The Confederate Memorial Park is located in Chilton County Alabama and is one of the nation’s largest Civil War parks.
In the year 1964, the Alabama State Legislature established this park that encompasses the original 102 acres, where the original “home” was located.
They deemed that this site was to be “a shrine to the honor of the Alabama citizens of the Confederate Army”.
The Alabama division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy as well as the Sons of the Confederate Veterans also supported the bill, which was sponsored by the Clinton Country legislative delegation.
It is located in Chilton County, just east of I-65 off Highway 31, and is 11 miles below the city of Clanton.
The Confederate Memorial Park has quite an interesting history, as it is a lot more than just two cemeteries for the fallen Civil War soldiers.
It is also the site of the State of Alabama’s only Confederate Soldiers Home, which operated from the years 1902 through 1939.
It was a haven for disabled as well as poor and indigent veterans who had fought in this bloody and gruesome war.
However, it also served as a haven for their wives, as well as their widows that were in need.
By the mid 1890’s, most of the southern states had already established homes for their veterans of the Civil War.
But the State of Alabama had not, at least until one man finally stepped up and offered a plan.
The man was a former officer in the Confederate Army, named Jefferson Manly Falkner, who was an attorney living in Montgomery Alabama at the time.
Without his donation of 102 acres that were located near the lumber town of Mountain Creek, the Confederate Memorial Park may have never happened.
The reason this area was selected was because of its high elevation, its numerous springs, as well as its proximity to the railroad.
Mr. Falkner began to organize a fund drive for what he called a United Confederate Veterans “camp.”
By the year 1902, his efforts had raised more than $4,000, which was a lot of money for that time period.
Construction began on the genesis of what would become The Confederate Memorial Park, in April of the same year.
However, because of the number of Veterans that applied for the “camp’, Mr. Falkner turned to the state for assistance.
In October of 1903, the State of Alabama replied and took ownership of the home, and selected Mr. Falkner as the chairman of the executive committee.
Any veteran that had served in the Civil War was allowed in home, as long as they met certain requirements.
There were three requirements.
The requirements included being a resident of Alabama for two years before applying, honorable service in the Confederate Army that was documented by records, as well as an income less than $400.00.
$400.00 in that era was considered to be the poverty level.
Wives of qualified veterans were also allowed, as were their widows.
The original “home” at the Confederate Memorial Park consisted of 22 buildings that included 10 cottages.
It also had an administration building, a mess hall, as well as barns, and was built to house a maximum of 100 people.
The staff size varied depending on the occupancy, but in general it had one doctor and one nurse, two general laborers, a dairyman, and a few other laborers including cooks.
The last resident of the “home” died in the year 1934, and the three remaining windows were moved to Montgomery.
They were moved to Montgomery so they could receive better care than they were getting at the “home” at the time.
The Confederate Memorial Park was placed under the authority of the Alabama Historical Commission, in the year 1971.
The 102 acres that it sets on includes two cemeteries that contain 313 graves, and you can find the rosters of them from the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery.
There are 298 veterans buried in the park, and 15 wives of veterans buried.
There is also a Methodist Church at the park, as well as the former Mountain Creek Post Office.
The Methodist Church was built in about 1885, and the Post Office was built around 1900.
Both structures were removed from their original site and taken to the Confederate Memorial Park.
In April of 2007, a state-of-the-art museum was opened, and it is very good at detailing history for the visitors.
It walks the visitors through the life story of an average Veteran from the Confederate Army.
It takes you through their life as a recruit to that of a veteran and used several hundreds of artifacts to do it.
It is estimated that there are literally hundreds of artifacts at the museum, as well as six media stations that are interactive.
There are also numerous interpretive panels that help to tell the story.
There are two very large pavilions located in the park, as well as numerous picnic tables and grills for the public to use.
If you are a history buff on the Civil War, the Confederate Memorial Park is a must-see day trip located on the Alabama Backroads.
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