Chambers County Museum
Located in the former Central of Georgia railway depot, the Chambers County Museum contains a rich variety of exhibits reflecting life in the county as it was yesteryear. The museum contains an extensive collection of regional stoneware made in early Alabama history from clays mined in Chambers and Randolph counties. An interesting artifact is a goat treadmill with a hay basket designed just out of reach of the tethered goat thereby enticing him to continuously walk. The treadmill attaches to a wheel that activates a churn’s dasher to make butter. There is also a Joe Louis exhibit of scrapbooks, photos, trophies and a pair of the famous boxer’s boxing gloves. Other interesting items include a spinning wheel collection, dress fashions of years ago, a hand-woven and dyed pre-civil war coverlet and a mock-up of a typical general store. The museum also grounds the Tallapoosa Queen river ferry. An annex to the museum is a cotton warehouse which shelters the first fire engine in LaFayette, a horse-drawn buggy, a blacksmith shop, primitive carpenter shop and an extensive collection of horse and mule drawn farm equipment.
Cobb Memorial Archives
The Cobb Memorial Archives houses lots of information full of rich history from Chambers County including a genealogy bank, America’s newspapers, paper projects from 1832-1915, the Chattahoochee Historical Society publications, LaFayette Sun abstracts, Chambers County church minutes, etc. It is located inside of Bradshaw-Chambers County Library.
Doll House Grave Site, Lanett, AL
A grave makes an unusual tourist attraction, particularly when it’s the burial site of a 4-year-old girl who died in 1933. But a little girl named Nadine Earles has one of the most visited graves in Alabama, and perhaps the South. The child’s grave in Oakwood Cemetery, in Lanett, is covered with a unique mausoleum – a brick house known as Little Nadine’s Playhouse. When Nadine became sick with diphtheria at age 4, her parents, Julian and Alma Earles, were understandably distraught. At his sick daughter’s pleadings of “Me want it now,” Julian Earles had been building the playhouse as a Christmas gift but when his beloved daughter died on Dec. 18, the house became her mausoleum. The house, complete with paned windows, awnings, a lawn and walkway, is filled with toys. After their deaths, Nadine’s parents were buried in the “yard” of the little house. Nadine’s mausoleum is a rarity because it is a full-sized child’s playhouse but there are a few dollhouse gravesites across the country.
On Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865, Federal forces engaged Confederate soldiers defending Fort Tyler. The day long battle culminated in the death of General Tyler, and the imprisonment of all remaining soldiers. In total, 19 Confederate soldiers died in battle that day. Unique and critical to the facts surrounding this battle is that it happened seven days after the Civil War was officially over. Word had not reached Confederate nor Union forces engaged in West Point. Fort Tyler was the last confederate fort captured by the Union giving it the distinction, “Last Fort to Fall.” Fort Tyler is located in two cities in two states, Lanett, AL, and West Point, GA.
Fort Cusseta, Chambers County Rd. 55 in the town of Cusseta, is a rare surviving example of a log fort built to defend a frontier settlement from Indian attack. In the 1830s, Chambers County was at ground zero for escalating unrest among the Creek Indians. The Treaty of 1832 provided for Creeks to leave Alabama for what later became Oklahoma or remain in Alabama and live under state law. This was very unpopular with the Creeks. As white settlers and tradespeople, some of them unscrupulous, flooded the area, the Creeks’ outrage grew and the Lower Creeks went to war in spring 1836. Rough stockades and blockhouses went up, and Fort Cusseta is a prime example. The solid construction indicates that it may have actually been built some four to five years before the war began, but it was definitely used in that conflict. Area residents and militia troops gathered there. There is no evidence that the fort was ever attacked but it was significant as a bulwark of safety. Remarkably, the historic walls of the little fort survived. Today they are sheltered beneath a metal building built some years ago to protect them from the elements. Screened windows allow those stopping by to view the log walls of the fort. A historical marker stands at the site.
Joe Louis Statue
The Joe Louis Statue on the west side of the Chambers County Courthouse in LaFayette was unveiled before a crowd of more than 2,000 and national media in February 2010. The massive, larger-than-life bronze statue of the world renowned heavyweight champion – the Brown Bomber — stands on a pedestal of Alabama red granite. Louis was born in Chambers County and lived there until he moved with his family to Detroit at age 12. Funds for the statue were raised over several years by a grass-roots group known as the Joe Louis Statue Committee. The creator was Casey Downing Jr. a nationally known sculptor and a Mobile native.
The Langdale Theater is an acoustically engineered masterpiece. It is located in the community of Langdale, in the city of Valley, AL. The theater was originally a movie theater that opened on May 6, 1937. In December, 1986, a group of citizens interested in saving this fine old building got together and set out to raise approximately a quarter of a million dollars. Through this, the theater was completely renovated maintaining as much of its originality as possible. The 660 seat stately building is now used as a performing arts center and is ideal for concerts, plays and any function that blends with days gone by.
The Museum at the Cannery of Langdale Mill
The Museum at the Cannery of Langdale Mill reflects the life and times of a Southern textile mill village in the days when textiles was a major industry. During World War II, West Point Manufacturing Company outfitted space at one end of its Langdale Mill as a commercial cannery open to all the mill village people who had victory or personal gardens and needed to preserve the harvest. When the people had canned their produce – in cans, not glass jars – they either shipped the cans to troops overseas or used them in their own homes. Some did not have refrigerators at the time, so this was a real boon to their food supply. Today, the Museum at the Cannery has a good showing of artifacts and textile memorabilia from the days when West Point Manufacturing – later WestPoint Pepperell, then WestPoint Stevens – was one of the world’s largest textile companies. The museum is open at special city-sponsored events and by appointment. Tours can be arranged by calling City of Valley, 334.756.5228.
West Point Depot, Visitor Center & Museum
The West Point Depot and Museum is the historic site for transfer of freight between Montgomery and Atlanta in the 1800s. Because Georgia and Alabama had different gauge railroad tracks, it was necessary for all trains traveling between the two states to stop in West Point, located at the state line. Thus, established the town with its ties to the railroad and a community renowned for its southern hospitality to travelers. Today, this completely renovated and restored freight depot has resumed its stature at the juncture between two states. Providing a visitor center and an entertainment facility, the Depot is also the repository for West Point’s rich history. A scale model of the Chattahoochee Valley Railway and the mill villages along its route can be found here.