Area historical societies join for ‘Canebrake Homecoming’

The historical societies of Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, and Sumter counties have come together to open the doors of over 25 rarely-open historic houses and sites over two weekends during a Canebrake Homecoming event to be held the weekends of March 23 and 24 and March 30 and 31. The homecoming is part of the Alabama Bicentennial Celebration.

On the first weekend of the Canebrake Homecoming, sites will be open on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, March 24, from 1 to 5 p.m.  The second weekend hours will be March 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, and Sunday, March 24, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Among the homes to be displayed the first weekend is Waldwic, a rare example of Gothic Revival architecture in Alabama, built in 1840.   

The Oaks in Greensboro, built in 1845, will also be also open during the first weekend and is a two-story example of the bracketed vernacular boxed Greek revival featuring an unusual full upper gallery.

In all the first weekend will feature tours of 16 sites.

The second weekend will feature sites in Greene and Sumter counties. Thornhill, completed in 1833 by Alabama’s third Secretary of State James Innes Thornton, will be open.

Lakewood, in Sumter County, will also be open during the second weekend. This Greek Revival, two-and-a-half-story house completed in 1840, was recently restored by Sidney Collins Freeman and her husband Jake, and was featured in Southern Living.

Admission to the first weekend is $60 per person, and the second weekend admission is $40 per person. A two-weekend package is available for $75. There is a student rate for those under 18 and over 18 with a current student ID. Student tickets are only available at the designated sites in each county. Tickets for the tours may be purchased online at canebrake or at designated sites in each county.

In addition to the tours, each county will host an additional event during the two weekends. Hale County Historical Society is hosting Hale County’s Treasures, Saturday, March 23, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $50 and reservations are required. Please contact The Partridge Berry in Greensboro or Tuscaloosa, 334-624-9009 or 205-349-2119, respectively, for more information.

The Marengo County Historical Society will host Evening on the Avenues on Saturday, March 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. in historic downtown Demopolis. Ticket includes an evening tour of four private residences (not on the Canebrake Homecoming tour) and a boxed dinner and tour of Lyon Hall, followed by MarketStreet Jazz in Public Square. Tickets are $25 per person which includes the tour & dinner, and may be purchased before the event at Bluff Hall in Demopolis,  that night at Lyon Hall, or online at canebrake

On Sunday, March 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Perry County Historical & Preservation Society will sell BBQ lunch plates for $15 at the Marion Female Seminary with live music by VK and Mac Spencer. Ccall for advance tickets. As part of the Canebrake Homecoming a quilt show, museum tours, and more will be inside the seminary from 1 to 5 p.m.

Enjoy a Historic Evening at Thornhill, on Friday, March 29, 6-10 p.m., hosted by the Greene County Historical Society. The evening will include piano music and heavy hors d’oeuvres and admission is $25 at the gate of Thornhill. GCHS will also be selling Boxed Lunches on Saturday, March 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Vaughn-Morrow House in Eutaw for $15 per person.

Wrapping up Canebrake Homecoming, the Sumter County Historical & Preservation Society will host Gainesville Churches & BBQ on Sunday, March 31 with an 11 a.m. church service at Gainesville Presbyterian in Gainesville.

Following the service they will serve dinner on the grounds from noon to 2 p.m. BBQ plates are $15 each and reservations are recommended by calling 334-300-5766.

For more information on Canebrake Homecoming and tickets  visit

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, March 13 issue of the Demopolis Times.)