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Athens in Limestone County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Coleman Hill

Fort Henderson and Trinity School

 
 
Coleman Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 18, 2020
1. Coleman Hill Marker
Inscription.  “My people were in slavery on the Coleman Plantation. When the war came, they had an opportunity to fight for their freedom on that very same spot. Then Trinity was built at the fort, and they could get an education there. That story needs to be told. Our kids need to have a place to look at, to learn about the experiences their own people went through.” — David Malone, Trinity Graduate, President of Athens-Limestone Community Association

You are standing on Coleman Hill, which played a critical role in the history of Athens and its African American community. It was named for Daniel Coleman and his family. A Virginian, Coleman moved to Athens in 1820. He served on the county bench, in the Alabama House of Representatives and on the Alabama Supreme Court.

This high ground on the Coleman property was ideally suited for defense. During the latter stages of the Civil War, Fort Henderson occupied this site. Originally called the Athens Fort, it was renamed for Perry Henderson who surveyed this area in 1892. Fort Henderson and fortifications at Sulphur Creek Trestle, north of Athens, protected

Coleman Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 18, 2020
2. Coleman Hill Marker
the Nashville and Decatur Railroad from Confederate raiders. This railroad was critical to General William T. Sherman's operations against Atlanta. You are standing near the southern wall of Fort Henderson. The fort's sally port or gate was nearby.

Trinity School, established in 1865 and located near the railroad passenger depot until it was destroyed by fire in 1907, moved to the “fort field" in 1908. Trinity remained in this location until its closure in 1970, serving as the community's black school through the Jim Crow era and impacting generations of African Americans.

[Photo captions:]
Middle: Coleman Hill after construction was finished on Trinity School. The wall of Fort Henderson can be seen at the center of the photograph. Courtesy of the Limestone County Archives

Top right: Built in 1914 to replace the structure destroyed by fire the previous year, this building remained in use until 1959. This early capture depicts the building before the addition of an auditorium in 1929 and a completed redesign. Courtesy of the Limestone County Archives

Middle right: Completed after Trinity transitioned to a public school, this building opened in 1959. Class of 1963 Trinity High School Yearbook
 
Erected 2020 by American Battlefield Trust & Paul Bryant Jr.
 
Topics. This historical

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marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, US Civil.
 
Location. 34° 47.876′ N, 86° 58.813′ W. Marker is in Athens, Alabama, in Limestone County. Marker is on Trinity Circle north of Browns Ferry Street (County Road 29), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 606 Trinity Cir, Athens AL 35611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Prisoners of War (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle (within shouting distance of this marker); Reconstruction (within shouting distance of this marker); Trinity School (within shouting distance of this marker); The United State Colored Troops (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Henderson / Trinity School - 1865-1970 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Coleman Family (approx. 0.3 miles away); Governor George S. Houston Home (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of Fort Henderson September 23 – October 2, 1864. From the American Battlefield Trust. (Submitted on October 18, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 18, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 18, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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Oct. 29, 2020