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THE ALABAMA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

Historical Marker Program

Autauga County

A County Older Than the State-Autauga County

Created in 1818 by an act of Alabama Territorial Legislature. Autauga Indians lived on the creek from which the county takes its name. Autaugas were members of the Alibamo tribe. They sent many warriors to resist Andrew Jackson's invasion in the Creek War. This county was part of the territory ceded by the Creeks in the Treaty of Ft. Jackson in 1814. Prattville has been the county seat since 1868. Earlier seats include: Jackson's Mill, Washington, Kingston.
[1957: Autauga County Couthouse,W. 4th Street, Prattville. 32.46313 N   86.47478 W ]

Albert J. Pickett
(1810-1858)

Scholar, planter, and trader, Alabama's first historian lived on the plantation nearby. From traders and Indians he gathered materials for his authentic history of early Alabama and the Southeast.
[1952: 2902 AL Hwy 14 west of Autaugaville 32.43451 N   86.67924 W]

 

Alibamo Indians

Alabama was named for this tribe which lived along the Alabama River. About 1702 the French found them settled here. The Treaty of Ft. Jackson forced them to move east of the Coosa River in 1814.

 

Buena Vista
Montgomery-Janes-Wittaker Home

(circa 1830)

This antebellum plantation house was completed by Capt. William Montgomery, a contemporary of Prattville's founder, Daniel Pratt. This "Deep South" architecture reflects the Federal style with the later addition of a Colonial Revival facade that includes a portico with Ionic Columns and a cast ironwork balcony. Interesting features of this structure are the delicately crafted fanlights over the front entrance and in the gable ends. A circular staircase spiraling 24 feet highlights the interior along with the elaborate plaster cornice moldings and spectacular ceiling medallions.
The home is presently owned by the Union Camp Corporation and is maintained by the Autauga County Heritage Association. Buena Vista was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
[1998: County Road 4 between AL 14 and US Hwy 31/82 south of Prattville 32.42395 N   86.45169 W ]

 

Daniel Pratt Cemetery

Final resting place of early Alabama industrialist Daniel Pratt, 1799-1873, and wife Esther Ticknor Pratt, 1803-1875. He was from New Hampshire and she, Connecticut. Married 1827 at Fortville, Jones County, Georgia.
The former carpenter's apprentice practiced his craft in Milledgeville, GA, where he gained skill in building and design. In 1832 Pratt came to Alabama to build cotton gins. Ester encouraged Pratt to remain in Alabama in order for him to establish a manufacturing complex and the village of Prattville, founded 1839.
In 1847 Pratt was the recipient of the University of Alabama's first honorary degree. His design strongly influenced the 1851 rebuilding of the State Capitol. Pratt served as a legislator during the Civil War period.
Daniel Pratt Historic District
Listed on the National Register 1984. Marker placed by Historic Prattville Redevelopment Authority and Autauga County Heritage Association for the City of Prattville.

 

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George Cooke

Southern itinerant painter was born in Maryland in 1793; married Maria Heath of Virginia in 1815. His wide range of work included landscapes, portraits, and religious and historical subjects. Many of his works, including "Interior of St. Peter's- Rome," are owned by the University of Georgia.
Cooke studied in Europe, 1826-1831, where he met poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a lifelong friend. Cooke's 1849 death occurred in New Orleans, he was buried here near the Pratt gallery which has displayed his art as a tribute to his life and work.
[1994: Off Gin Shop Hill Road on the hill overlooking the old mill.32.45929 N  86.47894 W]

 

Doster Road Artesian Well House

Prattville is often referred to as “The Fountain City” for the numerous free-flowing artesian wells found here. A 1933 edition of the Prattville Progress noted that there were more than 400 of these artesian wells in Prattville and its immediate vicinity, some of which supplied the town's water system.
Although many of the wells have been capped, or ceased to flow when relocated, quite a few remain, including several public wells in the Daniel Pratt Historic District.
This one, over which a well house was erected in 2001 through a partnership with the Historic Prattville Redevelopment Authority and the City of Prattville, has long attracted those who enjoy its clear, sweet artesian water.
[2009: Doster Road at Mobile Street south of downtown Prattville.32.45146 N   86.46445 W]

 

Happy Hollow


Known as Fair Road, Sixth Street from Northington Street to the big curve was called “Happy Hollow.”  The road went to the Fair home place but also curved right, into Warren Circle.  Here stood a small frame church where the congregation’s enthusiastic preaching, singing, and shouting led to the name Happy Hollow Church.  Bethlehem Colored Methodist Episcopal was relocated in 1947 to Chestnut and Sixth, and renamed Bethlehem Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Within the Hollow the “Spring,” one of Prattville’s signature artesian wells, provided water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing before the city had a central water system.  The mail route ended at the home of Miss Molly Burt where all the neighbors picked up their mail.  These gathering places made for a close-knit community.

A traditional African American neighborhood, the Hollow was home for domestic workers, farm laborers, landowners and sharecroppers.  Descendants of these families became leaders in Prattville and beyond: educators, nurses, doctors, accountants, carpenters, armed forces and ministers.

Beloved as a place to grow up even in segregated times; black and white children could not go to school together but played together in the branch that runs the length of The Hollow. [2010: Prattville]


Indian Springs Post Office

Location of considerable community activity in the early nineteenth-century Autauga County.

Thomas Hill House
Site of first Court after Autauga became a County


Union Baptist Meeting House
1830s forerunner of First Baptist Church
The above sites were located within mile radius of this spot.
[1995: 879 Doster Road south of downtown Prattville. 32.43833 N   86.45847 W]

 

Line 32 28' North Latitude

Northern Boundary of: British West Florida, 1764-83; Spanish West Florida, 1783-95; Mississippi Territory, 1798-1804; Washington County, 1800-12; Clarke County, 1812-15. Southern Boundary of: British Illinois, 1764-83; United States, 1783-95. This line fixed in 1764 by the British king across present Alabama-Mississippi. France had ceded area to Britain in 1763.
[Before 1965: U.S. Hwy 82 near Booth]

 

Mulbry Grove Cottage McWilliams-Smith-Rice House

Built circa 1840s by A.K. McWilliams, this story and one-half Federal-style raised cottage with Greek Revival elements was the residence of Amos Smith, who named the town of Prattville.
Occupied for many years by George L. and Abbie Holt Smith, the house remained in the hands of their descendants until 1995. Charles Rice, a nephew by marriage of George and Abbie Smith's son, Frederick D. Smith, donated it to the Autauga County Heritage Association and the City of Prattville for use as a museum. This antebellum home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as inclusive in the Daniel Pratt Historic District.
[1995: 102 Main Street, Prattville 32.45956 N    86.47256 W ]

 

Old Autauga County Courthouse
1870

The county's third courthouse was used until 1906. George Littlefield Smith, an early citizen of Prattville, designed and built the Italianate-style structure. Earlier county seats were Washington, then Kingston.
[1995: Court Street at 3rd Street 32.46171 N    86.47535 W ]

 

Old Plank Road
Circa 1840's

The plank road was constructed of large pine logs, sawed lengthwise and laid round-side down. Daniel Pratt built the road for public benefit and to provide transportation from the Pratt Cotton Gin Factory to Washington on the Alabama River. Over four-miles long, the road cost between eight- and ten-thousand dollars to construct.
Cotton gins from Pratt's factory were shipped all over the globe. Under the name "Continental Eagle," this factory remains the largest cotton gin manufacturer in the world.
[2001: Maple Street at Fletcher Street in Prattville, 32.45766 N    86.47383 W]

 

Pratt Gin Factory

Once the world's largest plant manufacturing cotton gins. Founded 1833 by Daniel Pratt, the greatest industrialist of Alabama prior to 1860. Pratt's many industries were of great aid to Confederacy during Northern blockade.
[Before 1965: U.S. Hwy 31 at Prattmont]

 

Pratt Homesite
Circa 1842

Daniel Pratt, Prattville's founding father, constructed an imposing home and garden within a quarter-mile of this site on Autauga Creek, near his industrial complex. The large home was designed and erected by Pratt himself, a noted architect/builder.
The white frame house featured New England architectural elements characteristic of Pratt's style and incroporated a narrow, two-story portico and balcony. Pratt also added an art gallery to the home displaying paintings by George Cooke, a southern artist supported by Pratt.
The grape vineyard on the hillside behind the house provided wine for entertaining the Pratt home.
Erected during the 1999 Daniel Pratt "Alabama Year of Industry" Celebration in Honor of Daniel Pratt's 200th Birthday.
[1999: Bridge Street at Gin Shop Hill Road, Prattville 32.46039 N    86.47972 W ]

 

Prattville Male and Female Academy Site

The 1859 Italianate-style brick structure was built by Daniel Pratt. The bell which hung in the belfry above the second floor now may be seen in the school yard on Washington Street.
In April 1861 the Prattville Dragoons mustered here before departing for encampment and were presented a silk flag by the young women of the Academy.
In 1927 the original building was replaced by the present structure, one of several in Alabama built on the same plan. The architect is unknown but the design has been attributed to Frank Lockwood.

 

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Sidney Lanier
1842-1881

The poet and musician, born in Macon, Georgia, was Academy principal in 1867-68. He married Mary H. Day of Macon in December 1867. In Prattville, they lived at the Mims Hotel and later in Dr. S.P. Smith's home.
Following a brief legal career in Georgia, Lanier became first flutist in 1873 with the Peabody Orchestra in Baltimore and in 1879 was appointed as lecturer in English Literature at Johns Hopkins University.
He wrote the words for the American Centennial Cantata and his poetry includes, "The Marshes of Glynn" and "Song of the Chattahoochee." The poet's experiments with musical sound in verse were a significant literary contribution.
Lanier died at the age of 39 from the tuberculosis he had contracted as an imprisoned Confederate soldier during the Civil War. He was buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore.
[1997: Wetumpka Street near Washington Street in Prattville 32.46351 N    86.46857 W]

 

British West Florida, 1764-83

Colony's north boundary crossed present-day Alabama-Mississippi at this point on 32 28' by edict of the British king. Colony extended south to the Gulf. France had ceded area in 1763. Spain invaded and seized area in 1780. Britain ceded to Spain in 1783. Spain ceded part to U.S. in 1795.
[Before 1965: Ala. Hwy 14]

 

Wilson Pickett, Jr.
March 18, 1941 - January 19, 2006

A native of Prattville, Wilson Pickett was raised singing gospel in local churches. Upon moving to Detroit as a teenager, he began to blend gospel-style with rhythm and blues, resulting in some of “the deepest, funkiest soul music” to come from the Deep South.
In 1966, he began working with musicians in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and it was there that he cut some of his biggest hits, including “Land of a Thousand Dances,” “Mustang Sally” and “Funky Broadway.” During his career, he made more than 200 recordings, 50 of which made the rhythm and blues and pop charts. Called “The Wicked Pickett” because of his uninhibited style, raw energy and distinctive sound, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
[2009: 342 Chestnut Street in Prattville 32.45863 N    86.47298 W ]

 


Other Autauga County pages:

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http://www.archives.alabama.gov/aha/markers/autauga.html

Updated: December 2, 2012