then. It was listed at a local level of significance for Criterion A and C for social history and architecture. 

The 767 properties included in this district represent a plethora of architectural types and styles that were major national trends within the period of significance from 1833 - 1966. This neighborhood represents a swath of Mobile's history that crosses cultural and economic barriers. There are rather large mansions built in the Italianate and Classical Revival styles that face Government Street as well as small shotgun houses on Texas Street in the southern part of the neighborhood along with American Foursquare houses and bungalows on the streets between.
Black Heritage Council Elects Two New Board Members

At their December 2015 meeting, the Black Heritage Council elected two new members to the Council's board, Mr. Thomas "T.C." Coley and Mr. Brandon Owens.

Mr. Coley, a former member and Vice Chair of the Black Heritage Council,
 will fill the member-at-large vacancy. Mr. Coley was a two-time Diversity Scholar of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  He 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. Mr. Coley currently works with the Alabama Education Association and formerly worked as the Executive Director for the Tuskegee History Center. In his application to join the BHC, Mr. 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."

Mr. Owens is new to the Black Heritage Council but not to history.  He will fill the public institutional representative board vacancy.  Mr. Owens is currently the Access Services Cultural Heritage Manager for the Levi Watkins Learning Center at Alabama State University.  In this position, Mr. Owens collaboratively manages the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture and helps to preserve both the historic birth-home of Nat King Cole and the home of Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy located on ASU's campus.  He is the Tourism Director for the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage Museum and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Historical Association.  In his application to join the BHC, Mr. Owens states, "I would like to take an active role in preserving and teaching the history of African-Americans in the state of Alabama."

The Black Heritage Council and the Alabama Historical Commission welcome both Mr. Coley and Mr. Owens to the BHC board.

Read more about the BHC and its creation here
Alabama Brewers Guild Honors Old Cahawba with Bicentennial Beer 

With cooperation from the  Alabama Bicentennial Commission , the Alabama Brewers Guild is celebrating the state's 200th birthday with a Capital Series  of annual collaboration beers. These beers recognize each of the state's five historic capitals with the last of the series to be released in conjunction with Alabama's bicentennial in 2019. For 2017 the Alabama Brewers Guild released Mulberry Road to honor our first permanent capital at  Old Cahawba (1819-1826).

For 2017, the Guild brewed a Belgian-style Dubbel, Mulberry Road, inspired by the stately mulberry trees lining the streets of the scenic capital that was Old Cahawba. Mulberry Road will be produced at  Cahaba Brewing with brewers from across the state lending their hand in crafting the beer.

Statewide release for Mulberry Road is planned for January 2017. A special tasting on January 26 will be hosted by the Selma & Dallas County Chamber of Commerce. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the  Cahawba Advisory Committee for preserving the Old Cahawba historical site.
Where in the State are the AHC Staff?

Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, and Ben Malone, State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Alabama, signed the State Programmatic Agreement. Also pictured: Teresa Paglione,  Alabama NRCS Cultural Resource Specialist, and Stacye Hathorn, State Archaeologist. 

Ned Jenkins, Senior Archaeologist at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson, was t he guest speaker for the Lee County Historical Society. Ned has been researching the origins of the Creek Nation using archaeological and historic documentation.

Dylan Tucker, Cultural Resources Specialist at Fort Morgan, gave a presentation on the construction of Fort Bowyer/Fort Morgan at the Gulf Shores Welcome Center. 

AHC staff truly enjoyed interacting with colleagues from across the state at the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation's 5th Annual Preservation Roundtable.
Happenings at #AHCsites

In August 2016 Ninon Parker, Site Director of Belle Mont Mansion and President of the Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation, was presented with 2016 Shoals Woman of the Year

On January 2, 2017 Alabama Living, the official statewide publication of the electric cooperatives in Alabama, announced Old Cahawba as the "Best Prehistoric /Archaeological Site" as part of their "Best of Alabama, 2017" contest. The magazine, which reaches about 400,000 electric cooperative consumers throughout the state, holds its annual "Best of" contest to highlight the places, people and products that make Alabama great. The 2017 list will raise awareness about the history and experiences to be had at Old Cahawba.  

Tuesday Winter Civil War Tours have begun at Fort Morgan
Reservations are NOT required for these tours.
Re-enactors please contact if you wish to volunteer.

Collection of artifacts donated to Fort Morgan. The objects were found onsite 60 years ago. 

Another great tour of Bottle Creek Indian Mounds hosted by  Blakeley State Park. 
Happenings Around the State  

February 23National Center for Preservation Technology and Training  and the City of Huntsville's will offer a one-day hands-on workshop for the basic care and maintenance for historic cemeteries.
This class is open to the public and cost $25 per person.  To register or for more information please call Robin Cox at 256-564-8084 with the City of Huntsville Operation Green Team, Landscape Management and Cemetery Department.


March 14 - Living Up Downtown with Ron Drake of Ron Drake Consulting, Main Street Alabama 

March 31 - Deadline for Places in Peril nominations. For more information visit 

March 31 - April 2 - Spring Lyceum, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, Marion, Location Information TBA


April 7-8 - April in Talladega Pilgrimage, The homes tour is both days from 10:00am-5:00pm. Includes a cemetery tour and wine and cheese party on Friday evening, and a block party on Saturday evening from 5:00-9:00pm. Tickets will be available at the Chamber of Commerce and Heritage Hall Museum. For more information please call 256-362-9075.


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