Landmarks holds annual meeting

Guest speaker Charlie Rhodarmer of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum details the development and evolution of Sequoyah’s Cherokee Syllabary, which the legendary Cherokee leader completed while living in Willstown, the community that would become Fort Payne following the Trail of Tears.

Landmarks of DeKalb County held its annual meeting Sunday at the Fort Payne Opera House. Executive Director Jessica Harper-Brown detailed the organization’s activities over the past two years since the annual event did not happen in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

The highlights included bringing the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s fellowship company to perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, ongoing archiving of Landmarks collections, installing new signage at the 1903 Council Bluff School House and the “Old Council Tree”, partnering with the Little River Arts Council on virtual programming from the Opera House, hosting productions by the DeKalb County Fine Arts Theatre, spreading fresh gravel at the Fort Payne Cabin Historic Site. Some attractions had to partially shut public tours down due to the community spread of COVID-19, but Landmarks recently more than 500 trick-or-treaters at the Opera House on Halloween last month.

Harper-Brown noted the passing of Elizabeth “Lib” Howard, a Landmarks co-founder who contributed to its many books and publications before she passed away Oct. 29, 2020. Her final book, “Willstown”, will be published in the fall of 2022 after more research and verification are completed.

Landmarks received $22,500 in grants from the Alabama Humanities Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts and State of Alabama, made possible by the Alabama Coronavirus Relief Fund’s Revive Plus program and a COVID recovery grant of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. She said Landmarks has received a $25,000 grant from the Alabama Historical Commission to finish the rehabilitation of the Council Bluff School that was started in 2013. They hope to update the sound and lighting systems inside the Opera House to be able to host more venues there.

Harper-Brown said Landmarks is actively working to get new local sites added to the list of official Trail of Tears interpretive sites. Manitou Cave was recently added as another as Landmarks co-hosted an event to commemorate the Manitou Cave Association’s dedication event. Dr. P.B. Green’s home in Sulphur Springs was placed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Landmarks Vice President Kyle Burt greeted the crowd and handled the official business as a vote was taken to approve nominees for new board officers.

Guest speaker Charlie Rhodarmer of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum detailed efforts to preserve the bicentennial history of Sequoyah’s Cherokee Syllabary and the printing technology that enabled tribes to share information in their new language about the forced removal from native lands, as well as spread the gospel of Jesus Christ among the native Americans.

For more information about Landmarks, call Harper-Brown at (256) 845-6888, email or visit

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