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Councilwoman Lynn Landers founds Phil Campbell Arts, Historical Society

Lynn Landers has big dreams for promoting history and art in Phil Campbell. She, along with other interested locals, are forming the Phil Campbell Arts and Historical Society, a civic organization in the process of seeking non-profit status.

Landers, a Phil Campbell councilwoman, said she has been collecting items for years. Of interest are old yearbooks, photos and other memorabilia and artifacts. The biggest issue is raising money.

“We aren’t going to be selling anything to do that,” said Landers. “We’re going to hold fundraisers as well as accept donations.”

Another of the group’s founding members is Phil Campbell native Virginia Burks.

“I was raised here,” said Burks. “The town is totally different from the way it used to be. I think preserving our past is very important, and it’s exciting to work toward remembering those we have lost and the ones who came before us.

“Someone showed me a picture by the railroad trestle. There used to be a pond and lake there, and people went swimming and had fun.”

The first official planning meeting was July 22 at the Phil Campbell Community Center. The group is in negotiations to obtain a local building to use as a museum to display historic items as well as provide space for area artists and writers to display their work.

Landers said they also hope to offer computers with internet access to be a resource for the community.

“We want everyone who is interested to be involved,” said Landers. “Years ago, people came through on the train and got off in Phil Campbell to ride rowboats and participate in other fun activities. There used to be a resort on the north end of town.”

Most people, Landers said, don’t know a lot about the town’s history. “Not only is it important to remember our past, but it can also inspire us as we move forward and think about what we want to do to make Phil Campbell even better,” Landers said.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” said Chris Ozbirn, Franklin County Archives director. “You need to know where you come from — what happened, what worked and what didn’t work. I live and work every day to preserve the history of the county. This will be a wonderful asset to our community.”

Phil Campbell Mayor McQuary is also throwing his support behind the fledgling group.

“It’s going to help preserve the history of our town,” said McQuary. “It will be a source of pride and inspiration for our area, as well as provide an interesting place for people passing through to stop and learn about our community.”

Landers said in addition to donating items or money, people can also help by spreading the word and by volunteering once the museum is running.

The first fundraiser will be a Christmas Bazaar, which will be held Nov. 13 at the Phil Campbell Community Center.

Landers said the bazaar will sell baked goods and welcome one vendor per brand name. Handmade craft items will also be welcomed. Yard sale booths will not be allowed. A relay race of 5K might also be held in conjunction with the event.

Landers said about two dozen people are interested in becoming charter members of the new organization. Members will not have to pay dues, but they will be expected to participate in fundraising efforts. “This will be a form of giving back to the town that has raised so many,” she said. “I have dreamed of this for years.”

Those interested in more information about the Phil Campbell Arts and Historical Society can contact Landers by phone at 256-810-4572 or by email at bamagal83@yahoo.com.

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