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#SavingPlacesHsv to spotlight downtown for Preservation Month

Published on April 29, 2022

man stands while woman speaks at podium on rooftop

The evolution and history of downtown Huntsville’s commercial district will be on display this year as part of Historic Preservation Month, which begins May 1.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and City Preservation Planner Katie Stamps kicked off the monthlong observance Friday at 106 Jefferson, one of downtown Huntsville’s newest hotels. This year’s “Saving Places” campaign will include walking tours, videos and social media posts highlighting various downtown commercial gems.

“Historic Preservation Month is a time to celebrate the places that are meaningful to our community,” Mayor Battle said. “Growth has been a constant in the history of Huntsville, and we want to recognize the places that have been integral to that development and revitalization.”

District 4 Council Member Bill Kling and Dennis Madsen, Huntsville’s Manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning, joined Mayor Battle and Stamps for the news conference. Mary Beth Lewis, Director of Sales and Marketing for 106 Jefferson, also spoke about some of the hotel’s historic features.

Walking tours

As part of #SavingPlacesHsv, Stamps will lead free guided walking tours of downtown Huntsville at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 6 p.m. Friday, May 20. Tours will leave from the historic First National Bank Building on West Side Square.

Stamps said attendees will experience Huntsville’s downtown evolution from its earliest settlers to the Space Race and beyond.

“The City of Huntsville’s history began on the Courthouse Square when settler John Hunt first built his cabin on the bluff above the Big Spring,” she said. “Within a few blocks of that location, we can tell the history of Huntsville and envision its future.”

Points of interest

Featured commercial properties include the I. Schiffman Building, which has been owned and preserved by the Schiffman and Goldsmith families since 1905. Built in 1845 and renovated in 1895, the I. Schiffman Building is one of the most iconic commercial buildings on the Courthouse Square.

Other spots include the Clinton Row Shops & Downtown Storage and the former Yarborough Hotel, home to Downtown Huntsville, Inc.  Both locations illustrate the adaptive reuse of historic buildings in creative ways.

Other in-person events coinciding with Historic Preservation Month include:

  • Historic Huntsville Foundation’s historic marker unveiling honoring Dr. Frances Cabaniss Roberts at 11 a.m. Friday, May 6, at 603 Randolph Ave.
  • Five Points Porch Fest will be from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, May 7.
  • “Rooted in History: Women as Creators, Movers & Shakers” exhibit will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, at Harrison Brothers Hardware on the Square.

About Historic Preservation Month

Historic Preservation Month is celebrated nationally each May. Spearheaded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the observance seeks to heighten awareness of the wonderful buildings and places that are part of our shared history.

The National Trust shares historic preservation content each year during a monthlong campaign to inspire discussions about preservation, why it’s important and how you can get involved. The campaign further encourages people to share the historic places and spaces that are meaningful to them through social media.

Join the conversation

Participate by sharing photos and videos on social using the hashtag #SavingPlacesHsv. Learn more by following the hashtag #SavingPlacesHsv and visiting the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission’s Facebook and Instagram.