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The front cover of the Friends of the Archives 2008 calendar features 12 men with canes or beards sitting on the courthouse steps in 1923.
Courtesy photo
The front cover of the Friends of the Archives 2008 calendar features 12 men with canes or beards sitting on the courthouse steps in 1923.

Calendar features Limestone history
County archives show photos
from past in '08

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — It's now possible to go back in time every month and learn about Limestone County's history, from whiskey stills to baseball teams to barbershops.

Just flip a page in a 2008 calendar at the end of each month.

The Friends of the Archives has published its third calendar, and each month features a photograph from the county's past and information about the photo's era.

The front cover features 12 men with canes or beards sitting on the courthouse steps in 1923. The unnamed men are Confederate veterans who have gathered for a reunion. According to the archives, a countywide reunion drew 336 veterans in 1889, but by 1933 only four were living.

Inside the calendar are photographs depicting different aspects of county history. One is an Athens baseball team group photo with information about how the season opened in 1872.

The sport was so popular in 1909 that nearly 1,000 people watched Athens defeat Nashville 16-2. All the businesses closed and a brass band played for the game.

The calendar goes from baseball to law enforcement, with a photograph during Prohibition of authorities smashing a whiskey still. Sheriff Van B. Gilbert and his deputies destroyed that still and uncovered men using suitcases to haul quarts of gin and Scotch on the L&N Railroad.

Popular gathering places like barbershops also are featured with an incomplete list of those that operated in the late 1800s and early 1900s. An undated photograph shows barbers dressed in formal attire shaving customers.

The pictures, compiled by Betty Taylor from the archives' special collection, also include cotton, downtown, the fairgrounds and a singing school. The singing school photograph of Craig's Chapple Singing School shows how popular the schools were from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.

Singing students mostly learned a cappella singing. It became so popular, the Limestone County Singing Convention drew 2,000 people.

Ready to peruse Limestone's history a month at a time?

There are a limited number of calendars available for $12 each. Only 300 copies were printed. Copies are available at U.G. White, Pablo's on Market, Limestone County Archives on Washington Street and this weekend at the Fiddlers Convention.

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Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!

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