William Farrington Aldrich, owner of the Montevallo Coal Mining Company, established Epsibeth Missionary Baptist Church for the African American community in 1873. Th e church also served as an early school for African American children. Despite the Montevallo Coal Mine Company closing in 1942, the congregation of Epsibeth stayed and continued to worship in the building. Located near Montevallo close to the entrance to the mines, the Aldrich Company Store, and Farrington Hall, this church site served as the center of Aldrich’s African American community. With its use as a church, school, and community gathering place, the preservation of this building is key to understanding the African American experience in Aldrich.
The William Lanford House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and is signiﬁcant for its architectural style and the role it played in the early agricultural history of Madison County. William Lanford (1797–1881) moved to Madison County from Louisa County, Virginia, and established himself as a successful land speculator and planter. He had the home constructed in 1850. William married Charlotte F. Fennell in 1832, and the couple had three children before Charlotte died in 1840. After William and his three children moved to the property, they turned it into a thriving plantation.
In 1916, African American farmer Oscar James Meredith purchased property in Colbert County and constructed a log cabin. Though the Jim Crow era was challenging, Meredith’s family was familiar with such circumstances. Meredith’s grandmother, Mattie Reid Napier, was born into slavery at the nearby Belle Mont Plantation outside of Tuscumbia, Alabama, and served as the plantation’s cook once she came of age. After emancipation, Mattie and her husband continued to work on the plantation as tenant farmers.
Constructed in 1855, the Eddistone Hotel is a rare example of a surviving antebellum hotel in Selma, Alabama. Along with the nearby, well-known, and recently rehabilitated St. James Hotel, the Eddistone signiﬁcantly contributed to the development of Selma’s waterfront and continues to dominate the built environment along Water Avenue.
In 1932, the Cullman County Board of Education con-structed the Battleground School. F. M. and Mary Gray sold the land to the state of Alabama for $150 on August 11, 1931. In 1932, P. E. Moore, superintendent of Cullman County Schools, allowed the community to donate 63,000 feet of lumber for the project. F. G. Fanning constructed the initial two-room building, and only grades seven through nine were taught for the ﬁrst school year. Students then transferred to Falkville or Cullman to attend high school. Students in grades one through six attended several small one-room schools throughout the community.
Alabama's Endangered Historic Landmarks
Each year since 1994, Alabama Heritage has highlighted threatened historic sites throughout Alabama. The “Places in Peril” list has identified more than 215 imperiled historic resources throughout the state, and is compiled by the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. The locations highlight the results of deferred maintenance, perceived obsolescence, development pressures, and lack of funding—forces that now more than ever threaten our cultural legacy. But awareness is a powerful force, too, and can cultivate a renewed determination to be responsible stewards of our heritage. For more information, visit the AHC or the ATHP websites. Alabama Heritage is proud to bring to you a selection of the places designated as perilous. Please keep your comments to information relevant to the featured place in peril. Alabama Heritage reserves the right to delete any comment that we deem inappropriate.