Pelham history to be preserved in pictorial book

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council approved a resolution to participate in the production and publication of a pictorial book depicting the city’s history at a meeting on Monday, Feb. 19.

The book, titled “Pelham Memories: A Pictorial History,” will be 128 pages and include more that 200 photographs going as far back as possible. The picture that will be on the cover of the book has also already been chose.

The city will contribute $4,000 toward the project that is spearheaded by Bobby Joe Seales, an ambassador for the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and the former president of the Shelby County Historical Society.

The resolution states that the city of Pelham will receive 12 hard copies of the book. In addition to receiving financial backing from the city, Seales is also seeking the support of Pelham City Schools and the county’s legislative delegates.

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said the book is needed because as older Pelham residents die, they take with them knowledge about the city’s history.

Seales has become known throughout Shelby County and Alabama for encouraging appreciation and the preservation of history. Under his leadership, the Shelby County Historical Society became the largest historical society in the state.

He has already published a pictorial history book for Alabaster and collaborated with the Shelby County Reporter on a pictorial book about Shelby County’s history in 2006.

“The Shelby County Reporter and Tim Prince inspired me,” Seales said. “If not that that experience helping him with the Shelby County book, I probably wouldn’t have done the Alabaster or the Pelham book.”

Now he is busy gathering photos to produce a book about Pelham. In addition to submitted photos, he will also use photos from his personal collection.

Seales said the Pelham book will not only be important to the city, but to the entire county because Pelham was first called Shelbyville and was the original county seat beginning in 1818. The county seat was moved to Columbiana in 1826.

“History never written is soon forgotten,” Seales said. “If we don’t record it now, it’ll be lost forever.”

The Pelham pictorial coincides with the 200th anniversary of Shelby County’s establishment, which took place on Feb. 7, 1818.

Seales said 1,000 copies of the book will hopefully be printed and released before Thanksgiving. Those who pre-order the book will receive $15 off. The regular cost of the book is $44.95.

Seales said he expects the book to sell out of books quickly.

Residents who have old Pelham photos they would like to share should contact Seales at bjseales@bellsouth.net.