Fort Payne’s Bicentennial timeline

Some of you may have seen our freshly constructed Fort Payne historic timeline on the side of the little gray building at the corner of Gault and 5th St.

The project itself goes back to 2018 when the city of Fort Payne received a grant to participate in making a permanent publicly visible piece for the celebration of the Alabama Bicentennial in 2019.

To do this project, a local Bicentennial committee was formed to decide what to do. The committee met for several months to decide what the project would consist of. The state Bicentennial Committee required us to submit our plan for approval prior to construction and prior to receiving the grant. The committee consisted of myself as Chair, Maurey Roberts, from the city of Fort Payne (Maurey did the final graphic design), Olivia Cox of Landmarks of DeKalb County, Randy Grider from the Mentone Arts and Cultural Center, David Rains, Darlene Rotch and Tim Harris of Main Street, Larry Chesser, Brian Baine and Lynn Brewer from the City of Fort Payne, Jennifer McCurdy from the Fort Payne Chamber, Annette Reynolds from Manitou Cave of Alabama and Olivia Dodd from Northeast Alabama Community College.

The Fort Payne Bicentennial Timeline was agreed upon after the preliminary meetings to discuss what we would do. The Timeline was considered a good contribution to the city and to the visitors that will come and read a little of our history. The state approved the project as a good representation about the dynamic and varied history of Fort Payne.

Johnny Edwards, at Accel Graphics, made the timeline and had it finished a year or more ago, but we did not come up with a preferred permanent location until Larry Chesser suggested the current location site with the parking lot having been redone and the whole intersection dressed up. It made a perfect place for people to pull their cars in to see and read the timeline.

We are hopeful the building itself, which already houses the public restrooms in the basement, will be used for a public downtown organization like Fort Payne Main Street.

— John Dersham is the president and CEO of DeKalb Tourism.

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