A birthday 200 years in the making

By  | February 28, 2017 | Filed under: News

Artist Lyn Stone’s depiction of Fort Hampton, the U.S. military fort established near the Elk River to protect Chickasaws from early settlers who lived here illegally

ATHENS-A birthday so significant the party is going to last three years is kicking off Saturday, March 4, in Downtown Athens.


This is a birthday 200 years in the making.


As the State of Alabama kicks off three years of celebration of the state’s bicentennial, Limestone County will kick off its own bicentennial celebrations with a history program and special events around The Square. Athens State University Professor Harry Joiner will discuss the beginnings of Alabama, and Limestone County Archivist Rebekah Davis will talk about the people and places who made up Limestone County leading up to its establishment on Feb. 6, 1818.


The program will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the new Revival Center on Washington Street near

Rebekah Davis

Kreme Delite. Doors will open at 11 a.m. so attendees can browse the resource center presented by various local history groups. Throughout the day, downtown merchants will feature made in Alabama and made in Athens and Limestone County items.


With Limestone County’s establishment in February 1818, and the incorporation of Athens in November 1818, both entities are older than the state. According to Davis, on March 3, 1817, as officials gathered beside the Tombigbee River to declare Alabama a territory and St. Stephens its capital, business was already booming at the military fort, river ports, trading posts and taverns in what would soon become Limestone County.


During her presentation, Davis will share stories about the earliest days when the Chickasaw and the elk called this place, once named Elk County, their home. She will share stores from times when cotton barges floated down the Tennessee River from Limestone County ports, and when an enterprising businessman created an open-air bar from a split log and two barrels, and served his own brand of shine in gourds.


The Limestone County, Alabama, Bicentennial Committee is hosting the free event. Representatives from the county’s incorporated cities and other groups including Tourism comprise the committee. The committee is working to create and promote bicentennial events that will occur through 2019. Any group interested in incorporating the bicentennial into one of its annual events can contact Teresa Todd at 256-232-5411.


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