Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Carolyn Cortner Smith
Female Architect Pioneer / Designed Delano Park Structures
Born in 1894 in Normandy, Tennessee, Carolyn Cortner was raised in the Courtland area of Lawrence County, Alabama. She attended Ward-Belmont College in Tennessee. She married Wilburn Smith in 1912. She did not attend formal architecture school but studied design textbooks to become Alabama’s first licensed female architect, designing her first home by 1914. Mrs. Smith acquired three area lumber mills and ran them as the Carolyn Lumber Mills. In the 1920’s, the Mars family put her in charge of constructing their Milky Way Farms in Pulaski, Tennessee. A world traveler, Mrs. Smith died in 1987 at 93, leaving a legacy in the history of design and historic preservation in Alabama.
Carolyn Cortner Smith was among the first women in Alabama to enter the field of architecture early in the 20th century. During the Depression-era 1930’s, she designed buildings for the federal government as part of the Civil Works Administration and Works Progress Administration. She directed the WPA restoration of the Old State Bank and designed the National Guard Armory and several phases of Delano Park, including the Rose Garden, bathhouse, and bandstand.
Erected by State of Alabama.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas • Women. In addition, it is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1894.
Location. 34° 35.891′ N, 86° 58.663′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Alabama, in Morgan County. Marker is at the intersection of Gordon Drive Southeast and 8th Avenue Southeast, on the right when traveling east on Gordon Drive Southeast. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur AL 35601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Social and Cultural Opportunities (within shouting distance of this marker); Health and Civic Welfare (within shouting distance of this marker); Beauty and Hope (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Recreation and Refreshment (about 400 feet away); Albany (about 600 feet away); a different Albany (approx. 0.3 miles away); St. John's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Decatur Daily (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
Additional keywords. New Deal
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 21, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 2,026 times since then and 377 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on February 21, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.