About The Jackson County Historical Association

The Jackson County Historical Association (JCHA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Donations and memberships are tax deductible.

The JCHA was founded on October 26, 1974 and has remained active in the years since. The first officers were: Ann Chambless, President; Walter Hammer, 1st VP; Hazel Matthews, 2nd VP; Jim Eiford, Treasurer; and Alice Ruth Page, Secretary. Early Directors/Board Members were Cecile Hughs, Ruth Morris, Rex Page, and Christine Sumner. The membership list published in The Chronicles showed 48 members. Today’s officers are: Susan Fisher, President; Kelly Goodowens, Program Chairman; Barbara Carter, Secretary; and Jen Stewart, Treasurer, with board members Patrick Stewart, John Graham, and Annette Bradford. There are about 263 members. Here are some of the organization’s landmark accomplishments:

JCHA members reclaimed and inventoried the old Bellefonte Cemetery and worked to get this cemetery listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register. A fund was set up for its care.

When the JCHA members who lived in Stevenson began working to save and refurbish the Stevenson Railroad Depot, the JCHA furnished manpower and gave the museum board $15,000.00 for depot improvements.

In 1981, the JCHA worked with a broad coalition of committed community members to convince the City of Scottsboro to purchase the Brown-Proctor House (built in 1881) for use as a museum. Today the Brown-Proctor House is the home of the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center. The house is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm and for special events.

The JCHA worked with Scottsboro's mayor to save the Scottsboro Freight Depot when the Norfolk-Southern Railway announced its intendion to raze the building. After Norfolk-Southern deeded the building to the City of Scottsboro, the building was given to the JCHA. The mayor told JCHA members that the organization could have the building for its headquarters, but that the JCHA had to fund the restoration and preservation of the building. Since Norfolk-Southern had not done any kind of building repairs or maintenance in a number of years, the building needed refurbishing from top to bottom. JCHA members restored the building to the 1860-1880 time period when the depot was the center of all activity in Scottsboro. John Neely served as the first restoration chairman; Kelly Goodowens assumed that role in 2007 and continues to lead in the depot's preservation. Local citizens have been very generous in helping the JCHA fill the depot museum with artifacts.

The Jackson County Historical Association received the Alabama Historical Association's James Ray Kuykendall Award for the State's outstanding local historical association in Alabama in 2004.

JCHA members Barry Pickett and Ralph Mackey and others have prepared county-wide cemetery inventories that have been shared with libraries and via the internet.

JCHA members have written and produced three historical dramas that emphasized three time periods in our local history and culture. JCHA members provide programs for local civic organizations as requested.

The JCHA served as the supporting organization and umbrella for the Paint Rock Valley History Project coordinated by JCHA member Judy Prince.

At the request of a JCHA member, the late David Loyd, the founding president of the JCHA consulted with Bridgeport citizens and helped them develop a plan for establishing the Bridgeport Area Historical Association.

The JCHA and JCHA member Dr. Ronald Dykes partnered in publishing four of Dr. Dykes' books: Growing Up Hard in Jackson County, Fighting the Just War, They Wouldn't Let Us Win, and Building Bridges and Roads in the Korean Conflict.

JCHA member Lewis Robinson served as design architect for the Scottsboro Depot Museum preservation and restoration.

JCHA continues to procure historic markers to identify and recognize Jackson County landmarks and events. There are presently 23 markers put in place by the JCHA, including:

Bridgeport – Trail of Tears and Historic Downtown Bridgeport; plaque on wall at Rocky Springs Church
Stevenson: Fort Harker, Stevenson Depot and Hotel, Union Army Headquarters at Little Brick, Averyville, and Crow Town
Bellefonte: Bellefonte Cemetery and the Town of Bellefonte
Skyline: Skyline School, History of Skyline Farms
Decatur County
Paint Rock: History of Paint Rock and Arrest of Scottsboro Boys in Paint Rock
Scottsboro: Andrew Jackson plaque on statue on courthouse grounds; Scottsboro Railroad Depot; Union Encampment in Scottsboro; College Hill Historic District; Robert T. Scott on Courthouse lawn; Jackson County Courthouse and Scottsboro Boys; the Robert T. Scott Family Cemetery, and the Jones House (birthplace of the U.S. Congressman Robert E. Jones) Langston, Section, and Dutton received historic markers during the Alabama Tourism Department's “The Year of the Small Town.”

The JCHA provided some financial assistance and manpower to Fackler citizens for restoration of the McGuffey's Store as a community center.

The JCHA hosted the Alabama Historical Association 2014 Spring Conference in Scottsboro and Jackson County in April 2014. Members of the JCHA Board of Directors served as the local planning committee. JCHA members developed a photo-poster collection of 27 Jackson County landmarks by using old photographs that date from 1870 to early 1940s. The first exhibit of these posters was during the April AHA Conference.

The JCHA scanned all 42 years of The Chronicles using optical character recognition (OCR) technology so that all of our county’s history can be pulled up in a Google search and made them available on the JCHA web site (www.jchaweb.org). This site was deployed along with the Walk Around the Square.

Ann Chambless’ extensive map collection contributed significantly to the collection assembled by Greg Tyler and Jeff Arnold in the Revenue Commissioners’ Office in the courthouse (www.jacksoncountyrevenue.com > Links > Historical Maps).

The JCHA drove the county’s World War I centennial commemoration. During 2017, our depot was one of the sites selected by the Alabama Historical Association to house the state traveling World War I exhibit. The JCHA also put together an exhibit of local World War I artifacts.

Annual membership dues are $20.00, except for those 65 and older whose dues are $15.00. Life Membership is $150.00. Members in good standing receive The Jackson County Chronicles in January, April, July, and October.