New venue and a glimpse of history
The community of Crawford, under the stewardship of Russell County Commissioner Chance Corbett and from the hard work of the Crawford Park Committee, community members, and generous sponsors, has seen amazing changes in the last five years. First, the beautiful restoration of the historic Tuckabatchee Masonic Lodge saw completion in 2015 and serves as a popular event venue, complete with a playground.
The pecan grove saw some love with damaged and diseased trees being treated or removed and new trees planted, followed by the beautiful walking trail with lighting, now the perfect spot for Crawford Market Days and hot air balloon rides. And now there’s the gorgeous gazebo and the renovated Crocketsville General Store.
“The Crawford area is really taking shape, and we are all proud of that,” Corbett said. “The Gazebo and the Crocketsville General Store were both projects that took so much time and energy from so many. From Boston Butt sales to long days and nights working on each, it makes me proud as a county commissioner and a citizen to see it come to reality…and there is still more to come for the area.”
Gazebos come in all sizes and styles. A lot of work went into finding the style that would fit the needs of the Crawford community. Corbett said they took the design from one they found in LaGrange, Ga, but he didn’t realize how big it would be. Even more work went into the fundraising, which took putting together a very successful community cookbook and selling copies (there are still a few copies available), to selling smoked Boston butts, and many other activities. The work paid off. Now complete, the beautiful gazebo saw its official ribbon cutting this past Sunday afternoon, along with the General Store.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect as a crowd of more than 500 people gathered. Russell County High School’s ROTC presented the colors, and Olivia Crouch sang the National Anthem, while on crutches. Being on crutches, didn’t affect her beautiful voice. Attendees enjoyed cold RC Colas, while they lasted, and mini Moon Pies as well as hot dogs and chips from the Russell County Sheriff’s Office. Jon Boy Storey is now on record as being the first performer at the Gazebo.
A tour of the General Store was like stepping back in time. Pieces of history gave a glimpse into a bygone era – old signs, pictures, cans, jars, and bottles, and much more, all told a story of yesteryear. The most interesting and hard won piece is the seed counter, which has an interesting story. The seed counter was originally in the Dupriest store on Hwy 51 in Lee County. Corbett said they were actually having it held with Billy Capps when the March 3 tornadoes struck and carried it off, dropping the counter in a muddy field. All of the seed drawers with their glass fronts had been destroyed, but the counter itself was still intact. They retrieved the seed counter, had new seed drawers built based on the original design with volunteer help from Scott Melton and Jacob Williams, filled the drawers with various seeds and installed the counter in the General Store. To see it now, it looks as if it were meant to be there and is a beautiful piece of history that might not have been if not for the efforts of people in the Crawford community.
For more information about renting the Crawford Gazebo for such events as weddings or info on the Crockettsville General Store, contact the Russell County Commission office at 334-298-6426