Athens in Limestone County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Scenes From Hobbs & Market Streets
The Athens Masonic Lodge, patterned after the Huntsville lodge of 1823, is believed to have been the first brick structure in the city. Located at the corner of Hobbs and Monroe streets, it was notable as a rare example in Alabama of "Georgian Gothic" architecture. The brick mason was James Brundidge and the architect was Hiram H. Higgins. The floor plan included a center hall, with a large meeting room occupying two-thirds of the second floor. This room was used by private and public schools and occasionally by religious congregations. The Masons used the lodge until 1912, when it was converted into a residence, complete with the addition of a brick porch across the south side. The building was razed in 1968.
The MacLin-Hobbs-Horton home was built in 1849. Benjamin MacLin was said to have the finest home in Athens. General James A. Garfield, who would become President Garfield in 1881, stayed in the home while participating in the court marshal proceedings against General Ivan Turchin for his actions in the 1862 sack of Athens Judge James E. Horton later bought the home and, in 1934 had it dismantled, moved, and re-erected in modified form on his plantation at Greenbrier, where it stands today.
The former Methodist Church building (ca. 1835) was one of Alabama's first brick houses of worship. A new building was completed in 1925. The old one was sold and renovated for the Ritz Theater.
In 1971 Buddy and Lib Gilbert purchased the Ritz Theater building. They restored the building's facade as closely as practicable to its original form - that of the 1835 Methodist Church. Gilbert's Furniture Company closed in 1989.
The Ritz Theater offered a free movie to any child who could pay the admission price of six RC Cola tops. This 1966 view of Marion Street shows the stores of Johnson's Beauty College, the Ritz Theater, the Ritz Coffee Shop and McMeans Furniture Store.
The Marion Street Church of Christ congregation purchased this building from Gilbert family in 1990, originally built in 1835 s the First Methodist Church. After renovation was completed it was again suitable for worship. The building to the left of the church housed the Southern Bell Telephone Company and the Limestone Democrat.
After the Hobbs home was removed, the lot remained vacant for several years. In 1955 the site was donated by the Horton family to the City of Athens for a municipal facility.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Churches & Religion • Fraternal or Sororal Organizations • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #20 James A. Garfield series list.
Location. 34° 48.245′ N, 86° 58.264′ W. Marker is in Athens, Alabama, in Limestone County. Marker is on North Marion Strret south of Hobbs Street, on the left when traveling north. Marker is opposite Marion Church of Christ. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 121 N Marion St, 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. North Side of Square (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First United Methodist Church (about 300 feet away); Faces of Market Street (about 300 feet away); Limestone County Confederate Memorial (about 300 feet away); Limestone County Courthouse Bell (about 400 feet away); Judge David Lee Rosenau, Jr. (about 400 feet away); A County Older Than the State (about 400 feet away); East Side of Square (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on April 13, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 441 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 13, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.