Come for the history, stay for the hospitality!
Join us in the heart of Alabama for Selma's 39th Historic Pilgrimage.
Belles and blossoms will grace the city of Selma as Alabama’s largest historic district opens its doors to sites rarely seen by the public for the 39th annual Historic Selma Pilgrimage Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15. Spring Pilgrimage offers visitors a chance to experience hands-on history through guided tours of antebellum homes, museums, and more.
Last year, Selma’s impressive Jewish heritage, including Temple Mishkan Israel, The Harmony Club and downtown homes and businesses of former Jewish merchants were included in the tour along with other venues. Please click here for a map to all 2013 venues.
The story began in the mid-1800s when Selma’s first industrialist persuaded German citizens, many of them Jews, to immigrate to Central Alabama. They arrived on the bluffs of the Alabama River and established a variety of retail and wholesale stores. The newcomers contributed their time and skills to help build Selma into the “Queen City of the Black Belt,” and their names remained prominent through the 19th and 20th Centuries.
The tour included:
- Kayser-Turner-Searcy House, an Italian Renaissance Revival home built by Jewish businessman Isidore Kayser. He owned Kayser Department Store, and this house incorporates ideas from his many travels.
- The Harmony Club, a former Jewish social club turned residence plus first-floor Italian restaurant and antique shop. This century-old building was featured in The New York Times and on HGTV. Much of the interior remains original, including the huge ballroom.
- Koenigstahl-Williamson-Luker House, a handsome Queen Anne home that was owned by the family of Jewish businessman Levi Koenigstahl. The unusual mural on the parlor ceiling has been beautifully preserved.
- Baker-Brooks House, an Old South home with Italianate influence built in 1858 by Selma businessman George O. Baker. Lincrusta, a wall covering made to simulate hand-tooled leather is a highlight as well as door panels hand-painted by the Baker daughters (who were cousins of Tiffany artist Clara Weaver Parrish).
- Keith Law Office, an 1884 Gothic Revival that was the Keith family’s homeplace. It may be the only law firm anywhere to claim an original carriage house and dairy barn as part of its property.
- Milhous-Jones-Childers House, an 1860 home that was built as a one-story brick stucco but remodeled in 1902 into the two-story beauty it remains today. This home will be on tour for the Friday evening reception only.
- Temple Mishkan Israel, an 1899 Romanesque Revival where hundreds of Jews worshiped during the 20th Century. Featured are exquisite stained-glass windows and The Torah Scroll, which was built in 1841 by the Jewish scribe Baer Abernalfer of Bretagne, France.
- Adler Building, an 1860’s Water Avenue business that once housed a wholesale grocery, cotton merchant, furniture store and now trading post.
Three museums, Sturdivant Hall, Vaughan-Smitherman, and Old Depot, were open, and visitors were invited to the ArtsRevive Juried Art Show in the historic Carneal Building. The Selma Art Guild hosted both a show and sale by regional artists and the Alabama Plein Air Artists “Wet Paint” sale.
Friday night events included the Old Live Oak Cemetery Tour where Selma’s residents-at-rest told how they helped shape history. Then, pilgrims enjoyed the ambiance of the a charming 1860 Old Town home for an evening reception.
Pilgrimage Headquarters was at the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum (109 Union St.) for tickets and refreshments.
Visit the Selma's Historic Pilgrimage page on Facebook for more information and updates.
Please click this link for a Pilgrimage preview written by Katie Wood for the Selma Times-Journal.
Please check back for updates.
A very special thanks to Janet Gresham for her wonderful photography and copy writing on this website. Please visit her blog about Selma. I'd also like to thank Andy Burton and the Selma Times Journal for their contributions. If you have questions about Pilgrimage, please print the Selma Pilgrimage Brochure or email us at Info@SelmaPilgrimage.com and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible. Hope to see you at one of the best events in Alabama, Selma’s 38th Annual Historic Pilgrimage.
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