The Arab Historic Village is ideal for school groups to visit. We encourage teachers to arrange a tour of the Village where students will learn first-hand what life was like in the 1880-1940 era, including going to school. The current cost is only $5 per student which includes a snack. Park facilities are available for a sack lunch.

In cooperation with the City of Arab, the Arab Historical Society continues to develop the Arab Historic Village in Arab City Park as a tribute to the pioneer-spirited people who settled and built this area into the prosperous, community-minded place it is today.

Development of the Historic Village was started in 1991 as a Centennial project of the Historical Society At the present time, ten buildings have been completed. They have been furnished with items through the 1940’s and portray a North Central Alabama rural community of that time.

The City and the Society invite you to visit the Village. The buildings are open March-October on Thursdays & Fridays of each week from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, and Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The Village opens the fourth Friday evening in November in conjunction with the lighting ceremony of “Christmas In The Park,” featuring “Santa In The Park.” Times for “Santa In The Park” begin at 6:00 pm and close at 9:00 pm for four consecutive weekends on Friday and Saturday. If you are visiting Arab at other times and would like to visit the Village, you may call 256-586-6397 or 256-550-0290.

During special events such as “Back When Day” held the last Saturday in April, visitors interact with volunteers quilting, grinding cornmeal, blacksmithing, teaching school the way it used to be, playing checkers in the country store, and telling stories about “things back when.“ Crafts are provided for the children and local groups perform Blue Grass and Southern Gospel. Food is available like pintos and turnip greens.

“Arab Community Fair” comes the second Saturday in September. Crafters come in from all over, demonstrating their skills and displaying their wares. There is food, fun and excellent entertainment. Vendors are welcome. They may call (256) 586-6397 or (256) 550-0290 for an application.

On Friday after Thanksgiving, the magic of “Santa In The Park” comes to this historic setting. For four consecutive weekends, families enjoy a full evening of excitement visiting with Santa, making pictures, doing crafts and enjoying the beautifully lit Village Park. The children get “reindeer food” in the Grist Mill and may purchase “reindeer shoes” in the Blacksmith Shop. Shirley Gullion makes sure there is plenty of Christmas music in the Rice church, along with special groups that entertain nightly. Elvin Light’s Museum is running over, doing what it does best-telling Arab's story!

The Rice Church may be reserved for singings and weddings for a nominal fee of $100.

Contact Info

To schedule a tour, or to reserve the Rice Church, please call Juanita Edmondson (256-586-6397 or 256-550-0290).

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Historical Buildings

The Elvin Light Museum

Elvin Light's dream to develop a museum led to a lifetime of collecting local artifacts from the years he knew best. With donations and help from volunteers, his dream became a reality in 1998 in the form of the Elvin Light Museum. It offers many interesting insights into Arab’s past. The museum contains displays depicting various occupations and household areas with furnishings from original businesses or typical furnishings for the times. A large number of tools and other items are displayed throughout the Museum.

The Hunt School

This two-room school for grades 1-6, named for Jesse and Sarah Hunt, was built in the Strawberry Community in 1935, and donated to the Historical Society in 1990 by Bobby Miller. The Society moved it to Arab City Park and restored it as a Centennial project. It became the first installment of Arab’s Historic Village. Visitors get a real taste of early education in the area before cafeterias and running water.

The Rice Church

Rice Church, formerly known as Liberty Church was built around 1911 as a Primitive Baptist Church in the Rice Community. It was donated to the Arab Historical Society in 1993 by the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church and moved to the Historic Village at Arab City Park. Restored by Society members and volunteers, it officially opened in October, 1995 with a Sacred Harp Singing. Mrs. Shirley Gullion is a regular performer there, giving visitors some Southern Gospel, beautiful piano, and soul-stirring dulcimer. Children appreciate her renditions of the folk songs they have long loved.

Smith's Country Store

Smith's Country Store was constructed in 1997 as a vintage 1930-1940 country store by the Arab Historical Society. It represented area stores during a time when supermarkets and specialty- type stores had not yet come on the scene and is stocked with a variety of donated items from all over the mountain similar to those purchased in country stores . Smith’s Country Store is named for Guy and Mary Smith who worked on many projects in the Village. During “Santa In The Park,” and on some other special days, baked items, cider and other goodies are sold, especially RCs and moonpies!

Ruth Homemakers Cluhouse

The Clubhouse was built in the late 1930’s by the men of the Ruth community who decided to each donate a tree and provide a meeting place for their ladies to hold Home Demonstration club meetings. In addition to holding meetings in their building, activities such as quilting, knitting, mattress making and canning took place. The building was donated to the Arab Historical Society and opened on September 8, 2001.

The Boyd Farmhouse

The Boyd Farmhouse was built by Matthew Allen Boyd and wife Eletter Kennedy Boyd who came to Brindley Mountain and homesteaded 160 acres of land on a ridge that would later become part of the town of Arab.

Their youngest daughter, “Miss Lola” (Boyd ) as she was fondly called, was a retired school teacher who lived all her 99 years in the house. She willed it to the citizens of Arab to be received and restored by the Historical Society. This house has the traditional L-shape, as did many homes of the period. It contains a hall, 4 rooms and 2 porches, sixteen-foot ceilings, and an original front door with sidelights. The house is decorated in early 40’s style, after electricity, but before many other modern conveniences. As you enter the large, dine-in kitchen, you can almost smell cornbread baking in the old wooden cook stove.

Westbrook Well and Smoke House

Lelton and Faye Westbrook had plans for several years to have his father’s combination well/smoke house moved to the Historic Village as a part of the Boyd Homestead. Before the move could take place, the old house that had so faithfully served the Westbrook family fell into disrepair. It was decided that a new well and smokehouse would be constructed, just like the old one, with Lelton and Faye donating all usable parts of the old one, as well as many new ones. Several other Historical Society members donated time and money and now the Westbrook Well / Smoke House becomes the first installment of out-buildings to accompany the Boyd Farmhouse in the Homestead.

The Smalley Grist Mill

When newcomers moved to an area in the early days, one of the first things they did was to find a grist mill and blacksmith shop. The Historic Village wouldn’t be complete without both of them.

Area citizens donated the old lumber used to give the Smalley Grist Mill authenticity and Mr. Jerrel Smalley donated the grist mill equipment. Everything works perfectly, and as in days of old, a visit today yields the smell of freshly ground cornmeal. At Christmas, children are delighted to receive packets of “reindeer food” from the old Grist Mill!

A side shed to the Grist Mill houses the “Cobb” family’s wagon. Mr. Craton Cobb made a special trip to Albertville, Alabama in 1930 to buy the John Deere wagon from Thompson Furniture and Hardware Company. Cost was $140. Because of tender care, it served his family well through work and play for many years, after which they donated it to the Historical Society.

Phillips Blacksmith Shop

The Phillips Blacksmith Shop is also built from reclaimed lumber. Area citizens donated the equipment as Mr. Smalley did for the Smalley Grist Mill. The Village has been blessed with trained blacksmiths who fire up the pit and actually produce what would have been a tool of necessity in years gone by or an occasional pair of “reindeer shoes” for an eager youngster during “Christmas in the Park.”