Protect, Preserve, & Interpret 
              Alabama's  Historic Places

468 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104   ( 334) 230-2690
In This Issue
Calendar of Events

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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 14-15
Summer Living History Program -  Members of the 33rd  Alabama  Infantry will be on duty at the  Civil War  Camp of Instruction site all day on giving demonstrations and answering questions concerning soldier life during the war. 
For more information please call 205-755-1990.
July 18, 25
Tuesday Evening Tours -  Living History staff will celebrate America's Independence through firing artillery, weapons demonstrations, and special tours. Admission charged. For more information please call 251-540-5257 or 251-540-7127.
July 29
Alabama Archaeological Society Summer Meeting.  Learn more at  
July 29
"Music at the Mansion" returns during the W.C. Handy Festival. Popular Dixieland jazz musicians Renee' Koopman and Friends will perform from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Fried pies and sweet tea will be sold in the courtyard and admission costs to the mansion will be waived in favor of donations during the event. For more information please call 256-381-5052.
August 5
Commemoration of Battle of Mobile Bay -  A one day living history event commemorating the events that happened at Mobile Bay. Admission charged. For more information please call 251-540-5257 or 251-540-7127.
August 9
The Quarterly Commission Meeting will be held in Eufaula, Alabama at Fendall Hall. For more information call  334-230-2690.
August 26
Summer Living History Program -  Members of the 33rd  Alabama  Infantry will be on duty at the  Civil War  Camp of Instruction site all day on giving demonstrations and answering questions concerning soldier life during the war. 
For more information please call 205-755-1990.
August 26-27
During the commemorative event set for August 26-27, 2017 volunteers will dress in period clothing to re-enact the Battle of Burnt Corn followed by the Battle of Fort Mims. You can witness living history as well as enjoy period music, arts, crafts, covered wagons, tomahawk throwing, blacksmithing, concessions, dancing and 1800s cooking demonstrations. For more information call 251-533-9024.
August 30 - October 4
New exhibit will feature alphabetical listing of military members who are Prisoners of War/Missing in Action.
Call Lisa Franklin, 
Site Director, at 
334-242-3188 for more information.
Recent Press Releases

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In the News

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Remembering Gwyndolyn Collins Turner 

Gwyndolyn Collins Turner (1918-2017), born in Gallion, Alabama, on May 20, 1918, was one of ten children born to Beulah Brown and George Davis Collins. Ms. Turner graduated from Demopolis High School in 1936 and received a bachelor's degree from The University of Alabama in 1940. She was an active member of the Reading Club of Demopolis for seventy-three years, the Marengo County Historical Society, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

With a keen intellect and extraordinary vision, Ms. Turner championed historic preservation in Alabama and throughout the South. 

"Gwyn Turner was truly a very unique person," said John Northcutt, President, Friends of Gaineswood. "Her persona influenced so many lives in Demopolis and throughout Alabama's Black Belt region when it came to the importance of historical preservation. I am blessed to have known her. "
Ms. Turner spearheaded many efforts around Demopolis, including the preservation of Bluff Hall, the acquisition of Lyon Hall and the move of the Demopolis Public Library to Ulmer Furniture Store in downtown.  In 2006, the Alabama Department of Archives & History installed in its newly-constructed wing a reproduction of the scenic wallpaper depicting the founding of the Vine & Olive Colony near present-day Demopolis, in honor of Ms. Turner's lifework supporting Marengo County and Alabama history.

"Gwyn Turner believed in happy endings," said William Gantt, Music Rights & Patron Services Manager, University of Alabama, Theatre & Dance Department, who shared a moving eulogy at Ms. Turner's memorial service. "I think that belief drove her to preserve our history for all generations and to save landmarks such as Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall.  She knew it was important for us to know that an old courthouse can rise above the ashes of a bloody civil war to become a theatrical venue for the performing arts."

In her many roles with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, including Emeritus Advisor, Ms. Turner dedicated her time and talents to the cultivation of our country's landscape. In 2004, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and was named Alabama's Grande Dame of Historic Preservation.

" Gwyn Turner was so effective as an advocate for historic preservation because she was genuinely interested in everyone she encountered," said AHC Commissioner Eddie Griffith.  "Her ability to take your interests and stories and gently nudge them into action was an incredible talent.  Gwyn's work ranged far and wide, but she understood that the enhancement of our communities could begin with small steps on a neighborhood level. She will be missed by all she befriended and worked with in the preservation community."
A Tribute to Robert Thrower

The Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) was deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Robert Thrower, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PBCI). He was a beloved preservationist, educator, public historian, and passionate advocate for the Creek people.

Robert Thrower had a deep and abiding love for his Tribe and a true commitment to preserving Poarch Creek history and culture. "He was truly a unique Alabamian," said AHC Commissioner Craig Sheldon. "He stood astride two worlds - the historic Creek Indians and the modern. Other professionals and I will miss his eager enthusiasm about the past. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have lost an incredibly valuable member."

Mr. Thrower officially began working for the Poarch Creek Indians on July 9, 1991, following in the footsteps of his mother, Gail Thrower, Poarch Creek's first Tribal historian. "He was able to tell the stories and heritage of his people-- the historic Indians of Alabama in ways that were understandable to the average modern Alabamian and at the same time remind the professional historians and archaeologists that their research must also be relevant," said Commissioner Sheldon. Not only was he proud to represent his Tribe, but he considered it an honor to serve on the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Culture and Heritage Committee. He served on the Committee from 2004-2008 and then as Chairman of the USET Committee from 2008-2017.

"Mr. Thrower's dedication to educating people about our state's Native American heritage was unmatched," said Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of AHC. "As the state continues to celebrate its bicentennial, Robert Thrower's unique voice and presence will be sorely missed. He was a special friend to the AHC and we will be forever grateful for his involvement and dedication to Fort Toulouse and Fort Mims."

See PBCI press release here
The 2017 Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program

In the most recent session the Alabama Legislature passed a bill that creates a new  Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit  Program to rehabilitate, preserve, and develop historic buildings in  Alabama

The Alabama Historical Commission will accept comments on the regulations of the  2017 Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program until 4:30 p.m., August 4, 2017.

For questions please call Tryon McLaney at 334-230-2674

Please send written comments to

Tryon McLaney
Contracts and Grants
Alabama Historical Commission
468 South Perry Street 
Montgomery, Alabama 36130 

The former program ended a year ago and was very successful at encouraging investment in our state's historic places.  The new program will run through 2022 with a total of $100,000,000  in available tax credits.

Please continue to check out our website for updates on the new Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. 
Alabama Historical Commission 2018 Capital Enhancements Grant Program

The AHC is administering a $300,000 state-funded Grant Program for capital improvements at historic sites throughout  Alabama. Applications are still being accepted.

Grants will be awarded to historical skills centers, cultural heritage parks, sites, commissions, boards, agencies, authorities, any historic school structure, or any publicly-owned battlefield or structure constructed prior to 1840 that is on the  National Register of Historic Places . Grants will be awarded to entities that reflect an education-based mission, concentrate on educational programming, and reflect the geographical diversity of the state. Grant amounts will not exceed $50,000 for any one entity.

Applications must be hand-delivered or mailed to Tryon McLaney, Contracts and Grants, Alabama Historical Commission by August 15, 2017. If you have questions, please call 334-230-2674.

Download the grant guidelines and application at 
Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation's 2017 Lyceum Series

Travel with the Alabama Trust on a three-year series of rambles through Alabama's history in celebration of our state's bicentennial.

The first Alabama Bicentennial Ramble weekend begins September 22-24 with the history of the Creek Indians and the early settlers in the Stockton area. Participants will visit Fort Mims and the Poarch Creek Indian Museum in Atmore.

Click here to download the Save the Date card.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Bicentennial Farm Program

Did you know that in 1976 the director of the  Alabama Historical Commission and a representative from the  Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries met to discuss some way to recognize small family farms?

Out of this original meeting the idea for the Century and Heritage Farm Program was born. They decided recognition should be given to these farms (that have remained in the same family for 100 years) because they played such a significant part in  Alabama's history.

With the state-wide bicentennial celebration in mind, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries felt special recognition should be given to family farms that have remained in the same family for 200 years. Agriculture is an integral part of Alabama's heritage and the love of the land demonstrated by these families deserves recognition.

To apply for the Bicentennial Farm Program, families can complete a form that includes tracing the lineage of property ownership and describes the farm's agricultural activities. The department is also asking for photos of any structures on the property that are at least 40 years old.

Applications are available at under the "Forms" tab. Deadline to apply for the Bicentennial Farm Program is August 25, 2017.

This effort is similar to the department's Century and Heritage Farm Program, which is still accepting applications.
University of Alabama's Museum Expedition at Old Cahawba

For three weeks every summer, students and community members are able to learn excavation techniques, laboratory procedures and artifact identification through a hands-on field experience at various sites throughout the state.
More importantly, expedition participants develop a better understanding about the importance of connecting with their past. This year as part of the state's bicentennial, participants worked alongside professional archaeologists from the Alabama Historical  Commission performing excavations at Old Cahawba in an effort to learn more about the original foundation of Alabama's first Capitol, said Todd Hester, expedition leader and museum naturalist.

Cahawba, now a historic property of AHC, was created as Alabama's first state capital by legislative act Nov. 21, 1818 and by congressional act March 2, 1819. It was carved out of the wilderness on the American frontier practically overnight for this purpose, and it is unique among state capitals because of its creative design. William Wyatt Bibb, Alabama's first governor, reused relic 16th-century Indian earthworks as the centerpiece of his town plan.
There are no photographs of the building because it collapsed in 1833, and no drawing or painting of the statehouse produced by someone who actually saw it has yet to be found. That was the goal of this year's expedition - to begin piecing together a picture of the Capitol.
Expedition participants found numerous artifacts, including brick, mortar, several types of nails, and glass from bottle panels or window panes, as well as other structural components. Alabama Historical Commission senior archaeologist Eric Sipes said participants found what they think to be a wall/builder's trench and a possible drip line. The wall trench contains diagnostic artifacts that all date to the early 19th century, which strongly suggests that these features are related to the first state Capitol.
Some pieces actually raised more questions than provided answers, but that is all part of a field experience, Hester said.
"What we're finding tells the story outside of the history books," he said. "And that's what Expedition is about."
It also engages students and the community and gives them an opportunity to dive deeper into Alabama's history by actually touching the artifacts.  

Black Heritage Council Student Intern Graduates from Alabama State University 

In February 2016, Alabama State University Senior 
Iyesogie  Stephany Obakpolor began working with the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC)  as the Black Heritage Council (BHC) Student Intern. Since then she has put in countless hours assisting with BHC projects and working with the Freedom Rides Museum

Stephany graduated from Alabama State University in May with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. In July, Stephany began her new job with the AmeriCorps program in Miami, Florida, where she will assist teachers in an urban school environment. 
National Park Service Launches Directory of NPS Community Assistance Programs

The National Park Service's new directory outlines 54 programs that provide funding, technical assistance, and other resources to community groups for historic preservation, investment in historic sites, recreation and improved access to public lands, and education and professional development in and outside national parks.

Community assistance programs of the NPS empower local organizations to advance historic preservation and conservation work in rural and urban communities across the United States. These programs serve as economic drivers, transforming underutilized places into community assets that enhance quality of life.
Where in the State are AHC Staff?

Mrs. Odessa Woolfolk (pictured), founding Director of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute made a presentation to the teams gathered at the Institute for Preservation Leadership Training: Capstone-Preserving History, Building Community, presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The training brought together 25 participants committed to advancing their skills and knowledge of preservation and community development for a five day collaborative learning experience focusing on the redevelopment of the A. G. Gaston Motel and office building. Dorothy Walker, Site Director of the Freedom Rides Museum, attended the stakeholder session on behalf of the Alabama Historical Commission

Lisa D. Jones, AHC Executive Director, Clara Nobles, Assistant Executive Director, and Lee Anne Wofford, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, met with National Park officials to share suggestions for the A.G. Gaston Motel, which will be included in the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. The  16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 4th Avenue Historic District, Bethel Baptist Church, Colored Masonic Temple, and St. Paul United Methodist Church will also be included. 

In June, Mrs. Jones and other AHC staff met with Dr. Reginald Tiller (pictured above), Acting Superintendent of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and the Freedom Riders National Monument, to offer support during the planning process of these significant historic sites.

The Alabama Association for Resource and Conservation Districts worked with the Alabama Historical Commission and Scenic Byways Advisory Council to develop the 2017 statewide workshop for Scenic Byways communities. 
AHC staff attended and spoke at the conference on topics including the Alabama Register, Cemetery Program, National Register, and State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.  

Alabama State Scenic Byways Conference in Montgomery June 27-28. 
Pictured left to right:  Mary Shell, AHC Preservation Planner; Katherine Thomas, Operations Manager, Alabama Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils; Sandra Taylor, Park Superintendent for Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, and Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail; Black Heritage Council members Louretta Wimberly and Frazine Taylor; Joe Watts, Scenic Byways Advisory Council
Chris Kinder, Alabama Historical Commission ALDOT Liaison/Architectural Historian, made a presentation at the workshop

The  Alabama Historical Commission  was happy to be part of the  Alabama Bicentennial Commission' s third Regional Community Workshop in  Robertsdale, Alabama. 

See list of upcoming workshops here

Black Heritage Council Update

Frazine Taylor (pictured), Chair, Black Heritage Council (BHC) and BHC member Howard Robinson spoke at the "Resurrecting Their Stories:  A Community-based Oral History Project" held at the Tuskegee University, Kellogg Conference Center. The event was co-sponsored by the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law (CRRJ), Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Tuskegee University Archives, the Elmore Bolling Foundation and the Alabama NAACP. Other BHC members in attendance were Vice Chair Elvin Lang, Congressional 6 Representative Debra Love, and former member  Dr. Richard Bailey.

Frazine Taylor (pictured far left), Chair, Black Heritage Council, organized a Genealogy Colloquium at Alabama State University. The Colloquium was an educational opportunity for discovery and for learning how to critically evaluate genealogical resources and methodologies. Participants experienced a week of intensive study led by national and local prominent genealogical educators. The event was sponsored by the Levi Watkins Learning Center (LWLC) for the Study of  Civil Rights and African- American  Culture (NCSCRAAC) and The Division of Continuing Education at Alabama State University. 

BHC Vice Chair Elvin Lang along with BHC members Debra Love and Dr. Howard Robinson also participated in the Colloquium and made presentations.

This Colloquium is the second in a series of biennial colloquia concentrating solely on black colonial, antebellum, reconstruction and civil rights era records. The 2017 Genealogy Colloquium will explore the genealogical research aspect of African-American churches, fraternities, sororities, schools, and organizations. 

See more images here.
Happenings at #AHCsites

The Alabama Historical Commission enjoyed hosting the Teachers with the Alabama Bicentennial Summer Institute at  Old Cahawba !

See more images here.

Fort Morgan's Salute to American Independence featured weapons demonstrations and firing of historic artillery. Living History interpreters dressed in period attire guided visitors through the fort. T he Brass Band Detachment from the 151st Army Band held a special performance inside the Fort.

Confederate Memorial Park hosted its Summer Living History Program. Me mbers of the 33rd Alabama Infantry were on duty during the Civil War Camp of Instruction giving demonstrations and answering questions on soldier life.

Dorothy Walker (pictured), Site Director of the Freedom Rides Museum conducted a tour for the  Cultural Leadership Class 12. The group learned about the nonviolent discipline of the Freedom Riders.

A special Alabama Bicentennial exhibit at Belle Mont included a collection of china pieces on loan from Mr. Paul Jones III of Leighton, Alabama.  Included was a tureen that once belonged to Georgia Senator Charles Tait, who in 1817 introduced the bill to the U. S. Senate which resulted in Alabama's statehood in 1819. Also included in the loan was a cobalt blue plate given to William Rufus King, Alabama's only U. S. Vice President, by the Empress of China. A tureen and old University of Alabama Corolla yearbooks represented Richard Channing Jones, President of the University, who introduced football to Alabama. 

Preservationist and antiques collector Rhonda Dillard describes nineteenth century dining etiquette and hospitality during Belle Mont's second annual antique and vintage china exhibit "Art of the Dish."  Held June 22-24, the event coincided with Tuscumbia's Helen Keller Festival and included a catered luncheon served in the courtyard.  

In July, after placing the final post in the ground, Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson maintenance staff completed Fort Toulouse's replacement wall. Thank you to Robert Demas, Tom Goodman and Early Smith for your hard work. Just in time for the Fort's 300th anniversary celebration in November!

Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson is pleased to introduce a new sales item this summer--the official Fort Toulouse hat and visor! The hats and visors retail for $15.00 each.  

Descendants of General Whitfield visited Gaineswood. In the above image they pose with "Granny's bell," a family artifact donated by Nellie Ulmer.
Announcement of Availability of Historic Bridge

The City of Winfield in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) proposes the replacement of a bridge that has been determined to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. For Various reasons, the bridge is not planned to be preserved in place. The bridge is located on Apple Ave. over the East Branch of Luxapallila Creek in the City of Winfield, AL.
As stipulated in section 123(f)(4) of the surface Transportation Act of 1987 and the Memorandum of Agreement with the Alabama Historical Commission, the City of Winfield is announcing the availability of this bridge. The structure will be donated to the appropriate recipients and FHWA and ALDOT will pay the expense of moving the bridge and associated reestablishment costs up to the expense of bridge demolition. For this service, the recipient will agree to preserve the historical integrity of the bridge and to properly maintain the structure.

The bridge is a two-lane reinforced concrete deck and girders with concrete bents bridge constructed in 1937. Presently, the bridge has a National Bridge Inventory System Sufficiency Rating of 47.60. The bridge is rated as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The structure is 198 feet in length and carries two lanes of traffic with a lane with of 8.75 feet.
Any potential recipient interested in further information concerning the acquisition of this bridge, please provide a written request within 30 days of the placement of this advertisement to:
Ms. Angie Oliver
City Clerk
City of Winfield
PO Box 1438
Winfield, AL 35594
Happenings Around the State  

July 27 - Community Workshop in Dothan, Alabama Bicentennial Commission


August 18 -  Community Workshop in Fort PayneAlabama Bicentennial Commission

August 21-23 -  aLABama Downtown LaboratoryMain Street Alabama Annual Conference

August 24  - Community Workshop in DemopolisAlabama Bicentennial Commission

August 30 -  Your Town Alabama WorkshopAlabama Communities of Excellence


September 22-24 -  Fall 2017 Preservation Lyceum in Atmore and StocktonAlabama Trust for Historic Preservation


Interested in hosting Making Alabama, A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit from the Alabama Humanities Foundation (AHF)?  As part of the Alabama Bicentennial celebration, Alabama counties and communities are invited to host the exhibition. To host the exhibit please apply at  

For more information, contact AHF Director of Operations Laura Anderson at or call (205) 558-3992.
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468 South Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36130-0900