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Fort Henderson renovation efforts underway in Limestone County

ATHENS, Ala. - A historic plot of land in Limestone County holds a centuries-old past and an organization hopes to give it a face lift to bring its story and its connections to life.

We spoke to an Athens-Limestone Community Association board member who tells us  Fort Henderson built during the civil war.

"This was built by former slaves who had left nearby plantations and were fighting for their freedom," said Rebekah Davis.

One of those former slaves has a famous descendant.

"Meghan Markle, who is now married to Prince Harry, her great-great-great-great-grandfather, Joseph Best was a slave in Gurley. He left the plantation and enlisted here in August of 1864. One month later the Confederate troops came through and the battle of Athens took place right here," said Davis.

Since the completion of the center, the Athens Limestone Community Association turns their attention to the next project, turning the grounds into a memorial park.

"That would include what you include here, green spaces, a walking trail around the whole thing, but it would trace the outline of the former fort," stated Davis.

The hope is that with the renovation, it'll give people to enjoy a beautiful day like this one and learn about Athens history.

"The stories have always been here," explained Davis.

The ALCA hopes to tell the stories with the help of a grant. You never know, Athens may even get a special visit.

"One of our board members recently went on vacation to England and ended up meeting a director of historic preservation, and told him the story. He said 'hey you get that fort done, we'll get Harry and Meghan over there to visit it.' So, you know, we'll see," stated Davis.

The Athens Limestone Community Association is asking the city and county for 20 percent matching funds to get a grant to create the memorial park.