Harpersville tour highlights history

Published 3:10 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mayor Theoangelo Perkins and the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce are betting history buffs and curious minds alike will enjoy a free “Historic Tour of Harpersville.”

The tour bus leaves today at 5:30 p.m. from Morgan Creek Winery, and Perkins will serve as the tour guide. The tour is expected to last one hour.

“We’re going to go to several sites in town that have some historical significance,” Perkins said. “When we did the tour last year, a lot of people said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that.'”

Now in its second year, the tour will make stops at Old Baker’s Farm, the Harpersville Garden of Memories, also known as Old Harpersville Cemetery, and several historic homes.

During the tour, Perkins will share anecdotes about a few of Harpersville’s most notable citizens. Among the notables are William J. Simmons, founder of the second Ku Klux Klan in 1915, and Henry B. Wathal, a stage and silent film actor in Hollywood.

Perkins and Stacy Walkup, executive director of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, are confident the tour will become a tradition.

“We always have people stop by to ask what the historic sites are,” Perkins said. “We’re hoping to make (the tour) an ongoing thing, and plan for specific groups in the future.”

Walkup, who participated in the tour last year, said tourists are in for an interesting and educational experience.

“Harpersville is full of rich history, and there are a lot of spots on the tour that we didn’t know about,” Walkup said. “It’s really nice to partner with Harpersville and invite people to learn more about Harpersville.”

For more information, call 672-9961.