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Nucor wins recognition for saving historic site

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

The Alabama Historical Commission presented Nucor Steel with its Distinguished Service Award for the company's efforts in restoring the historic Murphey House.

The presentation came in Huntsville on Friday during an AHC conference that focuses on historic sites in the Tennessee Valley.

"This innovative and public-spirited effort to preserve a fragile part of Alabama's architectural and historical legacy is worth recognizing," Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, said.

Kim Pritchard, who was at Nucor's Decatur location when the company prepared a detailed restoration plan, returned from Texas to accept the award with employee Roger Handley.

Preservation of the Murphey home started in the mid-1990s. Nucor acquired the property in 2002.

Plans for park

In addition to saving the home, Nucor plans to construct an employee park on the site.

In their pursuit of fertile soil for cotton production, George Murphey and his wife, Mary, had their slaves construct the original home on the site.

Mary died shortly after the family moved to the area and her husband died in 1846. Their son, Dr. William E. Murphy, inherited the house and 800-acre plantation.

It's for Dr. Murphey that the home is named.

The doctor's wife and his two children died young. He was opposed to secession, and there is some evidence that Dr. Murphey hid runaway slaves on the plantation as they tried to get to Decatur to join the Union Army.

In the 1870s, Dr. Murphey married a second time, to Annie Lindsay. With no heirs, he died in LaGrange, Ga., in 1889.

The home was listed on the National Register in 1988.

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