Pilgrimage 2019

Exquisite homes and fabulous art showcased the 44th Historic Selma Pilgrimage on March 15th and 16th, 2019. Presented by the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society and the City of Selma, patrons delighted in events that included guided tours of five homes plus an adaptive reuse dental office, a farmers market housed in an early 1800’s building and three museums. 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.

Morning houses included Italianate and Federal styles. The 1860 Gillman Hall home is an outstanding Greek Revival Italianate with the original detached kitchen. It is exquisitely decorated with original art work and period antiques. The Elliot Cottage is a lovely 1825 Federal style cottage and one of Selma oldest homes. Dr. Sams’ Office, is a modern renovation of a 1920’s home turned dental office.

The tour also boasted three museums that tell the story of Alabama’s Black Belt – from its days as one of the richest areas in the nation to its role in social change. Much of Selma, a major Confederate munitions manufacturer during the Civil War, was burned in 1865 by Wilson’s Raiders, and the surviving war-era homes are waiting to be shared. A hundred years later, Selma became a center for the Civil Rights Movement, and today, the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Selma Interpretive Center (NPS) are popular tourist destinations. The Old Depot Museum also shares local Civil Rights history and relics of the Black Belt from the days of native Americans to industry, women’s suffrage, railroad years, a fire museum and antique agricultural implements. The museum has been renovated to show its layout during its days as an L&N Depot.

Afternoon pilgrims toured three homes in the nearby town of Orrville; The Molette House, a 200 year old gem that has been relocated twice, The Ben Ellis Dunaway House, a Greek Revival Mansion that once served as a school house, and Mooreland, an 1840’s Raised Greek Cottage beautifully adorned with period furnishings collected throughout the Black Belt area. Visitors were invited to enjoy lunch at The Orrville Farmers Market, a nicely renovated building erected in the early 1800’s. As an added bonus, pilgrims were encouraged to stop at nearby Old Cahawba, the site of Alabama’s first state capital. Today Cahawba is a vast archaeological site, full of mystery, picturesque ruins and natural wonders.

The Vaughan-Smitherman Museum served as ticket headquarters and the first stop on the tour. The three-story building has served as a girl’s school, courthouse, Confederate hospital and a local renowned hospital during the 20th Century. Its collections are a microcosm of Selma history. Sturdivant Hall is also a must see on the tour! It is an antebellum house museum furnished with lovely antiques true to the period. Visitors will feel as if they have gone back in time.

Other events included the Selma Art Guild show both days and the Alabama Plein Air Artists Show and Sale Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

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