Archived Story

Alabama History Room opens to public

Published 11:37am Friday, November 16, 2012

The unveiling of the Alabama History Room at the Adelia M. Russell Library Thursday was also marked by the retirement of librarian Judy Tidwell and assistant Joy Mathis.

Tidwell said the Alabama History Room is her last project after 23 years with the library.

“We left room for growth,” Tidwell said. “As history grows, there will be room to put more history in there.”

The public was invited to the Alabama History Room unveiling, which featured guest speaker Roy Mathis giving a history of Tallapoosa County. He shared many details of the county’s past, including the building and rebuilding of the courthouse, the county’s part in the Civil War, the reasons the county became divided and the “kudzu queen.”

“We brought kudzu into Alabama – Tallapoosa County did,” Mathis said. “And to promote planting the kudzu, they had a kudzu queen. And look at all that beautiful kudzu out there!”

The Alabama History was opened after Mathis’ talk, and attendees filtered in to see all its resources.

The jewel of the room is three terra cotta sculptures, housed in large display cases in the center of the room. The sculptures were created during the Great Depression as part of the Federal Art Project – a division of the New Deal. The sculptures, titled “Cotton, Tobacco and Wheat,” originally hung in the Alexander City Post Office from 1941 to 2006. After a brief stint at city hall, the sculptures were moved to the library in 2009.

The shelves contain books, memorabilia, artifacts and historical documents – all dealing with the history of Alabama.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Amy Huff, Dadeville Public Library librarian. “It’s a beautiful room, and I just think it’s so great to have all that history … It’s very educational, and it’s something that won’t be lost.”