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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I recommend "Die Like Men"

I have just finished a new novel which I highly recommend, especially if you have an interest in civil war history:

Tim Kent's "Die Like Men", $19.95 published by Bluewater Publications, is a historical novel portraying the Civil War battles of Franklin and Nashville and the events leading up to these tragic slaughters. Generals Hooke, Forrest, Cheatham, Brown, Cleburne, Lee, Smith, Thomas, Schofield, Opdycke, Wilson, Shy, and others come alive. Author Kent obviously lives and breathes the lives of these officers since he demonstates an intimate knowledge of their personalities and backgrounds. Although we know the outcomes of those battles, Tim makes the story live and writes in such a way that one looks forward to each new page. Sparingly the language is raw where needed; omiting that would be an injustice to history. The chapters alternate between the CSA and the USA plans. Mr. Kent presents a balanced description that is fair to both sides of the conflict. He adeptly shows how certain subordinate decisions drastically affected the outcome. You can sample his book at his blog: I eagerly look forward to the "histories" of other battles by this exciting young historian.

© 2012 Dr. David R. Curott
Author of “Signs of the Past”

Sunday, September 4, 2011


The Trenholm High School 

reunion was celebrated in Tuscumbia on Friday, September 3, 2011.

At 1 p.m. a new marker was installed near the corner of High Street on Trenholm Heights Drive in memory of the High School which closed in 1969.

The efforts of the Trenholm Alumni Association and the Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation are to be applauded.

The alumni attending the ceremony demonstrated great pride.  It was wonderful to hear the stories and see the spirit of the Trenholm High School graduates. The School was named for its third principal.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cotton Mills of East Florence

Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, Florence erected a new sign in East Florence telling the history of the Cotton Mills Those mills played such an important part in the Florence economy during the early part of the 20th century

The Cherry Mill stood abandoned for decades until its demolition several years ago.  Before it was torn down, I often speculated what an interesting shopping mall could be created in the picturesque building. Many of the old New England towns have been rejuvenated by such use of old structures. However the demolition ended those thoughts.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Frank Lloyd Wright House in Alabama

The Rosenbaum House is not as old as many of this area's mansions, however it certainly is unique.

This house is of interest to people all over the world because it was designed by the controversial architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It does not YET have a roadside historical sign, however its importance guarantied it a place in my book "Signs of the Past".  Near the front door is a plaque and that served as a "sign" for the book. The Florence Historical Board is planning to add a "sign" in the 2014.

Stanley Rosenbaum was a young professor at, what is now called, the University of North Alabama.  His parents had the house built in 1940 for the young newlyweds Stanley and Mildred and as their family grew, Wright added an addition in 1948. In 1978 the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was obtained by the city of Florence in 1999, restored to its original condition, and then opened as a museum in 2002.  It is the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Alabama and the only Wright structure in the Southeast open to the public. 

Frank LLoyd Wright enormously influenced the architectual world  but because of the repairs and renovations needed by many of his designs I somewhat question his engineering ability. Certainly he was a very influential and talented artist.

If you haven't visited this unique home, you must put it on your "bucket list".

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I moved to Florence in 1975; hence I missed the horrible excitement on that day in 1966 when the "Forks" burned down from a lightning strike.  Word of the fire rapidly spread and people say "it seemed the whole town drove out to see the flaming embers".

The Forks of Cypress roadside sign is relatively new, having been installed in October 2010 by the town of Florence.  Interestingly the sign contained some unforeseen errors.

The title was supposed to read "Forks of Cypress" but said "Florence, Alabama" instead. More serious, the bottom note erroneously said "erected by .... the city of Athens".

  A new sign was promised but was not in place when my book "Signs of the Past" was sent to press.  Hence I only included the body of the sign in the book without the incorrect phrases.

The corrected sign is now in place on Jackson Rd.

I wonder how many people know that just about all thoroughbred horses today trace their lineage to Glencoe at the "Forks of Cypress".  That's quite a  legacy !

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Run over" TOM CLARK

Mountain Tom Clark

I would guess that the most famous (infamous) sign in my book is that of the outlaw who boasted that "no one would run over Tom Clark".  After being apprehended and hung, Tom was buried under the street so that everyone could "run over" him.  Some historians suspect that Tom's family may have surreptitiously dug him up at night to be "planted" elsewhere.  Whatever the truth, it makes a great legend.     
On page 117, because there is no known photograph of Tom Clark., I also included a wonderful picture of the Florence Marshal William Blair who apprehended "Mountain" Tom. Blair's photograph was received through the kindness of my friend Amy Fulmer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Good "Signing" at Cold Water Books

I had a great time signing my book at
Cold Water Books in Tuscumbia, June 25th.

It's a wonderful way to meet interesting people and so many people were from elsewhere, coming here for the June 23-26 Helen Keller Festival.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday Signing at Cold Water Books

I am very much looking forward to being at Cold Water Books in Tuscumbia, Saturday, June 25.
I'll be signing my book between noon and 3 p.m. and expect to meet many nice people during the Helen Keller Festival.

Helen is featured on pages 88 & 89 in my book.  Her photo and Ivy Green cottage appear on page 88.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Civil War

The "Civil War" still captures our interest 150 years afterward. We are only a couple generations removed from this tragedy which deeply affected the South.  David Gregg, a local historian, will present a talk discussing the Civil War in the Shoals on Friday June 24, 3:00 p.m. at Coldwater  Bookstore in Tuscumbia .  The effect of the war can be seen in so many local places. My fellow author Tim Kent has an interesting presentation on the origins of the Confederate flag at his blog at

Page 34 of my  "Signs of the Past" features the Dred Scott marker on Pine Street, Florence. The Supreme Court decision denying Scott his freedom enraged the North and increased North-South tensions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Capture of John Murrell" marker

On page 12 is the marker describing the "Capture of John Murrell - Natchez Trace Outlaw - 1834".
A friend phoned me and said she remembers a movie made around 1960 which was the story of John Murrell.  She said there is a poster for that movie in the visitor center in Collinwood.  Next time I'm up that way, I'll stop and look for it.  A few days after hearing of the poster, I recounted this story to another friend and she said "I was in that movie!".  It seems that she had won a local contest as a 16 year old, and was dressed up in period clothes and appeared in the movie.  Isn't it a small world.  She said she had looked for years for a copy of that movie with no luck.  The movie  "Natchez Trace"  (1960)  starred Zachary Scott.

Wouldn't it be great to get a copy of that movie!

I've been told the rights were purchased by a French company and the movie is unavailable now in the states. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Signs of the Past" started as hobby

Started as a hobby.  Photographed one historical Marker in Florence, then added several nearby signs.  Since I enjoy photography, I decided to get all the roadside historical markers in my town of Florence.  That was so much fun, my wife and I decided to include all of Lauderdale County. When that was finished we continued into Colbert County.  Early on, I tried to get an accompanying photo to illustrate the subject of each sign.  That's when creativity really kicked in.  For example, what should accompany a Waterloo sign describing the "Trail of Tears"?  I might have used a painting of Native Americans, or a map of the "Trail" , however I decided upon a quote of Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher, who witnessed the Choctaw "removals":

“ In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country.  " To be free ," he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We ... watch the expulsion ... of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples.” 
                                                     - -  Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America

"Signs of the Past" photo