Scenes From Hobbs & Market Streets

Scenes From Hobbs & Market Streets (HM1RO0)

Location: Athens, AL 35611 Limestone County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 48.245', W 86° 58.264'

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The First Baptist Church, organized in 1824, built a meeting house in 1826. A brick structure was erected in 1831 but was replaced with the above building in 1909. This church located on the north west corner of Clinton and Hobbs streets, was later razed and a family life center was built there. The church's present worship center built in 1995, is located on the opposite corner of Clinton and Hobbs streets.

The Athens Masonic Lodge, patterned after the Huntsville lodge of 1823, is believed to have been the first brick structure in the city. Located at the corner of Hobbs and Monroe streets, it was notable as a rare example in Alabama of "Georgian Gothic" architecture. The brick mason was James Brundidge and the architect was Hiram H. Higgins. The floor plan included a center hall, with a large meeting room occupying two-thirds of the second floor. This room was used by private and public schools and occasionally by religious congregations. The Masons used the lodge until 1912, when it was converted into a residence, complete with the addition of a brick porch across the south side. The building was razed in 1968.

Photographer W.V. Haggard climbed into the steeple of the Limestone County Courthouse to photograph the blizzard of 1894. Points of interest are the steeple of the old Methodist Church and the C.W. Raisler home next door. To its right is the Raisler Saloon and Drug Store. East of the church is the 1826 Masonic Hall.

The MacLin-Hobbs-Horton home was built in 1849. Benjamin MacLin was said to have the finest home in Athens. General James A. Garfield, who would become President Garfield in 1881, stayed in the home while participating in the court marshal proceedings against General Ivan Turchin for his actions in the 1862 sack of Athens Judge James E. Horton later bought the home and, in 1934 had it dismantled, moved, and re-erected in modified form on his plantation at Greenbrier, where it stands today.

The former Methodist Church building (ca. 1835) was one of Alabama's first brick houses of worship. A new building was completed in 1925. The old one was sold and renovated for the Ritz Theater.

In 1971 Buddy and Lib Gilbert purchased the Ritz Theater building. They restored the building's facade as closely as practicable to its original form - that of the 1835 Methodist Church. Gilbert's Furniture Company closed in 1989.

The Ritz Theater offered a free movie to any child who could pay the admission price of six RC Cola tops. This 1966 view of Marion Street shows the stores of Johnson's Beauty College, the Ritz Theater, the Ritz Coffee Shop and McMeans Furniture Store.

The Marion Street Church of Christ congregation purchased this building from Gilbert family in 1990, originally built in 1835 s the First Methodist Church. After renovation was completed it was again suitable for worship. The building to the left of the church housed the Southern Bell Telephone Company and the Limestone Democrat.

After the Hobbs home was removed, the lot remained vacant for several years. In 1955 the site was donated by the Horton family to the City of Athens for a municipal facility.
HM NumberHM1RO0
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 9:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 502646 N 3851317
Decimal Degrees34.80408333, -86.97106667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 48.245', W 86° 58.264'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 48' 14.7" N, 86° 58' 15.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)256, 205
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 123 N Marion St, Athens AL 35611, US
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