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August 15, 2013

Guy Hunt Museum offers new tourism ideas

HOLLY POND — Holly Pond hosts the only museum in the State of Alabama dedicated to a former governor, which many deem a marketable tourism location for Alabamians.

Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell, along with other local officials, made the trip to the outskirts of Cullman County on Thursday to visit what they called a remarkable new asset for the area. Sentell said as a small-towner himself, the effort that the Town of Holly Pond put forth to fund and build the establishment is admirable.

“If it would have been in Birmingham, we would expect a nice museum, because they could afford something like that, but a town this size that supplied these kinds of resources, it’s remarkable,” Sentell said. “I’m from a small town, I had 41 people in my graduating class. I understand when people say ‘everyone looks after one another’ and ‘knows who each other is. That’s the beauty of a small town. But to fund this project and complete it on your own without any assistance, that’s amazing.”

Sentell shared about a campaign that was done in 2010 called “Small Towns and Downtowns” that allowed communities to get involved with implementing historical mile-markers without costing a bundle, recalling an event that took place in Lawrence County.

“We placed 215 historical markers around the state. Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile didn’t really participate, but the smaller the community, the more excited they were to get involved with it,” Sentell said. “The best illustration I can come up with how small communities could work together is when I was asked to come to Lawrence County for the first Poultry Festival.”

He went on to say he met with the publisher of the weekly magazine a few hours before the event started, who told him, “this is the greatest day in the history of this county, it’s going to be a success.”

“I asked him how did he know, he didn’t even know how many people would come,” Sentell said. “He told me, it didn’t matter how many people come, they had 700 people working on committees for it. He said, ‘We have four football teams and we play each other, half the people lose, half the people win. For the rest of the school year, they hate the other. This is the first time we have ever done anything where everyone is on the same team.’ What you have done here in Holly Pond is have everyone working for a common cause, that’s why you have the only museum in Alabama devoted to Montgomery. It’s remarkable what you have done.”

State Rep. Randall Shedd thanked Sentell for making the trip to Holly Pond and their support.

“We wanted Mr. Sentell to come and visit because it’s one thing to know about something, but to actually see it is different,” Shedd said. “So as the museum is talked about and the library is talked about, he would have a visual memory of it. They did a great job with the museum. I commend the town, Civitan Club and the historical organization here in Holly Pond for the work that we can all be proud of. It was already good, but now it’s great.”

Holly Pond Mayor Herman Nail said he, too, was appreciative for the hard work of the town on the project, but also excited for what it offers Alabama.

“It’s a tremendous asset for Holly Pond and for Cullman County, but it’s an even better asset for the whole State of Alabama,” Nail said. “This is what it is all about, working together.”

Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext.137.

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