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									PRESERVATION                                                                                                            Alabama Historical Commission

VOL. 36, NO. 3                                                                                                                                               MAY - JUNE 2009

                                 Funding for Cahawba, Fort Morgan, and Magnolia Grove

    I n t h e 2 0 0 9 c o n g re s s i o n a l   tourism industry will help spur                    It also serves as a popular outdoor   Shelby. “I am pleased that the
appropriations bills, U.S. Senators              economic growth and development               classroom in one of the nation’s           Alabama Historical Commission
Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Jeff                 throughout the Black Belt,” said              most distressed regions and as a           will use this funding to protect and
Sessions (R-Ala.) included $800,000              Senator Shelby. “Additionally, I believe      popular regional recreation site for       preserve it for future generations.”
to support heritage-tourism based                that we should protect and preserve           low and moderate-income families. It            The $150,000 appropriation to Fort
economic development in Alabama.                 this historically significant site so that    provides trails that help with fitness     Morgan will fund the reconstruction of
    According to Frank White ,                   future generations can enjoy the facility.”   and health, public access to the river     sections of the August 1864 Union
Executive Director of the AHC,                        Included in the bill was $300,000        for fishing and exposure to nature. The    siege lines. This will allow for a better
“Senator Shelby helped us to secure              for constructing the Old Cahawba              visitor center will provide essential      understanding of the Union presence
$650,000 for construction of the                 Visitors Center. A July 2005                  restroom facilities and other amenities    in the siege. The money will also
new visitor center at Cahawba and                fire destroyed an earlier center.             that make these oppor tunities             purchase appropriate reproduction
essential repairs at Magnolia Grove.                  Cahawba, the site of Alabama’s           more accessible and enjoyable.             artillery pieces for the siege batteries.
    “Senator Sessions sponsored                  frontier capital, lies at the intersection         Located just 12 miles west of         The Baldwin County Commission is
$150,000 for an interpretive trail at            of four major, new heritage tourism           Selma, more than 27,000 people             managing the grant.
Fort Morgan. These much needed                   initiatives: the Black Belt Nature            visit Old Cahawba ever y year.                  Currently the fort clearly delineates
funds will make these state-owned                and Heritage Trail, the Black Belt            State, local, and private dollars          where the Confederates were, but
landmarks more accessible, attractive            HeritageArea,the Selma to Montgomery          will match the federal funding.            there is nothing outside the fort that
and educational for visitors,” saidWhite.        Vo t i n g R i g h t s Tr a i l a n d t h e        Also part of the funding is a         gives any indication to visitors of where
    “Investment in West Alabama’s                C a h a b a R i v e r C a n o e Tr a i l .    $350,000 allotment for Magnolia            the Union Soldiers were positioned.
                                                                                               Grove in Greensboro. The historic               Senator Sessions comments,
                                                                                               house was constructed around               “I applaud the Alabama Historical
                                                                                               1840 by Colonel Isaac Croom, but is        Commission and all those that have
                                                                                               most noted for its association with        invested personal time and energy
                                                                                               Spanish American War hero and U.S.         to restore Fort Morgan. The fort
                                                                                               Congressman Richmond Pearson               represents an important part of
                                                                                               Hobson. In addition to Hobson’s            Alabama history, and the funding for
                                                                                               military fame, he was a Progressive-       the interpretive trail project will help
                                                                                               era politician who championed              ensure those that visit the fort will leave
                                                                                               women’s rights and civil rights.           with a greater understanding of the
                                                                                                    The funding will pay for structural   important events that took place there.”
                                                                                               improvements to the main house;
                                                                                               interior restoration and interpretation
                                                                                               of the slave house and kitchen building;
                                                                                               improvement to the existing drive
                                                                                               and parking area; improvements
                                                                                               to the exterior lighting; and the
                                                                                               addition of a restroom and storage.
                                                                                                    “Magnolia Grove is an important
                                                                                               part of our state’s history,” said
Magnolia Grove in Greensboro. For more tour information, call 334-264-8618.

     Since 1994, the AHC and the                 flat roof, cantilever balconies, corner       brothers performed here. After             in 1913 by Jake Wells of the Wells
ATHP have joined forces to sponsor               windows and bands of metal casement           closing in 1958, the Lyric suffered        Amusement Company, with New York
Places in Peril, a program designed              windows are hallmarks of the style.           from years of neglect. Although            architect C.K. Howell responsible
to highlight some of Alabama’s most              Despite the high level of integrity, the      the city of Birmingham provided a          for the design. Today, the dedicated
significant endangered historic sites.           apartments are today in a deplorable          grant in 2004, substantial funding         owners of the Lyric are looking for
This year’s list includes 10 sites.              condition. Now open to vagrants and           is still needed for restoration.           funds to develop it into a fine arts
     “Places in Peril is a valuable tool in      the elements, and with a demolition               The Lyric is the oldest surviving      theatre. The owners recognize the
directing public attention to the many           notice looming from the city, the             theater in the city. The theatre and       significance of the Lyric and are
cultural resources in Alabama under              future of Grove Court is very much            office building were constructed           determined to see it preserved.
threat from neglect or demolition,”              in peril. The current owners now
said Frank White, executive director             have it on the market. With new
of the Alabama Historical Commission.            ownership and a new renovation
                                                 plan, this “recent past” landmark in
GROVE COURT APARTMENTS                           Montgomery may ultimately be saved.
                                                 THE LYRIC THEATRE
     Constructed in 1947 by local                Birmingham
architect Clyde Pearson, Grove Court
stands out in the capitol city as a rare             When it was constructed in 1914,
example of the International Style.              the Lyric Theatre was the largest
Its long rectilinear form, taut plane            theatre in Birmingham. Vaudeville
surfaces devoid of ornamentation,                stars Buster Keaton, Sophie Tucker,
brick and concrete construction,                 Will Rodgers, Mae West and the Marx
                                                                                                                                                       Uniontown High School
2                                                                      Alabama Historical Commission PRESERVATION REPORT / May-June 2009

WADLEY DEPOT                                                as a “Places in Peril” thematic. The Birmingham                  Mooree Quarter. This area became Hobson
Wadley, Randolph Co.                                        Board of Education recently closed, or proposed                  City on July 20, 1899, with a population of 135
                                                            to close, 28 older schools. Many are eligible for                families. At its peak the city grew to 1,900 people
The Atlanta, Birmingham and Atlantic depot was              the National Register and are landmarks within                   due to the construction of the Calhoun County
constructed in 1907 to serve Wadley, a community            their neighborhoods. Some will just be vacated                   Training School in 1923, a Rosenwald school.
originally planned to be a “model city” in Randolph         for now while others are slated for demolition.                      Two groups are now working to improve the
County. The developers of Wadley wanted to                        Not all schools can be saved. If possible,                 community: the Hobson City Community and
harness the water power along the Tallapoosa                e f fo r t s s h o u l d b e m a d e t o i d e n t i f y t h e   Economic Development, Inc., and the Concerned
River, but their plans never led to an economic             most significant ones and devise a citywide                      Citizens of Hobson City. Both organizations
boom for the community. The Wadley depot                    plan, to adapt the buildings for new uses.                       aim to revitalize the town through economic
survived and is as a rare example of Spanish Revival                                                                         development so that it may prosper and continue
architecture. It displays wide overhanging eaves            PREWITT PLANTATION SLAVE CEMETERY                                to be a municipality, while preserving its history.
supported by brackets, a red tile roof, half round          Northport vic., Tuscaloosa County
door and window arches, and stucco veneer.                                                                                   OGLETREE-WRIGHT-IVY HOUSE
    Lack of maintenance and security has subjected          Slave cemeteries are significant, yet largely forgotten,         Auburn
the depot to deterioration and vandalism. The town          historic resources in Alabama. Many cemetery
of Wadley, through their Envision Wadley committee,         locations are unknown, but the location of the                       The Ogletree-Wright-Ivy House was constructed
 wants to renovate the depot into a community center.       old Prewitt Slave Cemetery near Northport has                    during the late 1840s by one of Auburn’s founding
                                                            been known for generations. It is an endangered                  fathers, James B. Ogletree. As a rare surviving
MT. PLEASANT BAPTIST CHURCH AND                             site with nature, logging, limited access and even               antebellum Greek Revival residence, the house retains
COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL                                        development pressures threatening its future survival.           many of its original exterior and interior features.
Hamburg, Wilcox County                                                 Plantation owner and major slave trader, John         However, rental housing surrounds the property
                                                            Welch Prewitt established the 2-acre burial ground in            making it vulnerable to development pressures.
The Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and Community               the early 19th century. The grave markings range from            The City of Auburn included it in its local historic
Day School have served the black community                  initials scratched into stone to full names and dates as         district, but preservationists are still concerned
in Hamburg for many years. The church,                      old as 1819. Prewitt family descendants, both black              that it could be in peril as it is rapidly deteriorating.
constructed in 1912, and the school, constructed            and white, are determined to restore the cemetery.                   According to Robert Gamble of the AHC,
in 1915, look much as they did when they were                                                                                the design “expresses the distinctive brand of
constructed. Today the structures are in need of            UNIONTOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT                                      Greek Revival architecture that flourished a
substantial restoration. When it was built, the             Uniontown                                                        decade or so before the Civil War” in Auburn
church was the only African American Baptist                                                                                 and east central Alabama. Today, the house not
congregation in the farming community of Hamburg.       The Uniontown Historic District boasts many                          only needs attention, but also an appreciation
        The church and school have retained             significant historic buildings dating from the 1830s                 of its architectural and historical significance.
many original features including the siding, return     to the early 20th century and beyond. Listed in
cornices, wood paneling and flooring, and pot belly     the National Register of Historic Places in 2000,                    Two nationally significant sites have previously
stove in the school. Members of the church and          the district embodies the rich architecture and                      been listed, but are STILL IN PERIL.
community are determined to save these landmarks.       history of Uniontown, a community located in
                                                        Alabama's Black Belt. Over the years, however,                       BARTON ACADEMY, Mobile (2005)
ALLEN & JEMISON BUILDING                                many of these buildings have become vacant,
Tuscaloosa                                              d e t e r i o r a t e d o r h ave b e e n d e m o l i s h e d .      Barton Academy is one of Alabama’s finest Greek
                                                              Now groups like Uniontown Cares, Inc., an                      Revival buildings and one of the nation’s oldest public
The Allen and Jemison Building, also known as organization dedicated to making “their town a better                          school buildings.The Board of Education previously
the Spiller Building, is a landmark in downtown place to live,” are trying to save old Uniontown High                        used the building for their central office, but it is
Tuscaloosa. The large 52,000 square foot, four- School (c. 1924) and other buildings in the district.                        now vacant. Local advocates suggest it could be
story brick building was constructed in 1903 on the Hopefully this and other important historic structures                   transformed into an arts magnet school, which would
foundation of the old 1826 Tuscaloosa courthouse. in the city will be around for many years to come.                         be a good use for Alabama’s first public school building.
William Jemison and his partner started what
became the largest hardware store in Alabama. TOWN OF HOBSON CITY                                                            OLD TALLASSEE MILL, Tallassee (1994, 2001)
     The current owners do not have the funding to Hobson City, Calhoun County
maintain the building, but they do not want to sell it                                                                       The City of Tallassee, the Chamber of Commerce
either. The building is awaiting demolition this summer This year marks the 110th anniversary of the founding of             and the Talisi Historical Preservation Society
unless an alternative plan is devised by the owners. Hobson City, the oldest black municipality in Alabama.                  a re wo r k i n g t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e A H C t o
                                                        Despite its historical significance, Hobson City is                  preserve the mill complex.
HISTORIC SCHOOLS OF BIRMINGHAM                          now struggling to survive as a separate municipality.                    According to Charles Pollard, President of the
Birmingham                                                    Before the turn-of-the-century, Hobson City                    Preservation Society, “We are looking into various
                                                        was part of the city of Oxford in an area called                     alternatives that could preserve the history of
So many historic Alabama schools are abandoned, Mooree Quarter. After a black Justice of the Peace                           the mills, and create community development
in disrepair, or will be demolished each year that in was elected from the area, the mayor of Oxford                         opportunities for the city and surrounding areas.
2000, “Historic Schools – Statewide” were listed redrew the boundaries of the city to exclude                                The future of the mills is looking more promising.”

     CERTIFIED LOCAL GOVERNMENTS                                                                                               GRANT AWARDS FY ‘09
Communities participating in the CLG program                members to attend the Preservation Leadership                    City of Selma                                  $7,500
are eligible to receive Historic Preservation               Training Course offered by the National Trust for                Provides support for local historic preservation
Fund grants. The AHC annually awards                        Historic Preservation.                                           commission and Main Street program activities
grants for local preservation projects on a                                                                                  including promotional activities, implementation
competitive basis to local governments certified            City of Mobile                                   $10,000         of market study for downtown commercial
under the National Park Service program.                    Update the 1987 National Register                                district, building inventory on Water Avenue, and
Monies for the projects come from Alabama’s                 documentation of the Leinkauf Historic District.                 the development of a historic building code draft.
annual appropriations from the National
Park Service, Department of the Interior.                   City of Mobile                                     $5,000        City of Talladega                              $2,000
    The grants must be matched by the                       Provide National Register documentation on the                   Provides funding for all local historic preservation
applicant and can be used for surveys of                    Midtown and Leinkauf Historic Districts to the                   commission members to attend two trainings.
historic resources, nominations to the National             city web site.
Register, local preservation plans, preservation                                                                             City of Talladega                              $2,400
education projects, and predevelopment studies.             City of Birmingham                                 $5,000        Publish copies of Silk Stocking Historic District
    For information, contact Mary Shell at                  Operation New Birmingham to survey the                           Design Guidelines for local distribution.
334-230-2691, or mary.shell@preserveala.org.                Fountain Heights Neighborhood to determine
                                                            properties eligible for listing on the National
City of Fairfield                              $3,000       Register of Historic Places.
Prepare a National Register of Historic Places
nominations for Fairfield’s commercial and                  City of Birmingham                                 $2,000
residential historic properties.                            Operation New Birmingham to survey the
                                                            Birmingham Triangle Commercial District to
Town of Magnolia Springs                       $6,500       determine properties eligible for listing on the
Complete a historic resources survey of the town            National Register of Historic Places.
limits to determine properties eligible for listing
on the National Register of Historic Places.                City of Selma                                      $2,650
                                                            Provides funding for local preservation
City of Mobile                                 $2,680       commission members to attend the Preservation
                                                            Leadership Training Course provided by the                              St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Oak Street in
Provides funding for local preservation
                                                            National Trust for Historic Preservation.                            Magnolia Springs, built in 1902, was listed to the
commission and architectural review board                                                                                            National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
May-June 2009 / Alabama Historical Commission PRESERVATION REPORT                                                                                         3

    In February, AHC Executive Director Frank       proposals affecting historic preservation, and
White and National Trust Advisor Sam Frazier        also serves as a clearinghouse for members
from Birmingham led a group to Capitol Hill         seeking information and sharing ideas about
to lobby for increased funding for historic         preservation.
preservation. They visited the office of each           Current members of the Historic
member of Alabama’s congressional delegation        Preservation Caucus are:
and encouraged them to support enhanced
funding for State Historic Preservation Offices.        •   Spencer Bachus (R-6th)
    White discussed with the delegation                 •   Jo Bonner (R-1st)
the revival of the Main Street Statewide                •   Artur Davis (D-7th)
Coordinating Program, the Black Belt Heritage           •   Rep. Parker Griffith (D-5th)
Area, preservation tax credit projects and
the historic sites operated by the AHC. The            On May 7, President Obama announced the
director also reviewed major outreach and           FY 2010 spending plan that recommends:
educational accomplishments of the commission                                                              Sam Frazier with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus
contained in the 2008 Annual Report.                    •   $46.5 million for State Historic
    Additionally, White asked each House                    Preservation Offices, a $4 million  While in D.C. White attended the Annual
member to join the Historic Preservation                    increase from FY 2009
                                                                                            Meeting of the National Conference of State
Caucus. Founded in 2003 by Representatives                                                  Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO),
Michael Turner (R-OH) and Brad Miller (D-               •   $20 million for Save America’s
                                                            Treasures, level with FY 2009   the association of State officials who carry out
NC), the caucus is a bipartisan effort to bring                                             the national historic preservation program as
together members of Congress who understand             •   $3.175 million for the Preserve delegates of the Secretary of the Interior. At the
the value of historic places and their potential.           America program, received no meeting he was elected by his peers to serve on
The Caucus creates and examines legislative                 funding in FY 2009              the Board of Directors for NCSHPO.

                                                      2009 HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARDS
                                                    The AHC and the Black Heritage Council are         ROY SWAYZE AWARD
                                                    seeking nominations for the 2009 Historic          This award recognizes outstanding achievement
                                                    Preservation Awards. Recipients will be honored    by a private owner in the restoration of a major
                                                    during the Alabama Preservation Conference in      Alabama landmark.
                                                    Auburn, October 8-10.
                                                                                                       IDELLA CHILDS AWARD
                                                    DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD                        Each year the Black Heritage Council recognizes
                                                    Since 1969, the Alabama Historical Commission      outstanding preservation projects that highlight
                                                    has celebrated achievements in preservation        Alabama’s African American history and culture.
        Sledge pens new book on                     by presenting the Distinguished Service Award      The late Idella Childs established an enviable
          Mobile's architecture                     to individuals and groups whose contributions      record as a preservationist of Alabama’s black

                                                    demonstrate excellence in historic preservation.   landmarks.
      n The Pillared City, John S. Sledge
      offers a richly illustrated overview of
      the Greek Revival period in Mobile,                             Please return nominations by 5:00, JUNE 15 to:
   Alabama (1825–70). Published by the
   University of Georgia Press, the work
                                                            John Greene                                         By courier:
   features sixty photographs by Sheila                     Alabama Historical Commission                       468 South Perry Street
   Hagler. “Sledge’s literary skill allows                  P.O. Box 300900                                     Montgomery,AL 36104
   him to sustain interest by treating the                  Montgomery, AL 31630-0900
   buildings within the human context
   that brought them into being—and
                                                                                jgreene@preserveala.org (334) 230-2680
   on occasion brought them down. A
   hefty slice of Mobile history is served          Nominee:____________________________________________________________________
   up, with buildings as the primary
   vehicle through which the story is told,”        Daytime phone and e-mail :_____________________________________________________
   comments Robert Gamble, AHC Senior
   Architectural Historian. For more
   information visit: www.ugapress.com.
                                                    CATEGORY: (check one)
                                                            DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
                                                            ROY SWAYZE AWARD
                                                            IDELLA CHILDS AWARD

                                                    On a separate sheet, please list name & address/location of property, or accomplishment:

                                                    DESCRIPTION: Provide on a separate sheet.

                                                    1) A brief statement of why the project, person or organization demonstrates excellence in
                                                       historic preservation
                                                    2) A detailed narrative, typed, double-spaced, and no more than 3 pages that supports the
                                                    3) Two publication-quality photographs; one showing the project and one showing the person
         New book celebrates                           or group. Digital photos may be included on a CD or e-mailed
      Whilldin’s legacy in Alabama                  4) Three letters of support

         uthor and architectural historian          5) Any additional documentation including drawings, news coverage, or publication
         Thomas Mark Shelby has written
         a new book titled, D.O. Whilldin-          Nominated by:_______________________________________________________________
   Alabama Architect. Whilldin designed
   buildings in Tuscaloosa, Gadsden                 Daytime phone and e-mail:______________________________________________________
   and Birmingham from 1904-1962.
   Copies are available only from the
   Birmingham Historical Society. Visit
   www.bhistorical.org to purchase.
     4                                                                                         Alabama Historical Commission PRESERVATION REPORT / May-June 2009

                                                                   STATEWIDE REPORT
     Fort Morgan                                                 The Shoals area in northwest Ala-
                                                             bama became a National Heritage Area
                                                                                                                 place of Helen Keller. The NHA encom-
                                                                                                                 passes Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Law-
                                                                                                                                                              duced legislation to create the NHA.
                                                                                                                                                                   Also included in the Act was the au-
     251.540.5257                                            (NHA) with the passage of the Omnibus               rence, Limestone and Morgan counties.        thorization for an official NHA Study for
                                                             Public Land Management Act of 2009.                      The    local    coordinating      en-   the Chattahoochee Trace in Alabama and
     •	 July	4	-	Artillery	Salute	to	                        The Muscle Shoals National Heritage                 tity for the NHA is the Muscle Shoals        Georgia. The Historic Chattahoochee
        American	Independence	                               Area includes the Muscle Shoals Sound               Regional Center, located at the Uni-         Commission (HCC) will manage the
     •	 July	7,14,21,28	-	7-8:30	                            Studio, the W.C. Handy Home, Belle                  versity of North Alabama. Congress-          Chattahoochee Trace National Heri-
        Tuesday	Night	Candlelight	                           Mont, Pond Spring, as well as the birth-            man Bud Cramer originally intro-             tage Area, once it is officially designated.
                                                             Vulcan Park and Museum
     •	 Aug.	1-2	-	145th	Anniversary	                        celebrates restoration
        of	the	Battle	of	Mobile	Bay	
        &	Siege                                                   It has been five years since Vulcan
           	                                                 was repaired and returned to the top
     Fendall Hall	                                           of Birmingham's Red Mountain. In
                                                             celebration of this anniversary, Vulcan
     334.687.8469                                            Park and Museum has unveiled a new
     •	 July	20-23	-	Hands	on	                               family-friendly exhibits at the Vulcan
        History	Day	Camp	                                    Center Museum.
                                                                  The Restoration of Vulcan: A Collision
     •	 August	3	-	September	30	                             of Art and Science tells the story of
        Community	Art	Exhibit	                               Vulcan’s deterioration and celebrates
                                                             the statue’s restoration and return to              In April AHC Director Frank White attended Regent Cameron Freeman Na-
     Gaineswood                                              Red Mountain.Visitors see the factors               pier's (center) retirement ceremony at the First White House of the Confed-
                                                                                                                 eracy in Montgomery. Anne Henry Tidmore (right) is the new Regent.
                                                             that contributed to Vulcan’s demise
                                                             and the state-of-the-art engineering
     •	 September	26	                                        that restored him to his original form.
        Harvest	Festival	-	10-4	                             The exhibit will be on site through
                                                             February 2010 and includes several                                            SAVE THE DATE
     Magnolia Grove
                                                             hands-on interactive devices that
                                                             illustrate the problems Vulcan faced, a                 Alabama Preservation Conference
     •	 September	11-12
                                                             miniature Vulcan armature, and a flash-
                                                             animated Vulcan game.
                                                                                                                                       Oct. 8-10, Auburn
        Hwy.	14	Antiques	Trail	-	8-5

                                                                                                                                                                                   ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Montgomery AL 36130-0900
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      P. O. Box 300900
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      468 South Perry Street
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Alabama Historical Commission
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PRESERVATION REPORT
      PRESERVATIONREPORT                                                  Alabama Historical Commission

                    Preservation Report is a bimonthly publication of the
                              ALABAMA HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                               468 South Perry Street / P. O. Box 300900
                             Montgomery, AL 36130-0900 / (334) 242-3184

                                Daniel D. Bennett Chair
                                 Frank W. White Executive Director
                                    John Greene Editor

          The AHC apologizes for any address errors. Please
          e-mail corrections to: jgreene@preserveala.org
          Funded in part with funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, but does not
          necessarily reflect its views. Regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibit unlawful
          discrimination in federally assisted programs on the basis of race, color, handicap, and/or national

          Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or
          facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to:
                       Director, Equal Opportunity Program / U. S. Department of the Interior
                       National Park Service / P. O. Box 37127 / Washington, D.C. 20013-7127
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Montgomery, AL
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Permit No. 109

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         Preserve, Protect, and Interpret Alabama’s Historic Places

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