Century Native Elected President Of Historical Society

January 28, 2008

Jerry Simmons of Century has been elected the new president of the Escambia County (Alabama) Historical Society.

Simmons, a Century native, has been a member of the society for several years and is active in researching and writing about local history. He has been the museum voordinator at the Thomas E. McMillan Museum on the campus of Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton for nearly three years.

Simmons, also a member of the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society in Century, writes a bi-weekly column in the Tri-City Ledger. Presently he is compiling a Centennial Scrapbook for the Flomaton Centennial Committee that will be published in conjunction with Flomaton’s centennial celebration this spring. He is married to the former Dianne Gladwell of Monroeville. They each have two children and five grandchildren.

Local history has been a passion for Simmons since his retirement from Solutia in 2001. He played a crucial part in the successful effort by the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society to get “Old 100″, an antique steam locomotive once belonging to the Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company, back “home” to Century.

“The Escambia County Historical Society is about keeping history alive. That’ss why we exist. We’ve taken on a unique responsibility, that ofkeeping up with the history of Escambia County, Alabama. Our archives are a source of state-wide and local written and photographic history of Escambia County and much
of its surrounding area,” Simmons said.

“The Society is the county’s oldest historical organization…it was first organized in 1973 and has been going strong for the last 35 years. In Atmore there is the Atmore Historical Society, the only other historical organization in Escambia County, Alabama,” according to Simmons, “and word has it that Flomaton is working to create one as well. We are happy to cooperate with and help these folks if there’ss ever anything we can do.”

Simmons said that the Alabama Room, inside the Thomas E. McMillan Museum, is where the Society’s archives are located. That means the society offers a special opportunity for learning, for there are additional avenues for seeing the history of this county unfold before your eyes.

“At the museum, a visitor can see displays of fossils and artifacts ranging from whale vertebra and shark’s teeth found inside the county; to Native American tools from thousands of years back; to old-timey doctor and dentist instruments; and relics from the Confederate encampment at Pollard; the museum is a veritable treasure of which many in the county are not aware,” he said.

Free tours are available at the museum Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9a.m. until 3 p.m. Other days and hours are available by calling Simmons at 251-809-1528.

Other elected officers of the Escambia County Historical Society are Jacqueline Stone, Secretary and Librarian; Susan Crawford, Treasurer; Lydia Grimes, Publicity; and Ranella Merritt, Newsletter Editor. The Vice-President position was not filled, pending the return of Alan Robinson, who is ill and now recovering at West Florida Rehabilitation Institute in Pensacola. Interim vice-president is Darryl Searcy.


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