Wiregrass Wonders: Landmark Park
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - “Landmark Park is a 150-acre park and living history museum,” said executive director Laura Stakelum. “We focus on our agricultural history and natural history of the Wiregrass area.”
For over 40 years, Landmark Park has been educating the Wiregrass all about its agricultural heritage.
What started as an idea back in 1976 to form a society for preservation of historical sites in and around Dothan quickly became a reality in 1978 when the Waddell House was moved to the property.
“The Waddell House was a farm house was located on what is now Ross Clark Circle,” said Stakelum. “They were going to tear it down to complete the construction of the circle. A group of citizens got together and some land was donated and the house was actually moved to this property and that was the start of Landmark Park.”
Landmark Park quickly grew from there.
“We have an interpretive center,” said Stakelum. “We have several historic buildings that have since been moved to the site. We have an elevated boardwalk that takes you through the longleaf pine ecosystem in the area.”
Like taking a trip to the past, Landmark Park immerses its patrons in what life was like back in the 1890s.
“I think for many people, especially for kids, they’ve never lived in world without cell phones and smart phones,” said Stakelum. “This is a brand new experience for them. It’s great for all ages and backgrounds. To put the phones down and literally get your hands dirty out on the farm.”
Currently over 1600 families are members and over 50,000 people visit annually, but Landmark Park serves as a hot spot for school field trips.
Those kids are able to get first hand experience of everything the park has to offer.
“There’s nothing like learning hands on,” said Stakelum. :We try to take what they are learning in the classroom and really bring it to life here at Landmark Park. The kids really get an understanding of where their food comes from through our farming programs.”
Along with preserving the past, Landmark Park is continuing to build for the future with new exhibits meant to continue educating the patrons.
“The new exhibit showcases the longleaf pine ecosystem that this area is known for,” said Stakelum. “One of the questions we get a lot is what is wiregrass? That exhibit is going to explain a lot of that. We also reopened our Alabama Agricultural Museum with a new exhibit and that showcases home life on the farm in the 1890s in this area. You got the agricultural history and the natural history all in one place.
Open seven days a week, Landmark Park has numerous attractions for the whole family. Mix that with a number of annual events, the park continues to offer the area a glimpse into its past and proving it is a Wiregrass Wonder.
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