Just in time for cooler weather, the Alabama Historical Commission has debuted a new interactive map of historical sites around the state and in Cullman County, giving locals and visitors a guide for walking tours of the city or for drives into the outer edges of the county.
There have been 42 counties plotted so far, including Cullman County, which is well represented with many historical homes, churches, cemeteries and schools.
In Cullman, some of the sites include Peinhardt Farm, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Depot, Sacred Heart Church and plenty of houses and buildings inside the city’s historical district.
Outside of the city, some of the historical sites include the Day’s Gap Civil War battlefield located in the Battleground community, Clarkson Covered Bridge in Bethel, the Joppa Collegiate Normal Institute as well as Logan Junior High School and Garden City School.
Many of the points on the map also include a link to a downloadable pdf that includes the original documentation that was submitted to the Alabama Historical Commission, which includes the age and description of the site and details about its historical significance.
“The Alabama Historical Commission is incredibly proud of the vision and effort behind the Historic Preservation Map,” Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director Alabama Historical Commission, said in a press release. “Thanks to the work of our staff and interns, and through the support of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, this important resource is available for all Alabamians to utilize.”
“After my personal testing of the newly launched GIS database of Historic Architectural Resources, I highly recommend it to the general public as well as professionals working in the area of preservation. It can also serve as a resource for developing local courses of study for our schools. As an easily accessible public record of Alabama historic resources, it also includes documentation of properties receiving state and federal tax credits, cemeteries, Native American sites and historic African-American schools,” said Eddie Griffith, Alabama Historical Commission Chairman. “This continuing effort will eventually expand to all of Alabama’s counties and future documentation of historic resources will be added.”
Student interns have been working steadily since October 2017 to scan the AHC’s collection of architectural survey files, which represents thousands of forms and photographs of historic buildings all over Alabama. The locations of these historic places are being plotted in the GIS database.
The Historic Preservation Map can be viewed on a desktop computer or mobile device such as a smart phone. On a smart phone with GPS-enabled, a viewer can select to have their current location notated on the map to immediately see if there are recorded resource in the nearby vicinity. Alternatively, viewers can search by address/city/county or even latitude/longitude.
While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the data, the map and documentation will be an ongoing effort as new information is made available; this database will always be a work in progress.
The Alabama Historical Commission continually receives a wealth of new data from professional historians, archaeologists, and architectural historians from all over the state.
As the information becomes available, the map will be updated making the new data instantly available to the public. AHC’s Historic Preservation Initiative Map is intended to function as a research tool rather than an up-to-the-minute inventory of all historic and/or architecturally significant resources in the state.
“Many states have online information and many more are working towards it; however, the amount of information that is available varies widely. Alabama will be one of only a handful of states that makes this information available to the public without a subscription fee,” said Eric Sipes, Assistant State Archaeologist.
A link to the interactive map can be found at ahc.alabama.gov/historicpreservationmap.aspx.