Preserving Historic Buildings

Planning the Future of Downtown's Historic Buildings

The historic buildings and homes in downtown Huntsville are important part of the city's charm, culture, and southern heritage. Three of these major structures are in transition, and we want to know your ideas on what should happen next with these buildings. The two school properties are listed on the State of Alabama's historic register, and approval for renovations must be granted by the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission. The bank building is listed on the National Historic Register.

First National Bank of Alabama on Jefferson Street.

1836One of Huntsville's most iconic and recognizable structures, this Greek Revival bank was built on the Courthouse Square in 1835. It served as a bank until 2010, when Regions Bank deeded the property for community use via an arrangement with the Historic Preservation Authority. The City needs a plan and funding for the building's use and maintenance. What do you think should happen to the building?





East Clinton Elementary School on East Clinton Street in Old Town.

1938The site of the first school to be built in Huntsville, East Clinton Elementary is the third school structure on the property (see timeline of photos at the bottom of the page). Built in 1926 in the Art Deco style, it closed in 2012. Huntsville City Schools would like to sell the property to help fund capital improvements in other areas. It also costs the school system about $39,000 - $42,000 per year just to keep the building in its current state. The school system is asking $1,564,000 million for the 3.62 acre property. The building has 39,100 SF under cover.



Annie Merts Center

1836 Home to the Huntsville City Schools administrative offices, this former school building sits on the corner of Randolph and White Streets. Built in 1928 in the Renaissance Revival style, it served as a high school. In 1987, the building was converted into administrative offices. Huntsville City Schools is considering selling the property along with the nearby parking lot across White Street.





Evolution of Education on Clinton Avenue


1882Huntsville’s first public school building was built in 1882 on the site of the present East Clinton Elementary School.














This larger brick building was erected only 20 years later in 1902 on the same East Clinton Avenue site as the first frame building.This larger brick building was erected only 20 years later in 1902 on the same East Clinton Avenue site as the first frame building.









By 1938 the East Clinton Avenue site had yet another school, this Art Deco style building, which is still in use as East Clinton Elementary School.



By 1938 the East Clinton Avenue site had yet another school, this Art Deco style building, which was used as East Clinton Elementary School until June 2012.









Campaign: Preserving Historic Buildings

Retail

In all of the great bustling cities I've been too, there are three things I've noted. They successfully combine shops with local flavor and popular retail stores along with walker/bicycle-friendly city centers. I think popular retail stores in a non-traditional setting are key, Local shops are nice but expensive. places like Trader Joe's and Urban Outfitters, and even drug stores and Subways bring people and money. And ...more »

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Year Round Farmer's Market

I would like to see the Clinton Street School converted into a year round. heated and cooled Market for locally grown and Cottage Produced Foods. A place to stroll and enjoy all year round. There could also be a community children's garden on the grounds. Children could be encouraged to garden and learn healthy ways to eat.

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Gigabit Internet for Huntsville

Huntsville is a technology center that is teeming with all types of technology companies. Huntsville should pursue something similar to what Chattanooga did with their Gigibit Internet network that their electric company EPB did while modernizing their electric network. If Huntsville established a similar network it could attract internet startup's to the Valley. Chattanooga has already seen results of their work with ...more »

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East Clinton building as residential or assisted living center

School site could be developed as townhouses, using the original school building as a community center or similar purpose for the residents. It could also be developed for those seeking downsizing with the school building as a dining, medical, and social center in an assisted living setting.

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The old Regions Bank building

Use the old Bank for meetings, patries etc. This building should be shared with the public, this idea has already been instituted but was never nurtured, many clients were lost due to lack of action. The building should also be included on the city and county school field trip iist. Run this properly and you will result in more and more people downtown.

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California Street includes Historic Residences & Other Old Homes

Most of California Street is lined with residences. There is the neighborhood school and the hospital. Both sides of California have dangerously narrow sidewalks and this is an active pedestrian area for people of all ages. Finding a safe level area for walking, running or bicycling typically involves having to cross or to use California Street to continue onto the other level areas of the neighborhood. The west side ...more »

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Arcade/Indie Film Theater

By day, an arcade for families to have something else to do together downtown besides feeding the ducks and fish. Arcades are making a comeback on the nostalgia factor for 30 something parents who spent all their time in arcades as children. And this will be a pleasent alternative to Chuckie Cheese! By night, an Indie Film theater. That Huntsville doesn't already have one of these astounds me. Indie Film theaters ...more »

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Providing Non-Profits with a Rent-Free Venue

Would it not be great to use a section of buildings such as the Old Regions Bank, the Merts Center, or East Clinton School for rent-free use to non-profits for meetings of groups such as our poetry and writers groups; or as a venue for our visiting writers? Reservations would be first come, first served, with a set date or dates for making these reservations every 6 months. Kitchen privileges ...more »

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Huntsville Ballet

Huntsville Ballet Company and school (Community Ballet) is looking to relocate to the downtown area. The addition of a educational arts insitution (Huntsville Ballet) to a downtown location would bring up to 2000 more people downtown.

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Big Spring Park

I'd like to see a Merry Go Round (Carousel) in the park at a family friendly charge to ride.

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Big Spring Park Preservation

Zone the park as a historical zone so that that there can no further infringement, new buildings, or expansions of present buildings.

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