Thomaston Colored Institute, Thomaston Academy, Thomaston, Marengo County, 1910 (Places in Peril 2000)
Abandoned since the 1970, this handsome two-story building was constructed as a private black school supported by the West Alabama Primitive Baptist Association. The school was the focal point of a historic African American neighborhood on the edge of the original town of Thomaston, and for decades provided the only educational opportunity for the area's black population. But despite the Institute's significance, its potential for adaptive use has gone unexplored.
Approximately two hundred earthen survey mounds roughly parallel to the Alabama-Florida boundary once marked the original dividing line between Spanish West Florida and the United States territory, as delineated by Maj. Andrew Ellicott in 1799. Many of them have since been obliterated, and those remaining are not well identified. A comprehensive survey to determine the location of the remaining mounds and an educational campaign to make landowners aware of their significance would facilitate the preservation of these resources.
Since 1902 Hillman Hospital has been a downtown landmark. Now, however, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is advocating the hospital's re placement with an entry they deem more fitting with the medical complex surrounding the historic structure. While it is true that unsightly additions have diminished the original dignity of the building, local preservationists have suggested another option: reconditioning the historic core of the hospital while enhancing the area with compatible new construction.
The sophisticated derailing of this circa 1835 house has suggested to some scholars the possible influence of master builder and industrialist Daniel Pratt, founder of nearby Prattville. John Slaton (1795-1847) a planter described by a contemporary as a "fine old Kentucky gentleman of the best antebellum type," came to Alabama in the early 1830s. Now partially roofless and enveloped by vegetation, the house bearing Slaton's name must be moved if it is to be saved. The Autauga County Heritage Association is currently working with the Alabama Historical Commission to accomplish this goal.
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.