TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — The city has a long list of historical connections.
Being the birthplace of Helen Keller, a stop along the Trail of Tears, and site of the first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains are among its storied history.
Mayor Kerry Underwood wants to make sure Tuscumbia retains and continues to learn additional information about its rich history.
“We are certainly a very historical city,” he said.
With that in mind, Underwood has reactivated the Tuscumbia Historical Preservation Commission. He announced the formation of the nine-member city commission this month.
He said the city had a commission in the past, but it became inactive.
Underwood believes the timing is good for reactivating the commission, especially with Tuscumbia being in the process of applying to become part of the Alabama Main Street program.
He said officials with the Alabama Historical Commission want to assist in getting the city commission on its feet.
“Alabama will send someone up for training to teach us what we can do and how we can do it,” Underwood said. “We hope to proceed in the next month or so. This was an active group at one point, and I want to bring it back.”
Underwood hopes the commission serves not only to create projects, but to help fund them.
“I believe this will help us get grant money by having the commission in place,” he said.
Commission members include Mary Beth Barnowsky, H. Stuart Chappell, Ronald Hudson, William T. Johnson, Lisa Graves Minor, Lisa Pace, Ninon Parker, Adina Joy Stone and Jackie C. Witt.
Barnowsky said she is excited about the group’s potential, and she was pleased to be among those appointed.
“I am thrilled, to say the least,” she said.
A Huntsville native, Barnowsky moved to the Shoals in 2004 to attend the University of North Alabama. She said she and her husband, Richard, have fallen in love with the area.
“If I have my way, I will live in Tuscumbia all my life,” she said. “Growing up, even though I’m not from here, Helen Keller was my idol.”
She said she always has placed an importance on historical structures and would like to help preservation efforts toward them.
“There are some older homes and buildings that need facelifts that would improve the way Tuscumbia looks, and maybe draw people here,” Barnowsky said.
Information from: TimesDaily, http://www.timesdaily.com/