Etowah Historical Society

since 1954

"With the ropes of the past...

ring the bells of the future"


We hope you take time to visit our website and consider becoming a member of the Etowah Historical Society...    The Society meets every 2nd Friday night each month at Elliott Community Center, corner of 29th St. & Meighan Blvd. at 6:00pm...    Each month we have an enjoyable presentation and refreshments.     Come and enjoy!!! ......


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Check our photos page HERE

NOTE: The Society does not have genealogical research materials. Instead, check  with the Northeast Alabama Genealogical Society at:   www.neags.com

The Etowah Historical Society has been around since 1954 when Mary Harrison Lister and several others gave birth to this new organization. Over the years there has been many changes in the Society. At one time you had to be voted in and the meeting was held in the homes of the members.

Today, anyone can become a part of the Society for just $10 a year. We now meet in our own 6,000 square feet facility at Elliott Community Center. Since 2008, we have accumulated a mass of historical collections and information of this area.

For example, we now have many exhibits on display, a large history library, over 15,000 digitized local historical photos, genealogy information and nearly all issues of the Gadsden Times dating from 1867 to a few months ago.

We have grown from 50 to near 150 members and we are still growing! We actually are running out of space and rooms. Plans are being made to get a bigger facility and museum. Stay tune for this!

We are located at Elliott Community Center, 29th Street and Meighan Blvd. (U.S. Hwy. 431) and open 10 AM till 4 PM.    Come and enjoy!!!


Etowah Historical Society & Etowah Heritage Museum

The Etowah Historical Society had its beginning in 1953 as an outgrowth of a committee who placed two markers at Black Creek. These were to the memory of Confederate heroine Emma Sansom and a soldier killed named Robert Turner.

Under gunfire, teenage heroine Emma Sansom guided Gen. Forrest's troops across swollen Black Creek on May 2, 1863 after the main bridge was burned by Federal officers. The following day, in part because of Emma’s bravery, Confederate Forces captured Union Col. Streight and his entire command of 1,466 men near Cedar Bluff. Of interests, Emma Sansom’s mother was a niece of Chief James Vann.

It was at this time that these committee members and others interested realized the need of an organization for research, and especially for maintaining memorials. So with the marker committee as a nucleus, the Etowah Historical Society came into being the following year. To this day, it is the oldest continuous historical society in the state of Alabama.

When it was formed, members met in each other's homes and took turns with refreshment and programs but times change and the historical society had growing pains. Over the years there have been many changes in the Society. At one time you had to be voted in.

In the last four years, it has grown to a small museum with many exhibits on display, a large history library with many Native American books and materials, over 25,000 digitized historical photos, genealogy information and nearly all issues of the Gadsden Times dating from 1867.

The Jerry B. Jones Historical Research library contains documentary collections of Etowah County, the surrounding area and Northeast Alabama. It also is a depository that preserves all types of historical research materials relating to this area. It includes historical files donated by Jerry B. Jones, as well as manuscript collections, books, periodicals, rare maps, newspapers, audio and video materials, and photographs. There are also computers, rare books, files, and various materials for serious historical research.

Over the years the Etowah Historical Society has released many publications including books, CDs, newsletters, etc. on the history of Etowah County’s people, places and things.

The Etowah Heritage Museum has accumulated a mass of historical collections and information of this area. Our museum includes displays of local history, Civil War, Indians, WWII, Alabama Power Company, much rare & valuable plantation era furniture and more. There is also a display of the rich Black heritage that goes many years back from before and during the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movements, to the famous singers and professionals of today.

The Society also assists in getting appropriate places in Etowah County designated by historical markers or identified as historic sites and listed on State and National Registers.

Many special events to the public are available. Our monthly meetings offer many well-known speakers of historical topics. On each Tuesday we have a Coffee Club where just like 1st grade you can show & tell or come ask the history experts for an answer on a historical question.

Twice a year, the Society has tours to historical places near our area. A few sample trips from the past have been to Fort Payne, Ohatchee, Cherokee County, Marshall County as well as other historic places.

Looking toward the future, the Etowah Heritage Museum is undergoing plans to build a Trail of Tears Interpretive Center. This will memorialize both Cherokee and Creeks. The Society supports research on the Trail of Tears sites in this area of which both were removed from Etowah County.

Also, the Society is planning a new museum and has been collecting early transportation related items, all to be placed at Attalla’s Junctions Park. So far collections has included an old Chessie caboose, 1922 L&N passenger train, 1880’s haunted truss bridge, 1916 lightweight trolley, 1934 Birney trolley, five log cabins and more.


Etowah Historical Society NEWSLETTER

The Etowah Historical Society publishes a monthly newsletter, highlighting interesting historical information, introducing new research and informing the membership of upcoming events and activities. Become a member to receive this!


The Etowah Historical Society needs information about our past for publication in the newsletter.     

E-mail to

to submit historical information for publication.

 To become a member of the Etowah Historical Society!  Click here print & mail

The membership form is in PDF format. You will need Acrobat Reader to view it. You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader free of charge from Adobe's website.





ducational Programs- Presentations of historical interest. Current programs of history in the making.

istorical Markers - Markings of historical homes, cemeteries, schools, rivers, trails, public buildings

ignificant Preservations - Preservation of historical buildings, homes & landmarks

The Etowah

Historical Society

Elliott Community Center

2829 W. Meighan Blvd

Gadsden, Alabama 35902






The Society meets every 2nd Friday night each month at Elliott Community Center, corner of 29th Street & Meighan Blvd. at 6:00pm.

Each month we have an enjoyable presentation and refreshments.

Come and enjoy!!!