2021 Pilgrimage Tour

Historic Places.  Southern Graces.

Covid-19 cancelled this event last year, but we are excited to be able to make it happen this year—with changes to keep everyone as safe as possible. We invite you to come and experience history as you take an Architecture and History Sidewalk Tour of private homes, gardens, a church, a museum, and more. Only Sturdivant Hall, Brownstone Manor, Selma Art Guild, Minnie Sue’s Cottage and Heritage Village will have interior tours. At the rest, your host or hostess will talk to socially-distanced visitors on the front sidewalk. You’ll be enchanted and entertained with Selma’s special blend of Southern graces and historic places in the largest historic district in Alabama.

Presented by the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society and the City of Selma, patrons will delight in events that include sidewalk tours of seven homes plus an impressive French Gothic church, circa 1904, an art show and one museum. At 200 years old, Selma is home to the largest historic district in Alabama where a special blend of southern hospitality, Spanish Moss, heirloom blooms, wrought-iron fences and intricate architecture enchant locals and visitors alike. Most sites are on tour from 9 am until 4 pm both days and the cemetery is on tour from 5 until 7 pm.

2021 Pilgrimage visitors will swoon over Brownstone Manor, one of the few homes this year having an interior tour. This neo-classic mansion was constructed of cast stone in 1898. The home was visited frequently by F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald. Considered one of a few “mirrored houses” in the Southeast, chandeliers sparkle through identical picture windows on both levels so that the Brownstone literally glows at night. Guests enter from a wide, front porch surrounded with eight Corinthian columns. Inside, they are treated to ornate capitals and chandeliers. One of the most unique features is an original bandstand at the base of the stairs. The bandstand faces the dining room which can be opened to create a dance floor where an exquisite 1898 Empire chandelier from France glows bright. This house is also included on the Alabama’s Ghost Trail video series.

The Mabry-Jones house is a Greek Revival home that was built around 1850 by Dr. Albert G Mabry. He was a Selma physician and the first president of the Alabama Medical Association. The home was later purchased by Captain Catesby ap Roger Jones, a confederate Naval hero in command of the CSS Merrimac. Captain Jones was also in charge of the confederate Naval Foundry in Selma. This grand home is still owned by the same family.

A special treat on the tour this year will be the Hooker-McEachern house. This Federal style home with Italianate details that dates to the mid 1800’s house was originally the home of Hattie Hooker Wilkins. Hattie founded the women’s suffrage movement for the state of Alabama and was the first female to serve in the Alabama legislature.  Join us in celebrating the centennial anniversary of women receiving the right to vote whilst paying homage to such a true heroine.

Cawthorn-Taylor House, c. 1880. This grand Victorian mansion presents a welcoming wraparound porch that is supported by Ionic columns. The pediment features a beautifully carved decorative ornament. Haralson-Carmichael House is an exquisite one-story, four-bay Italianate home that was built around 1869. Miss Minnie Sue’s Cottage, is a one-story house with a central passage. It is charming year-round, but especially in spring when the Lady Banks roses bloom. According to local historians the c. 1830 house is fashioned from hand-hewn timbers and joined with wooden pegs and was moved to this location in 1910.

Lamar-Henry House, c. 1893, is a beautiful three-story Queen Anne brick home, historically known as Churchview. It was built by Ernest Lamar who was instrumental in building the First Baptist Church. It has a unique wraparound porch supported by urn-shaped columns capped with Ionic capitals. Visitors will enjoy walking through the lovely gardens featuring a child’s playhouse made from a turret saved from another Old Town house.

Come stroll through the serene and peaceful Old Live Oak Cemetery with huge Live Oaks draped with Spanish moss. Several famous state and federal politicians are interred at Live Oak, including a Vice President of the United States.  Visit several of Selma’s past residents who were instrumental in the formation of this historic community. Various “ghosts” will visit on March 19 & 20, Friday and Saturday evenings, from 5-7 pm in Old Live Oak Cemetery. This historic cemetery was founded in 1829 and Pilgrims will be captivated by the stories of humor, tragedy and perseverance as history comes alive.

Pilgrimage begins at the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum which serves as ticket headquarters. The three-story building has served as a girl’s school, courthouse, Confederate hospital and a local renowned hospital during the 20th Century. Sturdivant Hall is also a must see on the tour that offers opulence and hospitality as you tour inside! This magnificent mansion with its six front Corinthian columns, imported Italian marble and quiet Southern grace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the epitome of the South’s golden age.  The grand house personifies elegance and is an immediate indicator of the affluence of its past owners.  High ceilings, elaborate moldings and stairways exemplify the classical architectural ideals.  Heart pine floors, delicately detailed marble fireplaces and servant call bells are a few of the home’s interesting features. Grand. Magnificent. Elegant. All describe Sturdivant Hall which has been called “The finest Greek revival neo-classic antebellum mansion in the Southeast”.

Other tour stops include the Selma Art Guild, Heritage Village, and First Baptist Church. The Selma Art Guild will host a special showing of photographs by Ronald Ellis Nutt as well as watercolors, oils, pottery, sketches and more by other local artists. Mr. Nutt grew up in Selma and traveled the world with the military. This exhibit is his documentation of his beautiful, historic hometown. Heritage Village is the site of several 1800s structures that were donated to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society. The buildings include Calhoun Law Office, McKinnon-Riggs Doctor’s Office, Siegel Servants’ Quarters, and Pigeon Cote. The village also includes the Gillis House and Minnie Sue’s Cottage. In Old Live Oak Cemetery, twilight is a special time during Pilgrimage as Selma’s rich history comes to life. Visitors both young and old will be captivated when some of Selma’s former residents join our earthly plane and tell how they helped shape America’s history.

The package ticket price of $25 is half the normal price. It entitles you to the dozen sites on tour. Tours are offered 9 am to 4 pm at most sites. The cemetery tour time is 5 – 7 pm and different characters are portrayed on Friday and Saturday. One cemetery ticket is included in the package. If you decide to tour an additional evening, you may purchase an additional cemetery tour ticket at $10 each. Tickets are available at EventBrite.com or during the event from 8:30 a.m. til 4:00 p.m. at the Pilgrimage headquarters, 109 Union St., during Pilgrimage. For more information, call 334-412-8550. Find Selma’s Historic Pilgrimage on Facebook. Website: SelmaPilgrimage.com.

Sponsored by the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society, Pilgrimage began in 1976 to share the city’s exceptional variety of architectural styles and rich history. Selma’s historic district features more than 1200 structures.

We look forward to your visit.  We can hardly wait to share our historic town with you!