December 6, 1816 and 1866
Dec. 6 brought us the incorporations of Montgomery County in 1816 and Cleburne County in 1866.
Montgomery County was created prior to Alabama statehood by the Mississippi Territorial Legislature. It was named after Maj. Lemuel Montgomery, the first American soldier killed at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Originally part of Monroe County, Montgomery County still covered most of what is now central Alabama. Later subdivisions of Montgomery County gave us Bullock, Crenshaw and Elmore Counties.
Cleburne County was created by the Alabama legislature in 1866, taking portions of what were then Calhoun, Randolph and Talladega counties. By then, the area had already experienced a boom and a bust. Population swelled in the 1830s with the discovery of gold in shallow streams in the southern part of the county. The growth didn’t last, as the California gold rush of 1849 attracted the attention of miners.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama’s articles about Montgomery and Cleburne counties.
The Montgomery County Courthouse, called the Phelps-Price Judicial Center, is located in the county seat of Montgomery. It was constructed in 1987 in the Art Deco style. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo by Chris Pruitt)
Lake at the base of Cheaha Mountain, 2007. (Amann09, Wikipedia)
Cleburne County courthouse in Heflin, 2012. (Rivers Langley, SaveRivers, Wikipedia)
Bunker Tower, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, sits atop Cheaha Mountain in Cheaha State Park, set amid the Talladega National Forest in Cleburne County. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Kim Nix)
Alabama’s State Capitol, in Montgomery. The building houses the offices of the governor and other members of the executive branch and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Tourism Department)
Talladega National Forest in Alabama covers 375,000 acres and is divided into three ranger districts. Its geography includes upland hills and low mountains, and the area offers opportunities for camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing, and hunting. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Tourism Department)
The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) in Montgomery was founded in 1901 by historian Thomas M. Owen to document and preserve the state’s records and artifacts. ADAH was the first publicly funded and independent archives and history in the United States. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Donnie Shackleford)
Shoal Creek Church is located in Talladega National Forest near Edwardsville, Cleburne County. It was built in 1895 as a Baptist house of worship and fell into disuse by 1914. It is currently an event center and hosts Edwardsville’s annual Sacred Harp Singing each April. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo by Rivers Langley)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.