The 2013 Annual Meeting was hosted by the Alabama Chapter. Its chairman Bud Pride and the Colbert County Tourism Bureau provided unforgettable hospitality. The meeting began with a trolley tour of Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, Florence, and Sheffield, led by Ninon Parker.
The opening reception was held at Belle Mont, an architectural gem built in 1828. The mansion was designed for Dr. Alexander Williams Mitchell, who attended medical school with Dr. Benjamin Rush, inventor of Rush’s pills used by Lewis and Clark on their expedition. The house was purchased in 1833 by War of 1812 veteran Isaac Winston. Winston swapped land in Nashville to his friend Andrew Jackson. General Jackson built his “Hermitage” on the Nashville land.
A breakfast for the chapter chairs and officers was held at the second Winston home in Tuscumbia.
The Saturday morning nature walk at Rock Spring on the parkway was timed for the hummingbird migration. Fortunately, there were more hummingbirds at the site Saturday morning than at any time in recent memory.
Larry Gray and the Shoals Cycling Club helped coordinate the new Colbert 20 ride on the parkway from the Lauderdale site across the Tennessee River bridge up to Freedom Hills to Bear Creek Mound and back. Cycling photos are courtesy of Randy Fought, Natchez Trace Bed and Breakfast Reservation Service.
The annual meeting was held in conjunction with Tuscumbia’s annual Oka Kapassa festival. which celebrates American Indian culture. Acting Superintendent Dale Wilkerson provided an update of projects on the parkway, including planning for the Chickasaw Heritage Center at Chickasaw Village, the replacement of buildings at Colbert Ferry, Jeff Busby, Mount Locust and Pharr Mounds, and the new pilot program for cycling safety in progress with Adventure Cycling. Donna Holdiness presented NTPA a check for $4,000 raised during the Tour d’Atalla Ride for the Gary Holdiness Cycling Fund. Jim Mallory of the Lewis and Clark Trust provided an update on an extension of the Lewis and Clark Trail to include a portion of the parkway, and Dr. Boswell provided an update on the work of the Association. The first segment of the cell phone tour of the parkway was previewed. During afternoon breakout sessions, Dr. Brad R. Lieb, Cultural Specialist for the Chickasaw Nation discussed new discoveries at George Colbert’s home near Tupelo. Acting Superintendent Dale Wilkerson led a roundtable discussion on cycling safety. The regent of the Alabama Society Daughters of the American Revolution and president of the Alabama Society of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 were both in attendance for the annual meeting.
Colbert Ferry overlooking the Tennessee River provided the setting for a sunset picnic. Former board member L.O. Bishop provided his famous Alabama barbeque.
The post-meeting tour was of Tom Hendrix’s wall. Mr. Hedrix has spent 34 years of his life building the wall to honor his great-grandmother, who escaped the American Indian removal in Oklahoma as a young girl to return to her home in Alabama. One portion of the wall contains a stone for each step his great-grandmother took on the return. The wall is one of the largest memorials to a woman in the United States, and it has become a draw for people from around the world. Several tribes meet there for religious services.