The Arab Historic Village has become one of the most widely-toured historic destinations in the Southeast. Development of the Village began in 1991 as a Centennial project to honor and pay tribute to the pioneer-spirited settlers who built this area into the prosperous, community-minded city it is today. Nestled just behind the Arab City Park, this Historical Complex showcases ten historic buildings that portray a North Central Alabama rural community of that time. All have been preserved with authentic furnishings and décor that date back to the 1880’s to 1940’s era.
The Arab Historical Society invites you to grab some friends and come take a tour of the Arab Historic Village. It’s also the ideal learning experience for school field trips. Students will learn first-hand what life was like in the 1880’s to 1940’s, including going to school in a one room schoolhouse. The current cost for a field trip is $5 per student. Covered pavilions are a few steps away at the Arab City Park so feel free to bring a sack lunch and make a day of it.
Annual Events at the Village
Back When Day and Arab Community Fair have been combined and will be held each year on the last Saturday in April. Come hear the stories of what life was like way “back when” and join in on all the Community Fun with vendors, food, entertainment and more! Visitors get to interact with volunteers as they demonstrate tasks that were necessary back in the early 1900’s to be a successful farming community; quilting, grinding cornmeal and black-smithing were certainly among the list.
In the 1935 Hunt School, you’ll get a glimpse of what it was like to go to school “back when.” Then you’ll need a break, so stop by Smiths’ Country Store and try your luck at a game of Checkers (against an opponent that’s been playing the game for decades).
Arab Historic Village
844 Shoal Creek Trail
Arab, Alabama 35016
(Adjacent to Arab City Park)
Phone: (256) 586-3866
Katie Stapler, Director
Cell: (256) 226-1493
Email Katie Stapler
Hours of Operation:
Tues-Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa in the Park – Santa’s Village
Friday-Saturday: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
2021 Santa in the Park Dates:
Santa in the Park
Nov. 26-27 | Dec. 3-4 | Dec. 10-11 | Dec. 17-18
Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, the magic of the holidays comes to the Arab Historic Village. For four consecutive weekends, and in conjunction with Christmas in the Park, Santa at the Village will run every Friday and Saturday night. Visitors come from near and far to stroll through Santa’s Village, an over-the-top display of holiday joy. You’ll meet Mr. Claus himself, so don’t forget your camera!
After meeting Saint Nick, head on over to Phillips’ Blacksmith Shop and watch ‘em work on reindeer shoes! Then, stop by Mrs. Lola Boyd’s 1890’s Farmhouse for a peek in Santa’s bedroom. After that, head on over to the Smalley Grist Mill for a bag of fresh reindeer food to take home to Dasher and Dancer and the other seven reindeer!
All historic buildings will be open and filled with people making holiday history, so come capture the spirit of Christmas this season at the Arab City Park and the Arab Historic Village. Santa’s Village is open from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., weather-permitting, starting November 26-27, and continuing December 3-4, December 10-11, and December 17-18. Admission for Santa in the Park is $6 per person. Children under 2 are free admission.
Offering interesting insight into Arab’s past, you’ll find displays that are near-perfect replicas of typical business settings from way back when. Displays of rooms representative of the homes of that era feature original furnishings and vintage pieces, and are meticulously set to depict what homes looked like all those years ago. Tools, collectibles and other items typical of the era are displayed throughout the Museum, and it’s so interesting to see how much things have changed, and how far we’ve come.
The Hunt School
This two-room school was for students in first through sixth grades. Named after Jesse and Sarah Hunt, it was built in the Strawberry Community in 1935 and was utilized until 1955. The Hunt School was donated to the Arab Historical Society in 1990 by Bobby Miller. The Society moved it to the Arab City Park and restored it as a Centennial project, and it became the first installment at the Arab Historic Village. Visitors get a glimpse of early education before there were cafeterias and running water.
The Hunt School may be reserved for receptions, reunions, birthday parties, etc. Cost is $75 plus $15 per hour employee fee. The School will easily accommodate 124 guests.
The Rice Church
The Rice Church, formerly known as Liberty Church, was built around 1911 as a Primitive Baptist Church in the Rice Community and was occupied until the 1950’s. It was donated to the Arab Historical Society in 1993 by the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, and was then moved to the Historic Village at Arab City Park. Restored by volunteers and members of the Historical Society, the church officially opened in October of 1995 with a Sacred Harp Singing.
Smiths’ Country Store
Smith’s Country Store was constructed by the Arab Historical Society in 1997 as a vintage country store, and is representative of the years between 1930 and 1940. It mirrors a typical area store before supermarkets and specialty shops came into play, and is filled with items that would have been purchased in country stores back then, but were donated from all over Brindlee Mountain and the surrounding areas instead.
When newcomers first moved to an area in the early days, one of the first things they would do was find a grist mill and blacksmith shop nearby, so the Historic Village wouldn’t be complete without them. Area citizens donated the old lumber that was used to give the Smalley Grist Mill its authenticity, and Mr. Jerrel Smalley donated the grist mill equipment. Everything works perfectly, and as in the days of old, a visit today yields the smell of freshly ground cornmeal. During the Christmas holidays, children are delighted to receive packets of “reindeer food” from the old Grist Mill.
In front of 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 & Hardware Co. The cost was $140, and because of the tender care it was given, it served his family well through work and play for many years, until it was donated to the Historical Society.
The Phillips’ Blacksmith Shop is also built from reclaimed lumber, and area citizens donated the equipment as did Mr. Smalley for the Smalley Grist Mill. The Village has been blessed with trained blacksmiths who fire up the pit from time-to-time, and actually produce what would have been a tool of necessity in years gone by.
The Blacksmith shop is also known for making Reindeer shoes during the Santa at the Park.
Westbrook Well and Smoke House
Lelton and Faye Westbrook had planned for years to have his father’s combination well and smoke house moved to the Historic Village as 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 members of the Historical Society donated time and money to the project, and so the Westbrook Well – Smoke House became the first installment of “out-buildings” to accompany the Boyd Farmhouse in the Homestead in 2010.