Contact: Linda Derry Start: May 2, 1999
Old Cahawba Archaeological Park Stop: May 9, 1999
9518 Cahaba Road, Orrville, AL 36767 Phone: 334/875-2529
Non-Profit Tax Exemption # xx-xxxx-xxx
Historic Family Helps Save Former State Capital: Grand Celebration Planned for May 8.
The 20th Annual Old Cahawba Festival will be held Saturday, May 8th, and this year, the friends of Alabama’s most famous ghost town really have something to celebrate. A generous donation has been made that will help save the site Alabama’s first state capital (1820-1826).
The Alabama Historical Commission recently acknowledged a gift of $70,000 from Daniel J. Meador. The gift was made through the Archaeological Conservancey, a non-profit foundation. Alan Gruber, the Southeastern Director of the Archaeological Conservancy announced that a portion of the gift has already purchased 25 acres of land at Old Cahawba. A contract has also been signed for additional acreage. The area to be purchased contains buried remains of the old town site, picturesque ruins, and the last two remaining historic structures still standing at Cahawba.
The donor, Daniel J. Meador, is a James Monroe Professor of Law emeritus at theUniversity of Virginia School of Law, and was once the dean of the Law School at the University of Alabama. His grandfather Clifton Kirkpatrick was born in Cahawba during the Civil War. When the town was suddenly abandoned by most of its residents after the war, the Kirkpatrick family remained in Cahawba. They consolidated the abandoned remains of the old town site into a large farm called “Kirk-View.” For many years Clifton Kirkpatrick served as unofficial tour guide to the historic ruins at Cahawba, often hosting visitors at his home with warm-hearted hospitality. Over the years, he became known as the “Duke of Cahawba.” Clifton Kirkpatrick served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1927 until his death in 1930. His family moved away from Cahawba ten years later.
When asked about the donation, the site director at Old Cahawba, Linda Derry said “ We are very happy about this generous donation and hope that everyone will celebrate with us at the 20th annual Old Cahwba Festival next Saturday, May 8th. In addition to the usual festival fun, we will be unveiling new interpretive signs and a brochure about the Kirkpatrick family. The story of the Kirkpatricks will also be incorporated into a special ‘Ghost Tour’ in Cahawba’s historic town cemetery during the festival.” Story-teller Kathryn Tucker Windham will be on hand to help celebrate the good news. She will be telling her spine chilling tales on stage at 11:45 am and 3 pm. Over 100 art and craft vendors are expected , and toe-tappin’ entertainment will last all day. Children’s activities will be highlighted throughout the day.
Old Cahawba is located in Dallas County just 15 miles west of Selma on Highway 22. The gate opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm. The entrance fee is just $4 for an entire carload of people. For more information call the Cahawba Park, 334/872-8058.