About Landmarks of Dekalb County, Alabama
Landmarks of DeKalb County, Inc. was organized on August 4, 1969 as a private, non-profit 501c3 corporation. Landmarks’ was created for the purpose of sharing and preserving the history of the people and the places in Dekalb County, Alabama.
Landmarks’ issues publications, maintains interpretive exhibits, and conserves historical properties such as the Opera House, the old Cabin Fort Site, Wills Town Mission Cemetery, Wills Valley School, Richard C. Hunt Hall, the Hosiery Museum, & the Council Bluff School.
Some of our endeavors
The mission of the Landmarks Archives is to tell the story of the people and places in Dekalb County, Alabama, by acquiring and/or preserving records and artifacts of historical value and promoting a better understanding of our area. Materials to be considered for archiving might include original documents such as maps, grant deeds, photos of historical happenings or people instrumental in the development of the county. For info on submitting a document or artifact, call 256-845-6888.
Stage Events & Exhibits:
Performances, from high school plays to local musical talent to symphony orchestras are presented from the stage of the Fort Payne Opera House and special exhibits are held in the adjoining Hunt Hall. With community support, Dekalb Landmarks hopes to host these events for years to come.
Dekalb Landmarks assists in getting appropriate places in Dekalb County designated as historical sites and listed on the state and national registers of historical places.
From time to time Landmarks recognizes projects requiring immediate attention. Examples include our lead in the preservation of Woodland cemetary, dedicated in 1890. Through the efforts of Landmarks and the help of volunteers and a number of local organizations, this long neglected historic cemetery was saved. Gifted to the City of Fort Payne in 1998, it is listed on the Alabama Register of Historical Places.
More recently, an invaluable video series featuring the oral histories of many Dekalb County WWII veterans was created by Landmarks. The production was funded in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Through community sponsorships, the video sets are available in area schools and libraries.
The Opera House-Listed on the National Register of Historical Places and the National Register of 19th Century Theaters of America, the facility is the only opera house in the state still in use as a theater. Upkeep and maintenance on this beautiful building is always ongoing.
Richard C. Hunt Reception Hall-Part of the historic opera block, the hall is used for Landmarks board meetings, public events, and is rented for private functions. Several historical exhibits are on display inside. This building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fort Payne Hosiery Museum-Located next door to Hunt Hall, the museum houses exhibits from the industry’s beginnings through its zenith when Fort Payne was “The Sock Capital of the World”. Recently acquired by Dekalb Landmarks from the Hosiery Association, additional display materials and photographs are being sought. Call 256-845-6888 to schedule a tour or if you have hosiery mill memorabilia to donate or loan. This building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Council Bluff School-The last remaining one room schoolhouse in Dekalb County was built near the top of Sand Mountain in 1903. This charming structure is still used for occasional Dekalb Landmark’s functions and Sacred Harp singings. Upkeep and maintenance on this beautiful building is always ongoing.
Fort Payne Cabin Historic Site– This interesting site is associated with the Benge Detachment during the Cherokee Indian removal in Northeast Alabama. Located on local property confiscated by Federal troops for use during the Cherokee removal, the cabin is believed to have been built by John Huss, a Cherokee. The cabin itself was demolished in 1946 — it had stood approximately 125 years. All that remains of the cabin is a stone chimney, foundation, and evidence of a cellar. The site has been designated by the National Park Service as an official component of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
The Historic Willstown Mission & Cemetery-The Willstown Mission was established in 1823 to offer instruction in English, vocational arts and Christian religion to the Cherokees. The cemetery may predate the mission/school. A local legend claims that many Cherokee, including John Watts, the Chickamauga warrior, are buried here, but this has not been substantiated. The cemetery was also used as a flower garden by the missionaries. The Cemetery has been designated by the National Park Service as a historic site on the Trail of Tears and is open to the public.
Dekalb Landmarks print efforts to preserve our history include such popular publications as the four-volume WHO WAS WHO IN DEKALB COUNTY, the pictographic series of historic homes and buildings in our area and our most recent book, HONORING THEM- The History of World War II Veterans from Dekalb County, Alabama. Complete listing of publications here.
HOW CAN YOU HELP SAVE OUR HISTORY?
All accomplishments by Dekalb Landmarks are made possible through volunteer efforts and financial support of those interested in the preservation of history.
Help Landmarks preserve our history—Make a donation!
You can also donate to Landmarks by sending a check to: