By Donna Ballard
This column is for the purpose of sharing information about historical preservation of Lawrence County history. Our area has been fortunate to have many individuals and organizations over the years with an interest in saving information and places of historical interest.
The Lawrence County Historical Society is a non-profit organization that was chartered in 1973. The purpose of this Society is to find and document historical information of this area, to identify and preserve historical properties of value, and to encourage the interest of people of all ages in the history of our county and state.
The Society currently owns the 1884 Longino House and the 1934 old Monticello Elementary School.
Earlier this year, a thrift store named the Magnolia Market of the Lawrence County Historical Society was opened in downtown Monticello for the purpose of raising funds for continued historical preservation of these buildings.
The Lawrence County Civic Center is also a non-profit organization that operates the beautiful 1926 former two-story school building in downtown Monticello as a rental facility and maintains the Lawrence County Regional History Museum. The building and museum are open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. This exceptional museum is open to the public at no charge and is maintained through donations and fundraising events. Both the Civic Center and museum had beginnings in the 1990s by dedicated citizens to preserve our historical heritage.
The museum is a separate non-profit organization. The Town of Monticello owns and maintains the Lawrence County Civic Center building. There is a steering committee that oversees the operations of the Civic Center and museum. The people in these organizations work as volunteers to share these treasures with the community. A popular grand Gala is held every year to help raise funds for maintaining the building.
Another quality property regarding history in Monticello is Cooper’s Ferry Park, located behind the Civic Center, on the banks of the Pearl River. The park derives its name from the 1812 ferry of Samuel Cooper, which crossed the Pearl River at this point along the St. Stephens Road.