2017 Tour

The 2017 tour started in the downtown historic district at Ticket Headquarters in front of the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum, 109 Union Street. This stop is often called a microcosm of Selma history with its many unique collections. Next pilgrims enjoyed touring through one of the oldest homes in Selma and then marveling at the adaptive re-use of a grand home that is now a business and entrepreneurial incubator. They stepped back in time as they toured a private home with splendid woodwork that was built as a town home for the family of an overseer of a large plantation in the Safford area. The morning wasn’t complete without a stop at Sturdivant Hall, lauded as the finest example of Greek Revival Neo-Classical architecture in the Southeast; it has several unique features including a rare L-shaped hallway and a cantilever staircase.  A short ride down historic Water Avenue ended at the old L & N Railway Depot, now known as the Old Depot Museum.  This beautiful building houses an interpretive history museum that has an impressive collection of artifacts and memorabilia depicting life in Selma and Dallas County from the days of the pre-historic Indians, to the Civil War, and up through Selma’s days of the Civil Rights Movement.

After a delightful lunch at a BBQ joint where the locals go, a typical southern meat-and-three diner, farm-fresh home-cooking at a Farmers’ Market or more pilgrims took a drive north to tour a home in Summerfield never before opened to the public. This unique house was built on the husband’s family farm with lots of special touches that showed that the wife is very proud of her English heritage as well as an extremely talented artist. A stop at Valley Creek Presbyterian Church was next to admire the 1850s Greek Revival red brick church and hear stories of their past. Kenan’s Mill, an 1850’s gristmill, remains one of the most interesting sites in Dallas County. The mill was operating each afternoon and freshly-ground corn meal and grits were for sale.  Guests then stopped at Heritage Village to tour an 1840s cottage and five other 1800s structures.  Next was an 1892 Victorian house that had been home to many families, a boarding house for school teachers and the residence for actress Jessica Lange while filming in Selma. A short drive took visitors back to the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they could tour the three floors of exhibits in the NPS Interpretive Center and perhaps walked across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. They then took time to visit the Selma Art Guild Gallery and observed the fine work by the Alabama Plein Air artists during the weekend. Their finished works were for sale at the gallery from 4:30 until 6 pm on Saturday.

Friday evening’s reception from 6-8 pm was held in Sardis beneath the shelter of ancient oaks and magnolias in the stately and beautifully restored Hain-Harrelson House. Fascinating features of the home included the massive columns (brought on the river by boat and then by mule wagons to the site, a rectangular shaped window made of leaded glass in the “Tree of Life” pattern and the center hall measuring 12′ wide by 54′ long.  All main rooms measure 18′ wide by 21′ deep. The house is constructed almost entirely of heart pine and cypress and the interior walls are sand plaster.  Pilgrims felt like a visitor to another time period when they toured this magnificent home and enjoyed light refreshments in the gardens.

Hunter-Hamilton-Coffee-Tipmore House

c. 1895

This Victorian house was built in 1895 by Charles D. Hunter as his winter residence. Extensive fire in the attic caused him to change the roofline and during the 1920s deteriorating open porches across the front were removed. However, the interior remains basically the same. The home remained in the Hunter/Hamilton family until around 2000 when it was given to the SDCHPS. The dark Eastlake woodwork, mantels and wainscoting are wonderful features of the Victorian style. Be sure to check out the beautiful wood floral molding above the front entrance. The home was last open for Pilgrimage 2002.

  Riggs-Morgan-Boyd House

c. 1843

This raise cottage is one of the oldest standing homes in Selma and was recently purchased by a local business. Unusual features of the building include the stepped parapet brick walls on the side gables and two front entrances. You will enjoy actors who will be portraying notable Selmians who lived through the history this home has seen. Visitors will also like strolling through the garden recently installed by the Boyds. The home was last open for Pilgrimage 1978.

Arsenal Place Accelerator

c. 1869

This historic home is Selma’s first and only small business and entrepreneurial incubator. It is an excellent case study in the practice of adaptive reuse as this grand, once-private home has been transformed into a vital economic engine. Pilgrims will enjoy meeting the entrepreneurs and sampling their products. This is the first time for it to be on Pilgrimage.

  Hill View House

A combination of Connecticut farmhouse and Southern manor gives this 20th century home an old-world flair that includes a bit of British influence. From an octagonal breakfast room that features river-recovered heart pine to centuries-old antiques, this large family estate reflects the owners’ English heritage (hers) and forest industry background (his). She is also a well-known artist and you will enjoy seeing her beautiful work as well as that of others. This home has never been on Pilgrimage before.

Gillis House

c. 1840

Hand-hewn boards and square nails used in the construction of this house, along with simple Greek key woodwork and jib windows across the front help to date this cottage to around 1840. The house was moved from Washington Street to Heritage Village in 1984. The home was last open for Pilgrimage 2000.

  Heritage Village

c. 1843

Heritage Village is the site of several 1800’s structures that were donated to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society by private individuals. Included are four relocated historic structures: McKinnon-Riggs doctor’s office, 1830 Calhoun law office, Siegel servant quarters and a historic pigeon cote, as well as displays of 19th century equipment and furnishings.


Portis-Hubbard Home

c. 1892

This Queen Anne Victorian home with wrap around porch was originally built by Reason H. Lanford. Features include heart pine and oak floors, 12 foot ceilings, restored wood wainscoting, pocket doors, antique light fixtures and a brick patio. The property changed ownership many times during the first 40 years, often in settlement of debts. The Portis sisters, Miss Richard Rivers Portis and Miss Janie Pruitt, acquired the house in 1932 and were the primary occupants for the next fifty years. The house has been home to many families, a boarding house for school teachers and the residence for Emmy-winning actress Jessica Lange while filming Blue Sky in Selma. This home was last open to the public on Pilgrimage 2002.

  Hain-Harrelson House

c. 1913

Friday evening’s reception from 6-8 pm will be held in Sardis beneath the shelter of ancient oaks and magnolias in the stately and beautifully restored Hain-Harrelson House. One of the state’s finest examples of Neo-Classical Revival architecture, with fascinating features including the massive front columns (brought on the river by boat and then by mule wagons to the site), a rectangular-shaped window made of leaded glass in the “Tree of Life” pattern and the center hall measuring 12′ wide by 54′ long.  All main rooms measure 18′ wide by 21′ deep. The house is constructed almost entirely of heart pine and cypress and the interior walls are sand plaster.  Situated on 13 acres, the home was carefully restored in 1998 by Ken Parker and Cecil Gayle, nephew of Mrs. J. Bruce Hain. You will feel like a visitor to another time period when you tour this magnificent home and enjoy light refreshments. The current owners purchased the home last year–the home was last open for Pilgrimage 2005 when one of the current owners was a tour guide.

Valley Creek Presbyterian Church

c. 1859

The roots of this congregation began in 1816 as the first Presbyterian Church in Alabama. Construction began in 1857 on this Greek Revival style two-story red brick church.

http://selmapilgrimage.com/wp-content/uploads//2010/01/bag.jpg Kenan’s Mill

c. 1850s

A working 1860’s gristmill (just off County Road 37/Summerfield Road north of Selma), where you can watch the millstone turn and buy freshly-ground cornmeal. Trek across Valley Creek on the swinging bridge to see the charcoal kiln. Visit the miller’s house and enjoy the beautiful park atmosphere.

 The Old Depot

c. 1891, Martin Luther King Street & Water Avenue

Immerse yourself in Selma and Dallas County’s past with a visit to the Old Depot Museum. The Old Depot Museum offers a window to Selma’s rich past. Journey from the town’s founding in 1820 through the Industrial Revolution and past the Voting Rights movement of 1965. The Depot was built on the site of the Confederate Naval Foundry which was destroyed by Federal troops during the Battle of Selma in 1865.

 http://selmapilgrimage.com/wp-content/uploads//2015/02/Pilgrimage-2015-Selma-Interpretive-Center-1.jpg  Interpretive Center

The Selma Interpretive Center opened in 2011 and continues to attract many visitors to learn about Selma’s important role in the Civil Rights Movement.  Pictures from the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement hang on its walls, and there are civil rights displays with books, CDs and brochures.

 Sturdivant Hall

c. 1853, 713 Mabry St.

Sturdivant Hall has been called “The finest Greek revival neo-classic antebellum mansion in the Southeast”. Established as a museum in 1957, it houses period antique furnishings, porcelain and doll collections, as well as an impressive collection of art by Selma native Clara Weaver Parrish.  This magnificent mansion with its six front columns, is the epitome of the South’s golden age.

 Sturdivant Hall
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Vaughan Smitherman Museum

c. 1847, 109 Union Street, at Alabama Avenue

Honoring former Mayor Joseph T. Smitherman, who was instrumental in its preservation and restoration, it houses an extensive collection of Civil War memorabilia and exhibits of medical and political artifacts.  The museum proudly displays exquisite Victorian antiques, nationally acclaimed art from local artists, antique documents, military memorabilia and uniforms, and medical equipment. Outside the building, the tranquil gardens beckon visitors out for a stroll along brick walks and among flowing fountains.