Shelby County celebrates 196 years on Feb. 2

Bobby Joe Seales addresses the crowd at the Old Courthouse in Columbiana during the Shelby County birthday celebration. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Bobby Joe Seales addresses the crowd at the Old Courthouse in Columbiana during the Shelby County birthday celebration. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON/For the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Historical Society will host a celebration in honor of the 196th anniversary of Shelby County’s founding on Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at the Shelby County Museum and Archives in downtown Columbiana.

The Shelby County Historical Society hosts an anniversary celebration for the county each year. Beginning in 2012, the celebrations have corresponded with “Becoming Alabama,” a statewide partnership launched by the Alabama Department of Archives and History to promote the state’s upcoming 200th anniversary.

Since 2012, the Shelby County anniversary programs have focused on three major periods in Alabama history, according to a news release from Shelby County Historical Society President Bobby Joe Seales. In 2012-2013, the program focused on the Creek War. In 2014-2015, it will focus on the Civil War, and in 2016-2017 the Civil Rights Movement. The 2018 program will celebrate the county’s bicentennial, while the 2019 program will celebrate the state’s bicentennial.

Dollar Bill Lawson, a Birmingham-based radio host, will serve as master of ceremonies. Capt. Chris George of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will give the opening prayer, and Robert Robinson Jr. of the Opera Birmingham Chorus will provide special music.

David Tyrone Crowley will portray President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America during his inaugural speech in Montgomery Feb. 18, 1861. Special guests include Lonnie Burnett, current vice president of the Alabama Historical Association, and Civil War re-enactors. Free souvenirs and special door prizes will be given out, including an original 1818 one cent penny, an original Alabama Confederate paper money, bicycle and more.

The Shelby County Historical Society will also celebrate its 40th anniversary during the program. The non-profit organization focuses on preserving items related to Shelby County’s history, as well as promotion and sponsorship of historical research and the presentation of educational programs about the county.