County Archives to Close for Three Weeks for Renovation

07/27/2016 12:00 am

The News Courier
enewscourier.com

 

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Those wanting to delve deeper into local history have just a few more days to do so before the Limestone County Archives temporarily closes its doors ahead of an extensive renovation project.

From Aug. 1 through Aug. 22, archivists Rebekah Davis and April Davis will not be able to assist members of the public as they pack up items in preparation for a temporary move to the basement of the Limestone County Commission at 310 W. Washington St. Even after the move, archivists will only be able to provide limited assistance to researchers by appointment.

Established by the commission in 1980, the Archives was located in the basement of the commission building until 2003, when the Archives moved to the former L&N Passenger Depot.

The renovation, scheduled to be completed in early 2017, will refurbish and provide fire protection to the old depot, which is also on Washington Street. Built in 1905, the building served as Athens’ only passenger depot for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad until it was decommissioned in the 1960s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

The renovation has been planned since October 2012, when the Alabama Department of Transportation approved a Transportation Alternatives Program grant for renovation of a historic transportation facility. Premier Structures Inc., of Athens, was the low bidder for the project with a bid of $311,987. ALDOT is funding 80 percent of the project cost, with the remaining 20 percent coming from the Limestone County Commission.

“These renovations will provide protection to our historic building and its priceless contents, and will help ensure that the building remains strong and viable for at least another century and beyond,” Rebekah Davis said.

Morrell Engineering and Premier Structures will oversee project activities, which will include installation of a fire suppression and alarm system, lead paint abatement, repair and replacement of exterior boards, scraping and painting the building’s exterior and interior, and adding interior lighting. The work will be completed in two phases, which will require moving all records and furniture from the back half of the building to the front, and then reversing the process to complete work in the front section. The work is scheduled to be completed in 180 calendar days.

Many of the vital permanent records housed at the Limestone County Archives, including deeds, wills, marriage records, court records and more, are now accessible for free on the Archives’ website, www.limestonearchives.com. The master index to the Archives’ records is also available on the Archives website.

While working from their temporary Archives office, staff will focus on processing special collections and cataloging historic photos to make those items more easily searchable and accessible. In addition to housing Limestone County government records dating to the county’s beginnings in 1818, the Limestone County Archives holds tens of thousands of historic photos and nongovernment records that document the county’s history.

“Improving the access to these records is particularly important now, as the people throughout the county and city prepare to research and use these documents in celebrating our bicentennial in 2018,” Rebekah Davis said.

For more information, call 256-233-6404 or email archives@limestonecounty-al.gov.

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