Heritage Forums at Landmark Park

DOTHAN, AL — If you have an interest in history, Landmark Park is the place to be each Sunday afternoon during the month of July. The annual Heritage Forum series will feature guest speakers presenting programs on state and local history. The forums will be presented in the Interpretive Center Auditorium at 3 p.m. and are free with paid gate admission (adults, $4; kids, $3; members free).

JULY 10: ROBIN O’SULLIVAN, “ORGANIC OBSERVATIONS: A HISTORY OF HUMUS, HOMESTEADS, HEALTH NUTS, AND HAUTE CUISINE.”

O’Sullivan will examine historical intersections between farmers, gardeners, consumers, government regulations, shoppers, grassroots groups, and mega-industries involved in the organic food movement, particularly how organic production and consumption are entrenched in the lives of all Americans, whether or not they grow or eat organic food. She is the author of “American Organic: A Cultural History of Farming, Gardening, Shopping, and Eating,” published by Kansas State University Press in 2015 and a history instructor at Troy University Dothan Campus.

JULY 17: NED JENKINS, “DESOTO, LUNA, AND THE FORMATION OF THE CREEKS.”

Jenkins will discuss his current research into the earliest Spanish contacts in Alabama. He is research archeologist at Fort Toulouse/Jackson Park, is a living history reenactor and author of articles on the origins of the Creek nation and Woodland and Mississippian cultures. He has excavated in the Yucatan, on the Tombigbee River, Tennessee River, Tallapoosa River, and lower Chattahoochee. His work at Fort Toulouse in the 1980s uncovered three sequentially occupied French colonial forts there and in 1996 began Alabama Frontier Days at Toulouse.

JULY 24: DALE COX, “FORT SCOTT, FORT GAINES AND THE DEADLIEST CANNON SHOT IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

On July 27, 1816, the deadliest cannon shot in American history was fired on the Apalachicola River. The explosion of the fort at Prospect Bluff killed 270 men, women and children and destroyed the only military settlement for free African Americans of the Antebellum era. U.S. troops involved in the attack advanced from Fort Mitchell, Alabama, constructing Fort Gaines on the Chattahoochee and Fort Scott on the lower Flint as they advanced. Cox is an historian, author of

15 books on Southern and North Florida history, and resident and foremost booster of Two Egg, Florida. He is a former TV news director in Georgia and Arkansas.

JULY 31: ROBERT SAUNDERS, “A STUDY IN CONTRAST: LOVE AND WAR AS REVEALED IN THE ELODIE TODD NATHANIEL DAWSON CIVIL WAR LETTERS”

This presentation will focus on the engagement letters of Nathaniel Henry Rhodes Dawson, and Elodie Breck Todd. Dawson was a Selma, Alabama, attorney and a captain in the 4th Alabama Volunteers during the Civil War. In 1861 Elodie was a young women visiting Selma at the outbreak of the war who was the half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Saunders is an LMP board member and history professor at Troy Dothan.

This is his current line of research.

Landmark Park is a 135-acre natural science and history museum located on the outskirts of Dothan.  Features of the park include nature trails, a planetarium, playground, picnic areas, an elevated boardwalk, a turn-of-the-century farmstead with sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, cows and other farm animals and crops typical of an 1890’s farm.  In addition, the park includes a drugstore with operating soda fountain, one-room school, general store, and historic church, all preserved from the surrounding area. The park is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. 

Admission is $4 adults, $3 for children and is free for park members and children age 2 and under.  The park is located on U.S. Hwy 431 North, three miles north of Dothan’s Ross Clark Circle.  For more info, call 334-794-3452 or visit  www.landmarkparkdothan.com.