Antebellum Alabama is on display in Eufaula for annual Pilgrimage this weekend

Antebellum Alabama is on display in Eufaula for annual Pilgrimage this weekend
The Eufaula Pilgrimage features a number of classic Alabama homes like the Shorter Mansion. (contributed)

The state’s oldest tour of homes is April 5-7, when Eufaula hosts its 54th Annual Pilgrimage.

Eufaula, in southeast Alabama, boasts more than 700 structures listed on the National Historic Register. The city’s main street, Eufaula Avenue, lined with dogwood, magnolias and oaks, is flanked by antebellum mansions that “rise like ornate wedding cakes,” as described by Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell, author of “The Best of Alabama.”

Visitors to this year’s event will have the opportunity to tour 11 of these majestic homes, including the grand dame of them all, Shorter Mansion, and the notable Couric-Smith home, which housed ancestors of journalist Katie Couric. Couric visited her ancestral home several years ago during an NBC special tracing her roots. Her great-great-grandfather moved into the home after immigrating to Eufaula from France as a stowaway. Shorter Mansion was built in 1884 by Eli Sims Shorter II, a wealthy cotton planter, and his wife, a Georgia-born heiress to the SSS Tonic fortune.

The homes, each with a story to tell, were built by 19th-century planters and merchants and still house period heirlooms and family treasures. Most of the homes are private residences, open only during the annual Pilgrimage. Visitors can enjoy tours by daylight and candlelight.

The homes are not the only thing to enjoy at this historic event. Visitors can have afternoon tea on the front porch of Shorter Mansion and attend the Art Show and Sale sponsored by the Eufaula Art Scene.

The Wax Museum and Photo Exhibit will be at the Eufaula Carnegie Library. Visitors may tour the historic facility, which is one of two Carnegie libraries still operating in Alabama.

Tickets are also available for the Eufaula Pilgrimage Luncheon, where style coach Megan Larussa will present “Simple Ways to Dress with Ease.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website or call 888-383-2852. Complimentary admission to tour homes is available to active or retired military with identification and to children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult.

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