PRESERVATION Alabama Historical Commission
VOL. 36, NO. 3 MAY - JUNE 2009
SENATORS SHELBY AND SESSIONS SUPPORT PRESERVATION
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.
ALABAMA'S PLACES IN PERIL
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
AHC DIRECTOR BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS IN D.C.
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
email@example.com (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
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
SUMMER EVENTS MUSCLE SHOALS NAMED STATE'S FIRST NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.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
Permit No. 109
Preserve, Protect, and Interpret Alabama’s Historic Places