A Past Remembered
ARAB, Ala. (WBRC) - In the late 1800′s, a pioneer named Stephen Tuttle Thompson founded a small community on Brindlee Mountain in North Alabama. He wanted to name the town after his son, A-rad. Unfortunately, when the request for a post office was finally granted, a clerical error designated the town as Arab.
They kept the spelling, but maintained the pronunciation, and today the Historic Village in Arab preserves this history of the town.
“There was a society that formed back in the 1980s, and it was just a group of citizens that came in. They didn’t know much about the history of Arab. The asked around. It seemed nobody knew much about the history of Arab. That’s just kind of where it started,” explains Village Director Katie Stapler. “They were able to put booths together that really stand out and really represent what was here. What was once Arab.”
Eric Hayes, Director of Arab Parks and Recreation adds, “It’s a hidden gem and I’ve seen several of these buildings be constructed here and brought in here, and it’s an asset to the community.”
“All of the rooms that we have here in the museum were once businesses here in Arab, and so we have doctor’s offices, our first pharmacy, our first doctor’s office, our first barber shop,” says Stapler. “We have the boarding house and then the Stagecoach Inn, so all these places, all these booths that we have here in the museum, they just represent local businesses that we once had here in Arab.”
There are numerous historic buildings in The Village, including an old schoolhouse, a church, grist mill, a working blacksmith shop, a country store and Stapler’s favorite is must-see. “There’s a house called The Boyd House and Miss Lola Boyd, she lived here in Arab all her life, 99 years, so we were able to get that. It was willed to The Village, and so we have her home. It’s a beautiful place, so personally that’s my favorite.”
And as the holidays approach, Hayes says Arab extends a special invitation. “This is our 27th Annual Christmas In The Park. We hang about two million lights here. There are activities in all the buildings for the kids to enjoy. So come out and enjoy that with us.”
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