The Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society was formed in 1971 after losing the Wilby Theater, the Gill House and the Hotel Albert. Replacing this block with City Hall, the Convention Center and the Selma-Dallas County Public Library did not compensate for the loss of these irreplaceable historical treasures.
With no funding except for annual dues, we started Riverfront Market to call attention to the antebellum buildings on Water Avenue. Carol and Sam Sommers were responsible for its placement on the National Register of Historic Places and it became our first Historic District. We started, and still present, the annual Historic Selma Pilgrimage as a fundraiser.
We moved the Riggs-Morgan Doctor’s office, where the Alabama Medical Association had its beginning, to a vacant lot given to us by the City of Selma after it was threatened with demolition. This later became Heritage Village which now boasts an antebellum lawyer’s office, a servant’s house, a dove cote and the Gillis House, an antebellum dwelling that was also threatened with demolition.
The donation of “Miss Minnie Sue’s Cottage” to SDCHPS in Chris Vaughan’s will completes the outdoor museum which is a jewel of extreme historical and architectural importance. We did the survey work and nominated the Riverview and Ice House Districts to the National Register, making our three contiguous historic districts the largest in Alabama. The Kenan family gave us Kenan’s Mill in order that it be preserved for posterity and opened periodically to the public.
All of these properties require maintenance and upkeep and we face significant new challenges in the coming years. We bought the First YMCA building on Broad Street and mothballed it to stop its demolition and we have committed to replacing the roof on Tremont School which is the old Selma High School.
To preserve, protect and restore Selma and Dallas County’s past by supporting educational, entertaining, and constructive methods of displaying, preserving, protecting, and restoring historic structures and locales in and around the Selma and Dallas County area. PRESERVE, PROTECT, RESTORE.
The Bylaws of the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society (1995 Revision)