Window into past

Published 9:13 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A group attending Saturday’s tour of downtown learns about the history of some of Atmore’s oldest buildings.

A group attending Saturday’s tour of downtown learns about the history of some of Atmore’s oldest buildings.

For history buffs looking to learn more about Atmore’s rich past, April’s walking tours are the perfect opportunity – and for those who missed the first two, it is not too late to make up for it.

The annual tours are sponsored by the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, but are part of a larger program begun in 2010 by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism during “The Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns.”

Chamber Director Sheryl Vickery said the first two tours garnered good attendance, but would like to once again extend the invitation to the community to be a part of the last two tours of the year.

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“This Saturday’s theme is the windows of the churches and the people behind the windows,” Vickery said of this week’s tour, which will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. at Heritage Park. “All of these churches have stained glass windows and on them are people’s names. Our question is: who are these people?”

Vickery, who has already coordinated tours of Atmore’s Williams Station Cemetery and downtown area this month, said this week’s tour promises to teach those in attendance about Atmore’s history, while showing off some of what she describes as “beautiful artwork.”

“We’ve been doing research for a long time,” she said. “This is a walking tour that will begin and go from St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church to First Presbyterian Church, to First United Methodist Church, on to First Baptist Church and will end at Trinity Episcopal. The churches, to me, are truly art galleries. This is all art to me.”

Saturday’s tour will be hosted by Nancy Karrick, who Vickery said is well versed in the history of those the windows are dedicated to.

“We are going to walk in, sit down and she will tell you a little about the windows and also the history about the windows.”

Vickery also stressed that just because the tours are dubbed walking events does not mean those who may need other accommodations should not attend.

“These are called walking tours, but if people want to attend and they can’t walk very far, they can feel free to drive. That’s no problem.”

The last tour of April will take place Saturday, April 27 and will include a tour of some of Atmore’s historic homes led by Joan Hackman. There is no charge for any of the tours.