TALLADEGA -- With the calendar flipping from February to March, it’s time to start planning for the 2019 Talladega Pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage Council Chairman Chad Thomas announced Thursday evening that the 2019 Pilgrimage will be the weekend of April 12-13.
“The council has a weekend full of events … to promote the city of Talladega (and) its rich history and raise funds to further the mission of the council,” he said. “These events include the April in Talladega Tour of Homes, the tour of Oak Hill Cemetery, a wine and cheese reception at Heritage Hall Museum, a family block party, luncheons, museum exhibits, events at The Historic Ritz Theatre, etc.
“Funds raised through these events are used for historic preservation or promotion purposes. In recent years, these funds have been used to restore the sign and façade of The Ritz Theatre, purchase new seats for the theatre, restore the Chamber building, restore and fund exhibits at Heritage Hall, fund the Hall of Heroes Museum, improve Palmer Place and plant trees in the historic district.”
Funds have also gone toward grants for homeowners in the historic district.
The first stop on this year’s tour of homes is Dogwood, at 404 South St E. Occupied by Evelyn McGhee, it is described as a “neo-classical revival mansion built in 1905,” according to Thomas’s notes. “The large neo-classic columns are impressive, and the home is beautifully decorated and designed.”
The next two stops are Tea Olive Cottage at 601 South St. E and the Haynes Home on Eastaboga Road. The former is the residence of Hugh and Lena O’Barr, built in 1915 with “many of its original features beautifully restored,” Thomas said. The latter is the home of Tony and Donna Haynes, a more than 5,000-square foot residence built in 1900.
The Wren Home, at 401 East St. S, “was designed by renowned Montgomery architect Frank Lockwood and built in 1890,” according to Thomas’s notes. “The house displays beauty and craftsmanship in its ornamented spire, ornate chimneys and unusual arched stained glass triple windows.
“This home, owned by Melissa McEwan and Greg Walton, is our first before and after home on the tour. This year, visitors will take note of the impressive architecture, then come back in 2020 to see the fully restored home.”
Lockwood also designed the building that houses Heritage Hall Museum, built in 1906.
The oldest building on this year’s tour is not a residence, but Mt. Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1870. On West Battle Street, the church was established “after the African-American membership made a request of its parent church, Good Hope Baptist Church, to become independent and organize a church of their own.
“The church was originally built on its present site but was destroyed by a storm in 1912 and rebuilt in 1913. The current façade contains bricks from the original 1870 building. Improvements were made in 1980, and a full-scale renovation was completed in 1986.
“Mount Canaan Baptist Church has been deemed a significant landmark by the Alabama Historical Commission and has been added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.” Talladega City Council President Dr. Horace Patterson is the pastor.
The last stop on this year’s tour will be the Hall of Heroes, in the former Wood-Weaver Shoes building on the east side of Courthouse Square. It is “dedicated to the men and women of Talladega County who have served their country in the military, law enforcement, etc. Artifacts from multiple war periods, including uniforms, weapons, medals, photographs and much more can be found on display.”
The Oak Hill Cemetery Tours will go Friday and Saturday, as will the “Celebrating Alabama’s Heritage: Quilt Stories” exhibit at Heritage Hall on South Street and tours of the Armstrong-Osborne Public Library next door.
Lunch Friday and Saturday will be at St. Peters Episcopal Church on North Street, and there will be a wine and cheese reception Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Hall.
Talladega Bottling Works and Artisans Alley on the south side of The Square will host the Border Town Makers Market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
The weekend winds up Saturday evening with a family block party from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring vendors, live music, a kids’ play zone and other attractions all around The Square.