A Sign of the Times

Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert County Tourism at the metal marker press conference in Tuscumbia is shown with with Lin Liles who created the historic homes markers. (Photo: Dennis Sherer)

TUSCUMBIA – Colbert County’s newest tourist attraction will take visitors and area residents back in time and guide them through the earliest history of the county.

Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau and a committee of local historians and history organizations are working to identify homes throughout the county that were built before 1921. Homeowners who choose to participate in the program will have their home identified with a distinctive metal marker. Printed and electronic maps will be created to guide visitors to residents to the historic homes for self-guided driving tours. In addition, guided tours of the homes will be held on occasion.

“Many cities, such as Huntsville and Decatur, have markers that identify their historic homes. Now, you can add Colbert County to the list of communities that showcases it history by identifying its oldest homes,” said Susann Hamlin, President and CEO of Colbert County Tourism. “Our county has a rich history. We have numerous homes that predate the Civil War. Some of the oldest homes in Alabama are in Colbert County. In the past, it was hard to know the history of a home simply by driving past the structure. The new markers will not only identify the homes, but also give the circa it was built and its historic name.”

“Driving tours of historic homes are extremely popular,“ Hamlin added. “Tourism is the face of our county. The historic marker program will ensure some of the oldest faces in the county are identified for generations to come.”

The program is open to homes throughout the county.

Meetings took place at Sunday,September 15 at Sheffield Public Library and Monday, September 16 at Helen Keller Public Library in Tuscumbia for the public to see the markers and learn more about the program.

Grants will cover most of the cost of the markers.

The cost to the homeowner will be $125 which includes professional installation. Applications are available at the Colbert County Tourism office, 719 U.S. Hwy 72, Tuscumbia or by calling 256-383-0783 or emailing colberttourism@comcast.net.

A committee of local historians will approve homes for the program. Applicants should provide documents such as abstract deeds and excerpts from the Historic American Buildings Survey to help confirm the age of their home and its historic names. Old newspaper clippings, photographs, and family letters that have been passed down through generations will also be helpful.

With 2019 being Alabama’s Bicentennial, Hamlin said the time is perfect for identifying and marking the oldest homes in Colbert County.

Hamlin said the program hopes to identify and mark 30 homes by October 31. The first guided tour will take place this fall.

Historic Home Markers Program Highlights

• Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau and a committee of local historians and history organizations are working to identify homes throughout the county that were built before 1921.

• Homeowners who choose to participate in the program will have their home identified with a distinctive metal marker.

• Printed and electronic maps will be created to guide visitors to residents to the historic homes for self-guided driving tours. In addition, guided tours of the homes will be held from time-to-time.

• Grants will cover most of the cost of the markers. The cost to the homeowner will be $125, which includes professional installation.

• Applications are available at the Colbert County Tourism office, 719 U.S. Hwy 72, Tuscumbia or by calling 256-383-0783 or emailing colberttourism@comcast.net.

• A committee of local historians will approve homes for the program.