Town of Columbia Documentary coming soon to YouTube

If you ever wanted to learn more about the Town of Columbia’s extensive history, now you have the chance. 

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“There is over 200 years of history in that town,” Karen Mann, education specialist for Columbia Historical Society, said. “It is as old as the state, and it probably had a settlement before Alabama existed. A lot of firsts came out of Columbia, Alabama, and we are very proud of that.” 

During Tuesday’s regular Houston County Commission meeting, Mann and other members of the organization were on hand to give a presentation about a documentary that highlights the town’s history. 

The film, titled “Columbia Alabama: Understanding an Innovative Past to Inspire the Future,” is narrated by Tim Barber and features several society members who go into detail about the town’s historical aspects. 

Some of the history highlighted in the documentary include the significance behind some of the town’s buildings, and the Anglin brothers, who robbed a bank in the town in 1958 before robbing several others all across the country and later on escaping from Alcatraz. 

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Mann, a teacher in the Houston County Schools system, joined the society in 2016 after area geologist Elliot Whitton brought rocks from Columbia to her class. Shortly after getting involved with the group, she took thousands of students to the town in the years that followed so they could learn all about its history. 

Bringing the students in is how the idea of filming a documentary came together. 

“We had the University of Alabama Archaeological Foundation come and look at the town,” Mann said. “We definitely knew we had something to talk about.” 

From there, the Wiregrass Foundation provided funding for the documentary and Jeremiah Stager from the University of Alabama’s Office of Archeological Research helped create it for the society. 

While no timetable was given, it will be available to view on YouTube in the future. 

“It’s got a Ken Burns type of feel to it and we hope that everyone enjoys it,” Mann said. “Eventually, we will have this up on YouTube and it’s mainly for educational purposes.” 

Houston County Commission Chairman Brandon Shoupe praised the organization for its continued work in preserving Columbia’s history. 

“We appreciate all of the members of the Columbia Historical Society for preserving the past because it is incredibly important,” Shoupe said. “When you look at countries that have centuries of history, it’s easy to forget that we have a lot of history right in our own backyard.”

In other action Tuesday, the county commission: 

— Proclaimed April 23-29 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

— Proclaimed May 8-12 as Small Business Week. 

— Proclaimed April 23-29 as National Library Week.

— Entered into a federal aid construction agreement with ALDOT for the funding of the resurfacing project on South Broadway Street. 

— Entered into a federal aid construction agreement with ALDOT for the funding of the resurfacing project Taylor Road. 

— Entered into a federal aid construction agreement with ALDOT for the funding of the resurfacing project on Campbellton Highway. 

— Approved resolution for the resurfacing of Ashford Road from Ben Ivey Road to Midland Street (MPO Funds). 

— Approved resolution for the resurfacing of Enon Road from Ashford Road to Alabama Highway 52 east (MPO Funds). 

— Approved a request from Wicksburg Youth Athletic Association for in-kind services for their recreation park. 

— Approved a request to increase the water lab testing fee from $15 to $20. 

— Adopted a resolution approving the issuance of a tax-exempt revenue obligation by the Cooperative District of Southeast Alabama and accompanied approval by Chairman related to refinance of district’s bond related to ACOM facilities. 

— Approved budget amendment for Youth Services Facilities due to increase in cost of services provided. 

— Approved budget amendment for Pistol Permit Grant Reimbursement Fund. 

— Approved budget amendment for contract services. 

— Approved budget amendment for revenues from municipalities. 

— Approved budget amendment for materials and supplies. 

— Awarded bid for crushed limestone to lowest bidder meeting specs (Johnston Trucking). 

— Approved a request to sell one lot of sorted metal tin on GovDeals. 

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