Lowndesboro, Alabama
The historic C.M.E. Church in
Lowndesboro was built in
around 1833. The dome is
from Alabama's original state
capitol at Old Cahawba.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Lowndesboro, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Lowndesboro, Alabama
Lowndesboro, Alabama
St. Paul's EPiscopal Church in Lowndesboro dates
from the 1850s and is one of the best preserved
such structures in the nation.
Holly House, 1836
Still a private residence, the
central portion of the Holly
House at Lowndesboro was
built in 1836.
Alabama's First Capitol Dome
A unique artifact from the
state's past, the dome on the
C.M.E. Church was brought
from Old Cahawba when the
original capitol building there
was demolished.
Skirmish at Lowndesboro
A brief skirmish was found in
the town on April 10, 1865,
during Wilson's Raid on
Alabama and Georgia.
Lowndesboro, Alabama - Historic Sites and Points of Interest
Historic Antebellum Town...
One of the most beautiful and well-preserved
antebellum communities in the entire South
can be found in the charming, picturesque
town of Lowndesboro, Alabama.

Just a quick turn off U.S. Highway 80 onto
County Road 29 (South Broad Street) only 15
minutes west of the Montgomery Airport,
Lowndesboro offers an array of historic sites
and beautifully preserved homes and other
structures. Driving into the town is a bit like
passing through time into a different era of
American history.

Now home to 140 residents, Lowndesboro
traces its origins back to the
Creek War of
1813-1814. The famed Red Stick village of
Holy Ground stood on a bluff overlooking the
Alabama River just ten miles northwest of
Lowndesboro. It was here that the Prophet
Josiah Francis spearheaded a nativistic
religious movement that swept through the
Creek Nation in the years 1811-1814.

The followers of Francis formed a powerful
division in the Creek Nation called the Red
Sticks, because they displayed red war clubs
in their towns. They launched a civil war
against the Big Warrior and other traditional
leaders of the Nation. The war exploded into
an all out conflict with the whites when a party
of Mississippi Territorial Militia attacked a
Red Stick supply party at Burnt Corn Spring in
1813. The Red Sticks retaliated by destroying
Fort Mims and killing hundreds of men,
women and children.

The outbreak led to attacks on the Creek
Nation by three different U.S. armies. On
December 23, 1813,  the army of Gen. F.L.
Claiborne fought and won the
Battle of Holy
Ground, destroying the center of the
Prophet's movement and beginning the
ultimate near destruction of the Red Sticks.

The signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson the
following year opened much of Alabama to
white settlement and it was not long before
settlers took note of the rich lands and
beautiful setting of McGill's Hill, where the
town of Lowndesboro stands today.

In 1832 the people of McGill's Hill voted to
change the name of their community to
Lownesboro, in honor of the son of an early
South Carolina governor. By then the town
had grown into a prosperous planting and
trading community.

By the time of the Civil War, Lownesboro had
become a stunning community with a striking
variety of architectural styles. There were
homes, schools, churches and many other
structures representing the Greek Revival,
New England, Raised Cottage and other well-
known types of design. A surprising number
of these historic homes and structures
survive to this day.

The Civil War brought hard times to towns
like Lowndesboro. Steamboat traffic all but
stopped on the Alabama River and the local
farms had no place to sell their cotton. Since
cotton was then the primary cash crop in
Alabama, the local economy was devastated.

A skirmish was fought at Lowndesboro in
April of 1865 when the advance troops of
Gen. James H. Wilson's Union force reached
the town and encountered a small command
of Confederate cavalry. The Southern men
were quickly driven off and the Federals
occupied the town.
Surprisingly, though, Lowndesboro was
spared much of the destruction visited on
other communities along the path of
Raid through Alabama and Georgia.

The story is told locally that a local physician
saved the town by telling Wilson's men that
small pox was raging in the town. It was a
hoax, but it worked. The Union soldiers had
no interest in contracting the frightening
disease and moved through as fast as they

Lowndesboro's fortunes declined after the
Civil War. The economy never rebounded
and the community slowly dwindled in both
population and commercial enterprise.

But what Lowndesboro lost in business, it
gained in terms of historic preservation. The
plantation community was bypassed by U.S.
80 and survived the 20th century as a unique
enclave of 19th century architecture and
charm. It is noteworthy that the town itself has
been a member of the National Trust for
Historic Preservation for nearly 40 years.

Lowndesboro today is a great place to walk
and view beautiful historic structures. The
town hosts an annual Lowndesboro Heritage
Celebration that features tours, historical
reenactors, refreshments and experts with
demonstrations of Indian weaponry.
click here to learn more about both
Lowndesboro and the celebration.

To reach Lowndesboro from Interstate 65 in
Montgomery, take Exit 167 onto U.S. Highway
80 West. Follow U.S. 80 West for 16.7 miles
and turn right on South Broad Street (County
Road 23). Lowndesboro is just ahead. From
Selma, take U.S. 80 East for just under 28
miles and turn left onto South Broad Street
(County Road 23).

While in town, be sure to note the
dome on
the old C.M.E. Church. It is from Alabama's
first state capitol at
Old Cahawba.
Historic Antebellum Town
Lowndesboro boasts one of
the finest collections of well-
preserved antebellum homes
and buildings in Alabama.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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