Momentous week: Chilton County celebrates 150th birthday

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Freelance Writer and Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County will observe the 150th anniversary of the county’s formation Oct. 20-27.

Derric Scott, president of the Chilton County Historical Society, said it is important to host a celebration every 50 years.

“You always need to remember your history and remember where you came from,” he said. “It’s good to know the how’s and the why’s of things that happened. If you wait longer than 50 years, a lot of people will miss out on participating in a big anniversary celebration.”

Celebration week kicks off with the opening of the Chilton County Sesquicentennial Museum at Senior Connection. The museum will be open Oct. 22-25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and will feature historic artifacts, photos and articles on the history of Chilton County. The items will be donations or on loan from county residents.

Senior Connection is also hosting 150 Cents Dine and Discover, Oct. 22-26 from 11 a.m. to noon daily. For just 150 cents one can have a bag lunch while learning about the history of Chilton County.  Each day will feature a different speaker, highlighting a different aspect, including agriculture, sports, civil rights, etc.

The Goose Pond Gala will include rides, amusements, contests, entertainment, food and music from local performers. Many other events are planned for that day as well, such as the Peach Capital Parade, displays of arts and crafts, a fun run, car show and more.

The parade will line up at 8 a.m. and begin at 9 a.m. The parade will follow the same route as the annual Peach Parade, which starts at the Park Plaza shopping center near Clanton City Park and circles through downtown Clanton.

Organizer Ivan Smith said the parade will be led by a distinguished “Vanguard,” including Eagle Scout Donnie Martin, Girl Scout Gold Star Kelly Garrett, Korean War Veteran POW Morris Price and Gold Star Mother Ann Spence, whose son was killed in Iraq.

Smith said veterans representing those “who have served in the last 70 years of conflicts” will also participate, along with local queens.

Each municipality is also expected to be represented.

Smith said the parade is open to anyone who would like to participate.

“We want to give people the opportunity if people want to put something in the parade to do that,” Smith said.

To register, contact your local municipality or Smith at 755-2673.

During the planning of the parade, Smith said he has enjoyed “getting to meet and realize just basically how many heroes we have in this county, both male and female.”

Everyone Smith has talked to about being in the parade has agreed to participate.

Chilton County was first known as Baker County when formed in an act of the Alabama Legislature on Dec. 30, 1868, and named for Alfred Baker, the founder and first mayor of Clanton.

“[Baker] is the driving reason it was formed,” Scott said.

The land was carved out of portions of Autauga, Bibb, Perry and Shelby counties. When Baker fell out of favor politically with locals in 1874, county residents petitioned for the renaming of Baker County to Chilton County, in honor of William P. Chilton, a well-liked chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

“[Chilton] had no real ties to the area, but he was popular,” Scott said.

In 1968, Chilton County’s Centennial was celebrated, and this year residents will look back on yet another half-century of county life.

Following is a brief rundown of events that will take place on Celebration Day, Oct. 27:

  • 7 a.m. Sesquicentennial Sprint, a fun run through the historic city of Clanton organized by the YMCA of Chilton County.
  • At 8 a.m., setup will begin for the Peach Capital Parade set to start at 9 a.m. Highlights will be historic dress and methods of transportation. The parade is sponsored by the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce.
  • The Goose Pond Gala will be held at Clanton City Park from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with live music, food, entertainment, amusement park rides and contests. The music lineup includes Blast from the Past, Chilton County Mass Choir, Holy Destiny, Southern Pride and Cotton Bird.
  • A living history of Chilton County will be exhibited at City Park through examples of period skills and trades that were necessary and common in the times of Chilton’s founding, such as blacksmithing, horseshoeing, outdoor cooking, syrup making and more.
  • Stokes Automotive is sponsoring the Chilton Chrome and Spoke car show featuring classic automobiles, muscle cars, motorcycles and other unique modes of transportation on display at the park.
  • The Cotton Patch Quilters Guild will have a quilt exhibit from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Clanton.
  • The Chilton County Arts Council will present an art show showcasing local artists and their work about the people and places of Chilton County. This will be held at the Arts Council’s building on Second Avenue North in Clanton.
  • Ladies from the famous Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers will exhibit their creations at Senior Connection. Their artwork has been the subject of major art museum exhibits nationwide and featured by many news organizations and books.

A shuttle service will operate throughout town to assist attendees in getting place to place, Scott said.

For more information, please visit or visit the group’s Facebook page.