There is a movement in Athens to preserve an important part of Limestone County history.
A site on Browns Ferry Road has been the location for a Civil War battle and a battle for equality. The project is well underway and is now looking for more funding.
Only a small part of the old Fort Henderson remains — a Union fort built in Athens during the Civil War from 1862 to 1865. About five percent of the fort remains, and historical monuments have fallen into disrepair, along with Trinity High School.
“There’s so much history for it to be preserved, for the first and only all-black school in Limestone County,” said Jimmy Gill, Athens City Council President.
The Fort Henderson/Trinity High School renovation project is a $2.6 million effort to make the former site a museum to chronicle Limestone County’s history through Antebellum times and through desegregation. It will show the life of slaves-turned-soldiers-turned-students, until the school closed amid desegregation in 1970.
“It’s so important to preserve history and it’s personal to me because that is the only school that I ever attended,” said Gill.
Much has already been done, including prepping the site, doing an archaeological survey, and completing the floor design. The Athens City Council helped by chipping in $10,000.
Ronnie Marks, Mayor of Athens
“It’s so important to look at anything regarding historical preservation,” said Mayor Ronnie Marks. “I think it’s real clear if you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going in the future.”
The Athens Limestone Community Association hopes to complete the project by 2015. The group is selling engraved bricks that will be included in the design to help raise funds.