Historic Buildings and Artifacts
Councill Grave Site
The grave site of the founder and first president of Alabama A&M, William Hooper Councill and his wife Mrs. Mariah Councill.
At Dr. Councill's funeral on April 21, 1909, five thousand people attended. Including the grandchildren of the former Governor of Alabama (Clement Clay). Miss Virginia Clay and other family members rendered a song and stated, "we drop a tear on his bier and pay this tribute to his memory as one who has been a bulwark of strength to his race, and our personal friend."
William H. Councill statue
William H. Councill was a pioneer in education and became the first ex-slave in America to found and become president of an institution for higher learning known today as Alabama A&M University.
Multifaceted, Dr. Councill was also a politician, a lawyer, a civil rights leader, a church elder, editor of his own newspaper (The Herald), an author, and an international orator.
H.C. Hopkins Gate
The H.C. Hopkins Gate was a main entrance and focal point for students walking to the central portion of campus.
Named after one of the very first students to ever attend the school, and a vice-president of A&M in 1907, this gate was constructed ca. 1933 to commemorate professor Hopkins for his dedication and labor towards his beloved Alabama A&M.
Frank Lewis Gymnasium
Frank Lewis Gymnasium was built ca. 1950. This building was one of the largest facilities in the Huntsville area in the 1950's, hosting programs and musicians such as the notable Marian Anderson.
Today, the building is still being used as an alternative recreational facility for students attending Alabama A&M University.
Alabama A&M College Stadium
Alabama A&M College football stadium was constructed with concrete and stone. The outdoor facility has a 3,000 seat capacity including a press booth. This stadium was built by WPA labor in 1940.
Virginia McCormick Hospital ca. 1911
Miss. McCormick was the daughter of the famous inventor Cyrus McCormick. While traveling to Florida on an annual trip, she stopped in Huntsville for an extended stay. While in the area, she took an interest to the work being done at Alabama A&M and donated funds to build the first hospital for blacks in the county since blacks were not allowed to be treated at Huntsville Hospital. The Hospital included an operating room, a public ward, physician's office, and living quarters for nursing staff.
The Victory Bell
The Victory Bell was Alabama A&M's notification to inform students of a win at an away football game.
Its significant location, however, sits above the natural spring and is the site where thousands of African slaves traveled from the Carolinas and Virginia to be sold here and carried deeper into the South.
William Hooper Councill, his youngest brother Cicero, and their mother Mary would be among the slaves who were sold here at Green Bottom Inn's auction block.
Remnants of Green Bottom Inn
Green Bottom Inn was a famous hotel built by a Revolutionary War solider John Connelly in 1815. The hotel attracted the most notable aristocratic statesmen and politicians across the country including U.S. Presidents: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and James Monroe. President Monroe visited Huntsville to assure Alabama residents that joining the Union was a good idea, and would be entertained here in 1919.
Unfortunately, the inn burned in 1931, and all that remains is the wall seen above.
University Cemetery. Ca. 1919.
The cemetery has a total of five known graves including two of W.H. Councill's sons, Dr. William Lincoln Councill (1869-1919) and Dement Councill (1888-1919); relatives Dorothy Marie Buchanan (Oct. 27, 1912-Jan. 10, 1913) and
Waverly B. Buchanan (1882-1918); and notable Alumnus Mr. Thomas M. Elmore (Feb. 12, 1896-Sept. 26,1972).
Drake Hall, named after the fourth College President, Joseph Fannie Drake, was originally built ca. 1929. It served as the cafeteria to students attending Alabama A&M until the 1960's.
Today, the building has been converted and is used for training in Behavioral and Social Sciences.