March 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Donna Castellano

Donna CastellanoBooks and monographs have their place in the interpretation and study of history, but they aren’t the only way to understand our past or present. We’ll take a virtual walking tour to learn how wars, economic booms, or intellectual shifts affected our city. The appearances of Huntsville’s antebellum (and postbellum) homes and commercial buildings, help us understand why these structures are literally “works” of local–and even national–history.

As a reforming academic, our speaker’s preferred classrooms are the sidewalks and streets of the Twickenham, Old Town, and Five Points historic districts, or those around our downtown courthouse square. With her, we’ll see the work of history built into structures, centuries and decades ago. Here’s a Gothic Revival style church that survived the Union occupation–and one that didn’t. Here’s a house built by a former soldier who enjoyed his time in Huntsville during the war so much that he returned with his family to stay. Here’s a pristine Greek Revival style bank building dating from c. 1835, serving as a commissary during the war, and still in commercial use.

Join us for a different approach to history: a look at how Huntsville’s architectural features can inform our past and future. And for those who wish to take an actual stroll, we’ll see some of these same sites on Saturday, March 21, departing at 11am from Harrison Brothers Hardware.

Donna Castellano has spent the past thirty years researching, writing and preserving Alabama history. She holds an M.A. degree in history from the University of Alabama-Huntsville, with a specialization in the antebellum South and a concentration in political science and art history. She began her professional career as Instructor in History at UAH, then found her calling in a community classroom, dedicated to the preservation of Alabama’s material culture. Donna is the Executive Director of the Historic Huntsville Foundation (HHF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of our area historic resources. She also serves on the board of Alabama Heritage, a history journal published by the University of Alabama. As part of that journal’s state bicentennial content, Donna wrote an in-depth architectural and cultural profile of the Bibb House on Williams Street. Her credits include “Through the Garden Gate: The Gardens of Historic Huntsville,” as well as HHF’s well-received creative series entitled “Color Me, Huntsville.” Her current work involves Huntsville’s sites related to the centennial of women’s suffrage.