Exhibit series celebrates county's history
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE
BY JENNIFER COHRON
Residents of Dora and Sumiton came together at the Bankhead House and Heritage Center on Tuesday to reminisce about the special people and places of their dual pasts.
"Celebrating Our Communities: Chapter 2" features culturally significant items from the two East Walker communities.
Examples include an antique cash register used in Glover Drug Store, medical equipment from the office of Sumiton physician and first mayor P.E. Gwin and a Dora High School cheerleader uniform in which all the scores from the football team's undefeated 1959-60 season are handwritten on the skirt.
The exhibit is part of a series that the Bankhead House is hosting over the next six years intended to pay tribute to Walker County's existing towns and cities, as well as communities that no longer exist or are a fraction of their former size.
Last year's inaugural installment in the series focused on Carbon Hill, Eldridge, Kansas, Nauvoo and Townley.
"The Bankhead House and Heritage Center is a gift of the Walker Area Community Foundation. We want to celebrate the past, inspire the future and we want Walker Countians to be proud of where they've come from and where they're going," Paul Kennedy, WACF president, said during an opening reception held Tuesday afternoon.
Jackie Parker, a retired teacher, and Joe Holley, a local historian, helped collect items for the exhibit.
Parker thanked everyone who was so generous with their mementos.
"You invited me up to your attics, down in your basement. You invited me into your storage buildings. You let me look in your trunks. I was amazed," Parker said.
Holley said helping prepare the exhibit for the public has been one of the highlights of his life.
"More than I've contributed is what I've learned about my hometown, my old friends and people who were here before me, though there aren't many of those," Holley joked.
Sumiton Mayor Petey Ellis and Dora Mayor Randy Stephens both attended the reception.
"Jackie and Joe put a lot of work in, and it's really paid off. People are really enjoying it. I've seen some things I've never seen before," Ellis said.
Stephens also was impressed with the variety of artifacts included in the exhibit.
"It brings back a lot of memories. A lot of it I remember, and some of it I've just heard about. The two cities have been hand-in-hand for years in progress for East Walker County, and I'm glad the community foundation has put together an exhibit to give people a chance to come by and look at this history," Stephens said.
The exhibit runs through Sept. 14. Admission is free.
The schedule for future "Celebrating Our Communities" exhibits is as follows: Farmstead, Jasper, Manchester, Thach and Saragossa — 2019; America, Corona, Gorgas, Martin, Parrish, Patton and Oakman -- 2020; Barney, Cordova, Gardner's Gin and Quinton — 2021; Boldo, Curry, Empire, Sipsey, South Lowell, Sunlight and Union Chapel — 2022; and Winston County — 2023.