Helena preservation group wants new members

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

HELENA — Calling all history buffs, especially those familiar with Helena. Members of the Helena Historic Preservation Committee are planning an event to recruit new members to the group.

A meeting will be held Feb. 16 at the Helena Museum at 2:30 p.m. The museum is located at 5260 Helena Road. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.

“New members are particularly needed to help document the stories of the senior members of our community, whom we are sadly losing daily,” said Committee president Jason Redd. “HHPC is contributing to an oral history project affiliated with the Library of Congress known as StoryCorps and we would love to have more members to collect these irreplaceable stories, among other opportunities.”

The HHPC’s mission is to research and preserve the rich history of Helena from its founding through the present day. Past activities of the group have included producing a map of historic Old Town and leading tours of the nearby turn-of-the-century coke ovens, which are among the earliest structures of their kind in Alabama (coke is a hard, porous fuel that has had most of its impurities removed and results from heating coal in the absence of air).

Hewy Woodman, a Helena City Councilmember who serves as a liaison between the Council and HHPC, said one goal is to build walking trails connecting different historic sites. Other future plans include the building of a Committee website to share photos, videos and stories; the collection of oral histories from local residents of all ages; and placement of additional historic markers.

“It’s always good to have new people come in with new ideas,” Woodman said.

Redd also added that members don’t need any qualifications other than an interest in local history, a commitment to attend monthly meetings, and the initiative to actively participate in Committee activities.

“Young adults and retirees are particularly encouraged to join the Committee,” Redd said.

For more information, visit the Helena Historic Preservation Committee’s Facebook page, email helenahistory@gmail.com or call 205-663-2161.