HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Historic Huntsville Foundation brought together the community to celebrate a piece of recently uncovered local history, now gaining the attention of a national historic network.
Harrison Brothers Hardware located in downtown Huntsville has been added to the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network, an organization seeking to connect people with the stories of the era following the Civil War.
“Every hometown has those people who contributed to our national story,” said Nathan Betcher, a historian with the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network. “All of these people are dedicated to preserving and amplifying these stories of perseverance and struggle and self-determination on a nationwide scale.”
Daniel Henderson built the Harrison Brother structure. Henderson was the owner of a business started by his father Henderson.
“Henderson Brandon was enslaved,” said Historic Huntsville Foundation Executive Director Donna Castellano. “After he became free, he used his skills as a brick mason to establish a small family business where he made bricks off of Holmes Avenue.”
Brick by brick, the Brandons built a thriving black-owned business in the Reconstruction South. The Historic Huntsville Foundation has identified 15 structures built by the Brandons. Five of those buildings still stand.
“It’s our duty to protect the history and protect those who made it and recognize them as such,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Mac McCutcheon.
The newly minted Historic Huntsville Museum located at Harrison Brothers Hardware is one of two locations in Alabama to be added to the network. The other is located at the Tuskegee Institute.