Shelby County will celebrate its 193rd birthday Feb. 6

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Historical Society is gearing up for the county’s 193rd birthday.

Bobby Joe Seales, the historical society’s president, reminisced about the success of last year, and spoke enthusiastically about the agenda for the celebration.

“Last year, we started our first birthday celebration, and it was a great response. Every year until 2018, we’ll have a Shelby County birthday celebration,” Seales said. “And then we’ll be working up to the 2019 birthday celebration for the state of Alabama, in which the state will be 200 years old.”

On behalf of the county’s birthday, which is on Sunday, Feb. 6 from 2-3:15 p.m., Alabama Governor Robert Bentley will make a trip to his county of heritage.

Bentley’s nephew, David Nolen, first vice president of the Shelby County Historic Society, will present Bentley a Pioneer Certificate announcing his Shelby County roots date prior to 1830.

“Even though we’re celebrating Shelby County’s birthday, we’re celebrating because Dr. Bentley is the only governor who is a native of Shelby County and a native of Columbiana,” Seales said. “This is the first governor who was born and raised in Shelby County.”

In celebration of the event, Main Street will be closed in order for the Shelby County High School Symphonic Band to play a mini-concert from 1:30-1:45 p.m., if weather permits.

The Shelby County Historical Society has another honor for Bentley planned.

“We’ll be celebrating the 193rd birthday of Shelby County, and the city of Columbiana is proclaiming Feb. 6, 2011 as Robert J. Bentley Day,” Seales said. “I’m planning on doing a banner to put on the front of the building.”

An original 1818 penny will be given away as a door prize during the event. Seales said they’re using an 1818 penny because it was minted the year Shelby County was created.

“If a man had an 1818 penny back around that time, he was a wealthy person,” Seales said.

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the museum with expert guides.

“We’re going to let the people greet Dr. Bentley and tour the museum. We have our officers of the board of directors, and they will be the tour guides that day for groups that come through. It’ll be open for everyone to tour,” Seales said.

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman will have the opportunity to speak during the celebration.

“Beth is very involved in Shelby County. She’s involved in organizations here in Shelby County, even though she lives in Birmingham,” Seales said. “She’ll add those hilarious comments before Dr. Bentley gets up there.”