THE COLLEGE CITY
Perry County is located in the west-central part of the state, and is part of Alabama’s Black Belt region. Perry County’s most cultural accomplishment is the establishment of institutions of higher learning. Alabama’s only college for women, Judson College was established in 1838. Marion Military Institute, the nation’s oldest military junior college was established in 1842 and originally operated as Howard College (now Samford University). Lincoln Normal School founded in 1867 by freed slaves, was one of the first institutions established for the education of African American children after the Civil War. The normal department moved to Montgomery and became Alabama State University while the primary department remained in Marion and operated until 1970.
Judson College, a private, undergraduate institution committed to academic excellence in the arts, sciences, and professional studies, offers distinguished student-centered academic programs in a residential, single-gender setting and through distance education to both genders. As a caring, collegiate community related to the Alabama Baptist Convention, Judson College is dedicated to maturing its students into well-adjusted and productive citizens through the transmission of knowledge, the refinement of intellect, the nurturing of faith, the promotion of service, and the development of character. Please visit our website through the image above or the link below.
MARION MILITARY INSTITUTE
Marion Military Institute, a two-year public institution of higher learning, educates and develops cadets as future leaders through an immersive experiential military environment which integrates intellectual, leadership, character and physical development in order to prepare them for success in four-year colleges, U.S. service academies, and in military and civilian careers. Please visit our website through the image above or the link below.
Explore Southern history on the map to your left, or click over to the next tab to locate dining, accommodations, and more!
Historical buildings, many of which date back to 1850 or earlier, are marked in blue. Museums are marked in yellow, and sites from Marion’s rich history with the Civil Rights Movement are marked in red.
HISTORICAL HOTSPOTS A-Z
Alabama Baptist Building – 500 Bibb Street, Marion AL 36756. Built as an office building in early 1832, it was later used as a printing office for The Alabama Baptist newspaper. Now located on the campus of Judson College.
Alabama Military Hall of Honor Museum – 401 Polk Street, Marion AL 36756. Formerly City Hall and built in 1832, it was moved to the Marion Military Institute campus. In 1988 it became the Alabama Military Hall of Honor Museum, honoring our state’s military heroes with portrait plaques of inductees and military artifacts. Open by appointment. Phone: (334) 683-2306.
Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame – 304 Bibb Street, Marion AL 36756. The Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame establishes a permanent place of honor for Alabama’s most outstanding women, including Helen Adams Keller, Julia Strudwick Tutwiler, and Tallulah Bankhead. Open M-F. Phone: (334) 683-5100. Website: www.awhf.org.
Carlisle Hall – 279 Highway 14, Marion AL 36756. Featuring a 4-story tower, this house was designed by well known architect Richard Upjohn. It was completed in 1860, is one of the best examples of Italian Villa style in Alabama, and is designated as a national landmark. Closed to public.
Confederate Cemetery at Saint Wilfred’s Episcopal Church – 104 Clements St, Marion AL 36756. During the Civil War, Breckinridge Military Hospital was established at Howard College in Marion (now the campus of Marion Military Institute). Soldiers who died at the hospital were first buried behind the campus. In 1872, the Ladies Memorial Association of Marion had the remains of the 77 soldiers exhumed and re-interred in St. Wilfrid’s Cemetery located behind St. Wilfrid’s Episcopal Church. A redwood tree was planted as a living memorial to the fallen soldiers.
Coretta Scott King’s Childhood Home – Near Mt. Tabor Church (8747 Martin Luther King, Marion AL 36756). The family home of Dr. Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta. Today, there is an 8-foot bronze statue located next door in front of the Mt. Tabor Church honoring Mrs. King. Drive by only.
Female Seminary – 200 Monroe Street, Marion AL 36756. The female seminary was built in1850 to house a school for girls, which had been established in1836. It was here that faculty member Nicola Marschall, an art teacher and native of St. Windel, Prussia, designed the first Confederate Stars and Bars flag and the Confederate uniform. Open by appointment. Phone: (334) 526-306.
First Congregational Church – 601 Clay Street, Marion AL 36756. This church congregation was established in 1869 at the Lincoln School by freed slaves and representatives of the American Missionary Association. The church building was completed in 1871. It is the oldest and most unaltered of the churches built by African-Americans in Marion.
Founding Site for Judson College’s Howard College – 601 Smith Street, Marion AL 36756. Purchased on January 4,1839 by Judson, the house had two small wings that served as the college’s first campus. Judson opened on January 7, 1839 and Howard began at the same location in 1842.
Governor’s House – 508 Green Street, Marion AL 36756. This house, built in the 1830’s, was the home of Alabama’s First Civil War Governor, Andrew Barry Moore. It is located on the north side of Green Street approximately 0.6 mile west of the Perry County Courthouse. This is a private residence – drive by only.
Gravesite of Idella Jones Childs – Located in Marion Cemetery. Idella Childs was an educator and promoter of the arts, dedicated to preserving the legacy of Lincoln School.
Gravesite of Jimmy Lee Jackson – GPS Coordinates: 32.658131, -87.313601. Jimmy Lee Jackson was a victim of the civil rights struggle of the 60s. His death incited the community and was a catalyst for the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil rights March.
Harry the Slave’s Gravesite – Located in Marion Cemetery. A servant to the president of Howard College (now Samford University), Harry gave his life saving students in an 1854 dormitory fire on the Howard Camus. There is a monument in his honor in Marion City Cemetery.
Heard Cemetery – Highway 183, Marion AL 36756. The Old Heard Family Cemetery has four old grave markers remaining, which date from the early 1800’s with the last one being about the time of the Civil War. There are also some unmarked graves that are well-documented by deaths records in Bibles and oral family history. These match with about a dozen sunken grave sites in the cemetery. This cemetery was started by the pioneer families of Perry County, AL.
Historic Downtown Marion – Incorporated in 1819, this historic district is the core of county government and community life. Its 19th and early 20th century buildings continue to be occupied and used.
Idella Jones Childs Home – 1006 Washington Street, Marion AL 36756. Idella Childs, mother of Jean Childs Young, was an activist in arts, education, politics, and the Lincoln Alumni Association. President Jimmy Carter appointed her Chairperson of the International Year of the Child. Drive by only.
Judson College Campus – 302 Bibb Street, Marion AL 36756. Since 1838, Judson College has served as a Christian educational institution for women. It is a four year liberal arts college and the nation’s fifth oldest college for women. Phone: (800) 447-9472. Website: http://www.judson.edu/
Lincoln Normal School Campus and Museum – 216 Lincoln Street, Marion AL 36756. Established in 1867 by former slaves, Phillips Memorial Auditorium stands on the original campus site and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Alabama State University traces its roots to this institution. Open by Appointment. Phone: (334) 526-3061.
Lockett-Martin House – 211 West Lafayette Street, Marion AL 36756. This house was built in the early 1840s as the home of Napoleon Lockett and his wife, Mary. Mrs. Lockett is credited for the creation of the first Confederate flag. She appealed to a friend, Nichola Marshall, a noted artist and instructor employed by the Marion Female Seminary, to design a flag for the Confederacy. This is a private residence – drive by only.
Marion Cemetery – With the exact founding date being unknown, this graveyard stretches at least back to the 1820s with the oldest marker showing a death in 1821.
Marion Military Institute Campus – 1101 Washington Street, Marino AL 36756. Founded by Alabama Baptists as Howard College, now Samford University, in 1842 as an all-male school. It became Marion Military Institute in 1888. Several buildings predate 1861. Female and male cadets now attend the school. Phone: (800) 664-1842. Website: www.marionmilitary.edu
Marion Railway Depot – 1293 Washington Street, Marion AL 36756. Built in 1907 to replace the frame depot building, which was destroyed by fire. Phone: (334) 526-3061.
Moore-Web-Holmes Plantation – Highway 14, Marion AL 36756. This plantation has continued to operate since it was established by William Moore in 1835. Many of its original service buildings remain. Open by appointment. Phone: (205) 292-6356.
Perry Lakes Park – AL-175 Marion, AL 36756. Perry Lakes Park contains four oxbow lakes, formed when the Cahaba River changed its course about 150 years ago. Foot trails traverse the park’s mature hardwood forests and swampy lowlands. The park contains several unique features that were designed and constructed by architecture students from Auburn University’s Rural Studio.
Reverie – 199 West Lafayette Street, Marion AL 36756. Contact Ann Price: (334) 683-6320. Open by Appointment. Reverie is believed to have been built in 1858 and serves as a house museum for the Marion community. It houses an exemplary collection of Empire Period furnishings.
Site of Jimmy Lee Jackson’s Shooting – Near Zion Methodist Church (301 Pickens St, Marion AL 36756). It was at this location that Jimmy Lee Jackson was shot by an Alabama state trooper.
Smith Building Art Gallery – Contact Ann Price: (334) 683-6320. Open by Appointment. Built in 1880, the Smith Building served Marion as a store for many years and now houses a photography exhibit on Alabama’s Black Belt by well known photographer, Chip Cooper. Open by Appointment only.
Sprott Store – Seven miles east of Marion, AL at the intersection of Highways 14 and 183. This small store contained the post office that served the Sprott, AL community for over 100 years – from 1881 until it was closed in 1993. The post office shared the building with L. B. Sprott General Merchandise. In 1941, Walker Evans and James Agee published the powerful documentary on Alabama sharecroppers, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”, which included a photograph of the post office that was taken by Walker Evans in 1935-1936. The book became famous as a symbol of the Depression Age South. Today, the photograph is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Tribute to Albert Turner, Sr. – Near Perry County Jail (202 Pickens St, Marion, AL 36756). This panel is one of three dedicated to Civil Rights activist, Albert Turner. Mr. Turner was a leader in the civil rights movement of the Sixties and an ally of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Twin Magnolias – 304 West Green Street, Marion AL 36756. “Twin Magnolias”, also referred to as the Myatt-Hancock house, is thought to have been built around 1845. It originally had a Greek Revival style construction. Victorian features were added ca. 1890. The house is a two-story frame dwelling with a five bay façade. It gets its name from two large magnolias located in the front yard. This is a private residence – drive by only.