2017 Eufaula Pilgrimage

The 52nd annual Eufaula Pilgrimage kicked off Friday.

Thousands of people from across the country flock to the area to tour the historic homes.

Most of these homes date back to the 1800s. But, the pilgrimage tour kicked off when one of the homes was up for auction.

“In 1965 the Shorter Mansion was on the auction block. A group of concerned citizens did not want that to happen like the beautiful house that was torn down next door and turned into an apartment complex. So, the concerned citizens bought the house and that was the start of the Eufaula Heritage Association,” said Jill Wachs, volunteer at Shorter Mansion for 9 years.

More houses followed suite after that day and now 12 homes are on the historic tour.

“As we’ve had to be sorry for the mistakes we’ve made for tearing things down, people are getting back to history which is a great thing,” said Wachs.

Volunteers love being a part of this historic experience including Eden Wood, whose been working with Shorter Mansion since she was nine.

“I’ve met tons of people and learned a ton of hospitality skills and a lot of history of Barbour county,” said Wood.

Every home has a story. The Sparks/Bennett home built in 1901 was shown briefly in the hit movie, “Sweet Home Alabama,” starring Reese Witherspoon.

“When she’s driving through, coming in from New York, the first house you get a good glimpse of is the Sparks/ Bennett home,” said Homeowner since 2008 Tara Bennett.

The Sparks/Bennett Mansion is one of the historical homes doing the candlelight tour this year.

“The nighttime ambience, of course, the candlelight makes it a little more elegant we think it makes these old homes special,” said Bennett.

Most people coming through ask about ghosts in the old homes, which this couple whose home has been part of the tour, has a permanent resident.

“The last two pilgrimages they hit the same place in the house and one woman ran out and said there’s a ghost in the house, but it’s exciting they are nice ghosts (laughs),” said Trina and Jon Sears.

To find out more information on the Eufaula Pilgrimage visit http://www.eufaulapilgrimage.com/

Categories: Alabama News