Walking the town

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Columbiana business and civic leaders will take visitors on a walking tour of Columbiana each Saturday from May 27 to July 1.

Begun by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, the Columbiana tour will include 24 sites covering the historic district and the newly renovated downtown.

Tour groups will gather at the Jeanette Niven House where each week a different civic club will host tour walkers, said Sonya Lefkovits, a longtime Columbiana merchant and tour organizer.

She said host clubs include the Novella Club, Culture Club, Vignette Club, Rotary Club, Merchants and Professionals Association and the Kiwanis Club.

Sites on this year tour will include:

– The downtown renovation project begun in 2004,

– The block of the Hotel Varner dating from 1907 (Rux Carter Insurance Agency).

– The Shelby County Reporter (established 1843) building (formerly a restaurant and furniture store build by K.E. McWilliams.

– Home of the Shelby Christian Fellowship Assembly of God.

– Alabama Power Company building built in 1993, the first business in the old residential district.

– First Baptist Church of Columbiana established in 1856.

– Buck Falkner Home built in 1895. This end of Main Street was called the Silk Stocking District.

– Columbiana United Methodist Church

(records date to 1843, moved to current location from Depot Street in 1950. New fellowship and education building added in 2003.

– Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, founded in 1982 by Karl C. Harrison and home of the largest collection of George Washington memorabilia outside of the Mount Vernon Museum.

– Mildred B. Harrison Regional Library. This building was dedicated in 1969.

– Shelby County Courthouse and War Memorial opened in 1906. The war memorial was dedicated in 1954.

– Gail&8217;s Florist site of The Columbiana Leader established in 1896.

– Busy Hands, site of Columbiana Drug Company owned by Dr. Lloyd Cole and noted for curbside service from the soda fountain.

– Dr. Stancil Handley building renovated in 1998.

– The Rufus Lester Block dating to 1907 were Bernie&8217;s is located. Lester was a farmer and merchant who carried groceries and farm supplies because he could not get them in Columbiana.

– The 1854 Shelby County Courthouse, home of the Shelby County Museum and Archives, as well as the Shelby County Historical Society founded in 1974. It was used as a boarding house, county offices and Columbiana city hall.

– Site of the Old Shelby County Jail, the old brick jail was torn down in 1962.

– Columbiana City Hall built in 1975.

– The Evan Major Jr. home, former home of druggist J.L. Davis (1930&8217;s).

– The Ross Walker Home, formerly old Methodist parsonage.

– The Lloyd Embrey Home, another old parsonage.

– The Dan Hedrick Home, former home of Shelby County Health Officer Frank Sloan.

– The Zack Kellis House, Chapman family home for many years.

According to Lefkovits, this year the tour will not enter the sites. And Mayor Allan Lowe, who will serve as one of the guides, said there was a legal hanging at the old jail. He said the tour should last between 1:15 and 1:45