Historic Walking Tours
Take A Walk On The Southern Side
Just like Sunday afternoon walks in the old days — stopping by to say hello or to sip a glass of sweet tea on the porch. Meander down historic Florence streets, peek into families’ lives from the past, step onto floors polished by generations. Hear tales of young husbands riding off to war, boisterous Christmases, children playing hide and seek under the stairs. Of mothers washing clothes in backyard iron kettles, silver-haired women stitching quilts for young brides, embattled men welcomed home from war by children they’ve never seen.
Guided tours are offered each Saturday in April at 10 a.m. Self guided tour brochures are available from the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Office. For more information, call 256-740-4141.
April 7 – Larimore Home: 1212 Mars Hill Rd., Florence AL 35633
The Larimore home was built in 1870 by Theophilus Brown Larimore. Following his marriage in 1868 to Miss Esther Gresham, they established a school on 27 acres of land she had inherited from her mother’s estate. Using the home and approximately 20 other buildings on the same site, Mars Hill Academy operated from 1871 to 1887 to train ministers and Christian workers of the Church of Christ. In 1947 the home became the Mars Hill Bible School. The 12-room home is now surrounded by the expanded school campus and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Presently the home is open for special tours and available to rent as a venue for meetings, receptions, weddings and other special events. Tours guides will be Florence City Historian Billy Ray Warren and Ryan A. Moore, Vice President of Advancement for Mars Hill Bible School.
The tour of the home and grounds will begin at 10:00 a.m. and is free to the public. A special lunch prepared by the Associated Women’s Organization of Mars Hill will be available with advanced reservations. Seating will be at 11:45 with the meal served at 12 noon. The cost is $12 cash or check. The menu will be smoked marinated pork tenderloin with broccoli salad, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls and dessert. Call Florence/Lauderdale Tourism at 256-740-4141 for reservations.
April 14 – North Court & Seminary Streets: Tour begins at Rogers Hall, 1 Harrison Plaza, Florence, AL 35630
The North Court Street and Seminary Street tour will feature Rogers Hall, Coby Hall, the Governor O’Neal Home, Connor Place, Wakefield, the Robert Dean Martin Home, the Medical Arts Building, Pope’s Tavern, two Sears & Roebuck houses and many other homes.
April 21 – Walnut Street: Tour begins at corner of Hermitage Drive and Walnut Street.
The Walnut Street Historic District boasts tree lined sidewalks, diverse architecture and elegant homes. The tour will begin in the UNA Tennis Courts parking lot on Hermitage Dr. Walk by 29 beautifully restored houses that originally comprised the Walnut Street Historic District and were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Parking available at tennis courts on Hermitage Drive.
April 28 – Florence City Cemetery: 705 E. College Street, Florence AL 35630 or entrances on Tennessee Street
The tour of the Florence City Cemetery, established in 1818, features many unique headstones and famous gravesites among the rolling hills and towering trees. Florence City Cemetery contains graves belonging to early settlers, two former governors in the O’Neal family, along with other prominent community leaders and families.
May 5 – Forks of Cypress: Directions to the site are as follows: take Cox Creek Pkwy. to Jackson Rd. and turn right (no traffic signal at intersection) and turn right at the dead end.
The Forks of Cypress Plantation was one of the oldest antebellum mansions in Alabama. It was built in 1822 by James Jackson, one of the first settlers in Lauderdale County and a friend of Andrew Jackson. Bring your lawn chairs for the beginning portion of the tour. Park along the road or enter the gate to park in the field leading to the columns.