|Perry County Courthouse
Perry County The first courthouse, a log cabin, was erected at Perry Ridge,
located approximately seven miles southeast of present-day Marion. The county soon found
that a more centrally located county seat was needed, and in 1823 Marion became the county
seat. A two-story log cabin was erected on the site of the present-day courthouse. A modest
brick building replaced the log cabin shortly thereafter in 1837. In 1854, construction began on
a new marble-and-brick Greek Revival courthouse. Two-story porticos flanked each end of the
building, with six Ionic columns supporting the massive pediments. The building was completed
in 1856 and underwent renovation in 1954. It continues to serve as the county courthouse.
The county became a major center for education in the Black Belt. Baptists founded both Judson College (1838) and Howard
College (1842). Lincoln Normal School was founded in 1867 by freed slaves as a school for African American children. It later
moved to Montgomery and was renamed Alabama State University. A museum is currently underway on the site of Lincoln to
house historic memorabilia regarding Lincoln School. Many of the buildings on the campus of the Marion Military Institute pre-
date the Civil War, and its chapel, built in 1857, served as a Confederate hospital during the war.
The Perry County school district employs approximately 260 teachers and administrators who serve more than 2,200
students in four primary and secondary schools. Perry County is also home to Alabama's only college for women, Judson
College, founded in 1838 (the second oldest women's college in the South) and located in Marion. Founded in 1842 as
Howard College, the Marion Military Institute (as it was named after Howard moved to Birmingham) is the nation's oldest two-
year military college, serving both male and female cadets.
During the civil rights era, an incident in Marion triggered the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the ensuing Voting Rights Act
of 1965. Baptists also made Marion the headquarters of the state-wide newspaper and the first location of the Home Mission
Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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