By Denise DuBois
In an effort to preserve historical sites and buildings, including the old Jones Grocery Store, the Smiths Station City Council approved the formation of a historical commission. The council also agreed to fund the commission $2,500 for the organization to get its charter and start erecting historical markers.
“This should have been done a long time ago to preserve our history,” said Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland. “We’ve always been a railroad town, a place on the tracks between big cities and we have a lot of businesses to preserve history. This (city council) has more than we can say grace over, so it’s good to have volunteers.”
Volunteers will make up the historical commission. Those volunteers are: Mayor Copeland, chairperson, Brian Coker, vice chairperson, Lisa Deason, secretary, Fannie Lamar, treasurer, LaFaye Dellinger, Fran Loftin, Jackie Henderson Long, Rosie McCoy, Michelle West and Sarah West.
Last May, the city moved the old Jones Grocery Store, which was donated to the city, and set it up behind the municipal building. The city took part in restoring the building and it will house a museum that will open later this summer.
At the time the building was moved, city councilman Richard Cooley said, “This is an historic day for Smiths Station and the community. The Jones store has been part of our landscape for more years than I care to count. We’re so proud that we had a number of people to help make this day possible,” a sentiment he and the council are sure to echo when the museum opens in the restored structure.
In addition to the creation of the historical commission and the museum, the city took to social media to ask the community for donations of additional pieces of Smiths Station’s history. If anyone has pre-1970 photos of groups, structures or landmarks, farm or agricultural items, military items, railroad or general store memorabilia, manuscripts of local interest or small equipment, call Lisa Deason at (334) 297-8771, extension 5.
In seeking historical memorabilia, Copeland posted on his Facebook page that he had been searching to prove Harold Jenkins, also known as Conway Twitty, went to Smiths Station.
“I can put it to rest,” he wrote. “Through a donation to the city, we have concrete evidence that he indeed did the invocation to the class of 1951.”