Taking stock

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buildings are seen around downtown Troy, Ala., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Chamber undertakes historic building inventory

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce is preparing for the future by preserving the past.

Kathy Sauer, Chamber president, said that it’s true that you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.

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“As we build for the future, it’s most important that we preserve the past and that’s what the Chamber wants to do,” Sauer said. “The Chamber is in the process of doing a baseline study of the buildings in Troy and a one-by-one designation and registration of the buildings in Brundidge for the Alabama Register of Historic Places.”

The Chamber is contacting the businesses in downtown Troy in an effort to collect as much information about the history of the buildings as possible.

“We are seeking information on the date of dedication, former owners and any anecdotal information possible,” Sauer said. “The baseline study will provide the information for future projects that need historical and/or architectural information on the buildings.”

For instance, Sauer said the Downtown Committee is considering the use of this information to develop a historic walking tour as another activity for visitors in the area.

“Inclusion on the Alabama Register of Historic Places is usually very flexible but the rules and guidelines for the National Register are much more specific,” Sauer said. “A building or site may be registered based on its architecture or the importance of what took place at that site.”

The Chamber recently completed an application the Johnston Mill in Brundidge to be included on the Alabama Register.

The Chamber has a satellite office in the Johnston Mill and, while there, Sauer was looking through Brundidge Historical Society scrapbooks. There she read that it had long been a idea to have the mill placed on the state’s historic register.

“The thought had been there, at least since 1996, we just started the process,” she said. “Although the mill is still a historic building, when making application for the Alabama Register, we were looking primarily at what took place there. It was the site of one of the earliest commercial peanut butter mills in the Southeast and helped sustain the Brundidge community during the Great Depression so it is significantly important to the town.”

Sauer said historic places and historic sites become drawing point for people who are interested in history, as well as saving a part of the community’s history.

“Our historic buildings show the pattern of our towns and cities, many of which were railroad towns that actually grew up around the railroads,” she said. “Troy was a railroad town but much of its growth was centered around the college.” What the results of the baseline study and the application to the state historical commission will be are yet to be seen. Sauer is optimistic that the seeds that have been planted with be fruitful and multiply. “Our hopes are that people who have any information about any of the buildings of historical interest, throughout the county, will share that information with us,” she said.