Helena recognizes Historic Preservation Committee members

Published 3:21 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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HELENA – At a regularly scheduled city council meeting on March 11, Helena took the time to recognize members of the Helena Historic Preservation Committee, including Ken Penhale, Linda Wurstner and Kara Barr, for their contribution to celebrating and preserving the storied history of Helena.

“We are very fortunate in Helena to have such a strong organization in charge of preserving Helena’s history,” Councilmember Hewy Woodman said. “Today, we want to recognize the longest serving members of the committee. They have served for a decade as volunteers to protect and preserve Helena history.”

The three members of the Helena Historic Preservation Committee recognized were Ken Penhale, Kara Barr and Linda Wurstner.

Councilmember Chris VanCleave joined Woodman in thanking these three long-serving volunteers.

“I just want to thank you all so much for your service, for caring enough about the town that you live in to preserve its history,” VanCleave said. “Ultimately, it’s the story of all our lives. I just wanted to say that I appreciate your efforts.”

Council President Alice Lobell echoed these sentiments.

“Helena could not function without all of the volunteers and we really appreciate it,” Lobell said.

In preparation for Helena’s Founder’s Day on April 20, the Council shared a little bit about Helena’s history to celebrate the common ties that bind them all together, including the story of how Helena got its name.

“A lot of cities are named after generals or the richest person in town,” Woodman said. “Helena is one of those few cities in Alabama that is actually named after a love story.”

According to Woodman, in 1863, a young engineer named Peter Boyle met and fell in love with a woman named Helen Lee. Two years later, he named a train station depot after her, eventually giving the town the name Helena. 2024 marks the 159th year of the name of Helena being used.

“Since then, we’ve been burned from Wilson’s Raiders, we’ve been flooded, we’ve had the town destroyed by tornadoes, but each time we’ve come back and reinvented ourselves,” Woodman said. “As we move into Helena history month, I want to remind everyone of our history. We are looking forward to what we can become in the future.”


In addition, the Helena City Council approved the following items on the agenda during the meeting:

-ABC License- Jose Cerrillo/Rafael Miranda-LOS ARCOS-425 Helena Marketplace-020-RESTAURANT RETAIL LIQUOR

-Ordinance 978-2024A-Southcrest Baptist Church-4317 South Shades Crest Road

-Ordinance 979-2024A- Thomas S Jones Jr and Linda T Jones-4334 Tishberry Trl

Ordinance 980-2024A- Thomas S Jones Jr and Linda T Jones-4335 Tishberry Trl

-Ordinance 981-2024A- Thomas S Jones Jr and Linda T Jones-4421 Jones Rd SW

-Ordinance 982-2024A- Thomas S Jones Jr and Linda T Jones-4375 Jones Rd SW

-Ordinance 983-2024A- Thomas S Jones Jr and Linda T Jones-8910 Bluff Ridge Road

-Ordinance 984-2024A- Thomas S Jones Jr and Linda T Jones-4441 Eaglewood Drive