My name is Lauren Grace Sproull (aka Gracie) and I am the current Falcon Scholar for the Shelby County Museum & Archives! I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and I am a junior at the University of Montevallo studying History. When I graduate from Montevallo, I plan on pursuing a graduate degree with a focus in archives and preservation.
History is a passion of mine and it has always fascinated me. I can remember exploring my family’s home in Birmingham and discovering my great grandfather’s blueprints to the home in an old built-in drawer in the dining room. This document fascinated me, and only sparked my curiosity for the hidden treasures which lay “forgotten”. I was fortunate enough to have a grandfather with a passion for our family history, and he made resources for researching ours available to me at a young age and would tell me stories of family we would have never known without his time spent collecting these precious memories and histories.
Through archival work, the histories of not just individual families, but us all can be preserved and admired for years to come. Here at the Shelby County Museum & Archives, I feel like I, and all of the volunteers, are helping so many people connect back to their roots through every document scanned or photographed. Helping people connect to their family or their home’s past is such a personal, powerful thing that I feel honored to be a part of.
I encourage anyone who has the time to come out and volunteer to do so! I may not be from Columbiana or Shelby County, but I am glad to be here and learn about its history and help the community have this resource available to anyone and everyone.
Old-time traditions will be on display October 14 at the Shelby Iron Works for the annual Fall Festival. This family-friendly event will offer fun and educational activities for people of every age.
The festival, which has been going on for about 27 years, always draws a great crowd and features many things to see and do.
“People coming to the Fall Festival can expect to see a variety of old time activities,” said Frank Hebert, Historic Shelby Association President. “There will be antique tractors on display with a tractor parade around noon. We will be squeezing and cooking sorghum syrup, running the antique sawmill and giving blacksmith demonstrations. We will have live music, a variety of vendors, and hamburgers and hot dogs. There will be face painting and a bouncy house for the kids.”
This year’s festival will feature theater students from Calera High School playing the roles of people that worked at the Iron Works so long ago.
Vendors are welcome for $15. If you are interested in being a vendor for this event, contact Hebert at 205-531-9298 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Parking and admission are free but donations are welcome. Both the Iron Works Museum and Industrial Museum will be open for tours at no charge,” Hebert said. “The festival will begin at 9a.m. and last until around 3p.m.”
The Shelby Iron Works has a rich industrial history, and was home to what was the largest charcoal blast furnace in Alabama. It was established in 1846 by Horace Ware. The Fall Festival provides an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the coal industry, which was instrumental in the development of Shelby County.