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Elmore County

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WINTER2010 • COMPLIMENTARY


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

publisher’s

message That holiday fire would run us out of the house

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y daddy loved the holidays. It is probably why that legacy lives on so deeply in our family every year. There is just something about family gatherings that rejuvenate the soul. It makes you feel good to get that big ‘ol hug from Aunt Betty Jo, see all your cousins dealing with their young ones – now that yours are grown – and eating all that food. My grandfather Sumners enjoyed the holidays too. You never know in Alabama what the weather will be like during the holidays, but especially at Thanksgiving it can still be in the 80s. It might be like that this year, but we hope it is cooler. My grandfather loved his fireplace. I can remember that it took all the grandsons and his sons to cut firewood for him about every other weekend because he burned so much. He had central heat in his house, but he liked that roaring fireplace. We all did too, except when it was 80 outside on Thanksgiving. I can remember my mother, my aunts and uncles fussing at him to stop putting wood on the fire – because my grandmother would already have the windows and the back door open. The more air that came through that house, the hotter that fire would burn. About the best thing that fire provided was a great setting for a nap after that big meal. There would be several of us fighting for couch space, especially when we got older. When we were younger, we would all head to the woods after lunch for a late afternoon deer hunt or some squirrel hunting. Holidays are also about eating. Lots. My grandmother Minnie was a good cook. No, THE cook of all cooks. She passed it on to my mother. She can cook with the best of them. My mawmaw’s speciality was the pecan pie she made for the holidays. I could eat a whole pie if she would let me, but when you have 20 or 23 folks fighting for a slice, you were lucky if you got one. She would start baking the week before Turkey Day and keep on doing it through Christmas. There were always plenty of sweets around, but she knew how to fix all those other delightful trimmings too. She could bake that turkey just right so that it was juicy and tender, and still brown on the outside.

When my grandparents passed, it just seemed that our larger family quit gathering for the holidays and now each of our families gets together with our own children to celebrate the holidays. We encourage you to do that too. Spend the holidays with your family and friends. It is a special time that you will always remember. And if you will, take along a copy of this month’s Elmore County Living with you. Our folks have put together another awardwinning publication for you, and it is filled with holiday stories. From a look at some of the many stained glass windows in our churches in the area, to a beautiful Lake Jordan home, to a clay sensation just up the road to some local artists, ECL is a great read for the holidays. We want to also remind you to remember our men and women serving overseas, especially during this holiday season. I am amazed at how the national news media takes the story off the front page and these warriors are still in the fight defending our freedoms. It is not over in Afghanistan and Iraq for that matter. We have thousands of area men and women on military assignments in many countries around the world. Please join us and say a prayer for them, and thank them for defending our country. On a personal note, let me add a couple of items. I am pleased to have been nominated by my colleagues at Quail Forever as one of Outdoor Life’s top 25 conservationists in 2010. It is quite an honor and I am humbled by their nomination for our work with quail. I appreciate the PPI staff filling in for me during all those trips I make every year on behalf of Covey Rise and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever. This nomination is truly dedicated to all of you for your efforts on my behalf! And, as the year 2010 winds down, let me thank you as the head of Price Publications for your devoted support throughout this year. Our newspapers and this publication have continued to grow because of your support. We cannot thank you enough for that support and from our family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season. We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year! Kim N. Price is the president of Price Publications, Inc.


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

editor’s

note I

Time to get into the holiday spirit

‘ll go ahead and say what everyone is thinking --it’s hard to believe Christmas is already here. It seems like the holidays roll around faster every year. If you haven’t gotten into the spirit of the season yet, this issue of Elmore County Living will help to put you in the mood. In these pages, you will find an assortment of stories and photographs related to the holidays -- specifically here in Elmore County. Read about some of your neighbors who embrace Christmas wholeheartedly -- some who create elaborate villages for their friends and family to enjoy and others who devote considerable time and effort to displays that are open for everyone to view.

You will also see what the Alabama Nature Center has to offer during Christmas. And, you can take an armchair tour of some of the beautiful stained glass windows featured in local churches. In addition, you will meet the creators of some popular local cookbooks -- and find some sample recipes from their publications. And, there’s much more to discover inside this edition. We hope you all enjoy this issue of Elmore County Living -- we think you will. So, settle in for a relaxing read. We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of Price Publications, Inc.


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Inside Windows for the soul

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A look at the beautiful stained glass windows of several churches around Elmore County

A taste of home

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Local groups produce cookbooks that preserve recipes and memories

River clay to unique creations

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Christmas collections

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Sharing the holiday spirit

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Old-fashioned Christmas

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Resident artists

Residents’ holiday villages grow larger every year

Two local families share their Christmas displays with visitors

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Family business transforms unusual clay into popular figurines

Going home again

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The Alabama Nature Center offers traditional holiday activities to participants

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Faulkner University president is proud of Tallassee roots

Local artists Steve and Deb Garst share love of creating beauty

Elmore County Living magazine is published by Price Publications, Inc. in conjunction with The Wetumpka Herald, The Eclectic Observer and The Tallassee Tribune. Copyright 2010 by Price Publications, Inc., all rights reserved. Any reproduction of this publication is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the publisher. Kim N. Price - President/Publisher Peggy Blackburn - Managing Editor Jay Goodwin - Operations Manager Shannon Elliott - Ad Manager

David Goodwin - News Editor Kevin Taylor - Copy Editor Griffin Pritchard - Sports Editor

Christy Cooper - Ad Sales Ashley Vice - Multimedia Manager Jessica Hargett - Staff Writer

P.O. Box 99 • 300 Green Street • Wetumpka, AL 36092 • 334-567-7811

Tallassee Jane Parker - Assoc. Publisher Willie Moseley - News Editor Lauren Newman - Staff Writer Wes Sinor - Sports Editor Natalie Wade - Staff Writer Stephanie Weldon - Ad Sales


Windows for the Soul By ECL Staff

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or more than a thousand years, designs and pictures formed of colored glass have graced churches and cathedrals. These “stained glass� windows originated in medieval Europe, and the concept came to the United States with those who immigrated here. In Elmore County, several churches are home to intricate stained glass pieces, some dating back more than a century.

Ben Alford, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wetumpka, looks at one of the stained glass windows in his church. PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Elam Baptist Church – East Tallassee Elam Baptist Church was established in 1872 in an old log schoolhouse less than 2 miles away from its present location on Alabama Highway 14 in East Tallassee. When the church moved to its present location it went through a number of renovations. The present sanctuary was completed in 1952 and 40 years later went through another round of renovations. The entire interior of the church sanctuary was transformed, but there was still something missing. Ten years later, the stained glass now seen in the church was installed. The stained glass lines the sides of the church showing the stages of the life of Christ with a single large piece just above the doorway. All of the stained glass pieces were handmade and were purchased by members of the church to honor their loved ones.

A close-up view of an inset in one of the stained glass windows at Elam Baptist Church. PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR

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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 called much about the colorful panes. “They were not cheap,” Griffith said.

First Baptist Church – Tallassee Tallassee’s First Baptist Church houses six tall stained glass windows in its sanctuary. The windows, manufactured by Kansas City Stained Glass Works in Kansas City, Mo., in the early 1920s, are the same ones used at the church’s first location when it opened in 1924. When the Learning Tree School bought the church’s original building, Tallassee First Baptist moved to its current location on Friendship Road on Sept. 26, 2004. The windows were restored in Tennessee before being placed in the new sanctuary. The wooden frames were replaced with aluminum ones. “The members feel (the windows) look better in this building than they ever have,” said current pastor Derek Gentle. “It’s a bigger room, and it gives everyone a chance to see them better.” There are three names dedicated on the colorful windows: A.J. Lilly, who was a Sunday School superintendent, and for-

A stained glass cross is a prominent feature of the Eclectic United Methodist Church. PHOTO BY DAVID GOODWIN

Eclectic United Methodist Church The windows of Eclectic United Methodist Church glow with color in the Sunday morning light. In the sanctuary, the chapel and the fellowship hall, beautiful stained glass images shine. Each one dates back to the church’s old location on Main Street. That building has since become Eclectic’s town hall. The windows still bear the names of the prominent families that purchased and donated them: Edwards, Hale, Hardin and Cousins, among others. Longtime church member Monroe Griffith said the windows were carefully packed up when the church relocated to the current location near the town limits in 1955. Neither Griffith nor other longtime church members re-

Six stained glass windows are located in the sanctuary of Tallassee’s First Baptist Church. PHOTO BY WESLEY SINOR


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 mer pastors Dr. Collis Cunningham and Dr. David Bentley. The other three windows are not dedicated to any specific person. One is dedicated to fallen World War II soldiers, one is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the battlefields of France from 1917-1918 and the last is dedicated to the memory of those who have passed since the founding of the church on Aug. 2, 1852.

First Baptist Church – Wetumpka The history of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka dates back to May 26, 1821, but it did not settle into its permanent home at the current site until 1846. For the first 20 years, it was generally known as the Coosa River Baptist Church. The congregation sought several loca-

tions, and eventually settled along the banks of Calloway Creek. The church grew, but in 1836 a few members moved to Wetumpka because of doctrinal differences. In 1837, the congregation united with a small church in town and became the Coosa River Church of Wetumpka. The church was located in west Wetumpka, but in 1843 a fire burned it to the ground. The members then began to meet in a vacant store in east Wetumpka. That building burned in 1845. In 1846, the congregation acquired the present site and began construction of the original sanctuary, and in 1847 the name was changed to First Baptist Church. There were few alterations to the church until 1909. At that time the stained glass windows were installed, along with new A pair of stained glass windows grace the front of the original First Baptist Church building in Wetumpka. PHOTO BY PEGGY BLACKBURN


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 pews and pulpit furniture. “The congregation bought all of the stained glass windows in the old sanctuary for about $400,” said Joe Allen Turner, local historian and member of First Baptist. “They were brought to Montgomery, then shipped to Wetumpka on wagons.” In 1932, the sanctuary was remodeled to install a new pipe organ. “The windows were taken out in the 1950s and cleaned,” said Turner. The current sanctuary, located adjacent to the original one, was built in 1967. It, too, features stained glass windows. “You can’t tell from the outside, but on Sunday morning with the sun shining through they are very colorful and beautiful,” said Turner.

First United Methodist Church – Wetumpka One of the stained glass windows in the First United Methodist Church of Wetumpka. PHOTO BY PEGGY BLACKBURN

After more than a century, the stained glass in the sanctuary of

First United Methodist Church of Wetumpka still glows with warm, vibrant color. The windows – composed of various sized and colored glass pieces – form an intricate design of columns and leaves framing a circular inset in each. The insets in the individual windows depict different biblical scenes and symbols, such as Noah’s Ark and the stone tablets of the 10 Commandments. The present-day building which houses the church sanctuary on its upper floor was completed in 1854. Until the early 1900s, the windows consisted of small panes of clear glass. But in 1909, the unornamented windows were replaced with the current stained glass ones. Most of the windows were given to the church as memorials. The church chapel on the ground floor at the rear of the building also features brightlycolored stained glass windows, complete with insets showing biblical scenes.


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 work into them. And they were expensive to install. It cost $375 each to install them. But, they’re pretty.” The murals depict the cross and the fishers of men parable. Another window has an angel while another features a set of hands coming together in prayer. Lake Hill Baptist is located near Lake Jordan in the Slapout community.

Trinity Episcopal Church – Wetumpka

One of the stained glass windows at Lake Hill Baptist Church depicts an angel. PHOTO BY GRIFFIN PRITCHARD

Lake Hill Baptist Church – Slapout The interior of Lake Hill Baptist Church will catch newcomers off guard. The exposed wood sanctuary is highlighted with bright mural windows depicting different scenes throughout the life of Christ. “I told them it was like me putting a $500 suit with a pair of tennis shoes,”

said former minister Rudolph Esco. “But we’ve been able to do a lot at this little church.” According to Esco, who pastored the church for 45 years, the windows are a new addition to the building built in 1952. Esco said the windows were installed by a company from Clanton. “The two front windows look nice,” said Esco. “And the rest of the windows look great. Everybody is satisfied. The man who made these things put a lot of

Trinity Episcopal Church is one of the newly renovated churches in Elmore County. The church opened its new sanctuary in 2009 where almost 20 pieces of hand-made stained glass stand. Trinity was founded in 1947 in west Wetumpka and its original sanctuary was moved across the river to its present location in 1970. While at its present location on the 5000 block of U.S. Highway 231 in Wetumpka the parishioners soon outgrew the sanctuary to make way for the new and much larger sanctuary. Some of the stained glass pieces were transferred to the new sanctuary, and newer pieces were also installed. The church’s calling card, if you will, is the 14-foot by 7-foot stained glass piece of Christ outstretching his arms to all on the River Jordan. Trinity Episcopal’s rector Ben Alford said that one piece in the nave of the church defines Episcopalians. “It kind of defines our beliefs that we are a welcoming church,” he said. “We see Christ welcoming all into his arms just as we do as a church. What makes this piece so special to me, personally, is I don’t actually see Christ on the River Jordan. I see him on the Coosa River welcoming all within the community to our church, and it’s that welcoming aspect that means so much to me.”

View more photos of the stained glass in local churches online at www.thewetumpkaherald.com


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

One of the stained glass windows in Trinity Episcopal Church.

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PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

A Taste of Home

Local cookbooks preserve recipes and memories

Members of Charis Crafters with copies of their two cookbooks.

By Jessica Hargett

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hroughout Elmore County many churches and organizations put together recipe books in an effort to raise money for different causes. These books not only capture recipes from different people, but they also capture memories, history and a taste of “down-home cooking.” Members of all of the organizations featured here said they are proud of their books and excited about sharing their recipes with others.

Charis Crafters “Recipes from the Heart” and “Favorite Recipes, Recipes from the Heart Volume II” are two recipe books created by Charis Crafters, a group of ladies who put on a craft show every year in Elmore County. Their first cookbook, “Recipes from the Heart,” which includes about 500 recipes, can still be purchased for $10 by calling Nancy Brunson at 334-399-0350 or Ann Key at 334-451-0415. Their most recent recipe book, “Favorite Recipes,” can be purchased for $10 and includes about 650 recipes

PHOTO BY JESSICA HARGETT

contributed by friends, family and all of the Charis Crafters members. Proceeds from the book go to pay off the cost of the book and to missions work mostly around Elmore County. Charis Crafters members said one of their favorite things about their book is sharing their recipes with others. A favorite recipe of Ann Key’s is Dishpan Cookies from their first book, and a popular recipe with Charis Crafters members from their new book is Homestyle Cheese Biscuits. All in all, the group’s favorite part about their book is

that when they get ready to cook most of the recipes in the book, they usually have everything they need in their pantry. “There’s no need to go shopping,” Ann Key said. Dishpan Cookies 1 c. white sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 c. coconut ½ c. maraschino cherries ½ tsp. salt 1 c. brown sugar 1 tsp. baking soda 1 c. oats 1 (8 oz.) pkg. chopped dates


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 ½ c. oil ½ c. nuts Mix all together in dishpan (any large bowl). Drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 to 20 minutes. Makes 6 to 7 dozen.

from the area that line the edges of the recipes, giving the cook a bit of history about the area. Two favorite recipes of the group are Turnip Green Casserole, which is an original from Hotel Talisi and

Asheville’s Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball. Overall, the group members said they are excited about their book and the individuality that sets it apart from other books.

Trinity Episcopal Church Ladies “Shall We Gather – Recipes and Remembrances of a River Town,” is a recipe book created by The Church Ladies at Trinity Episcopal Church in Wetumpka. Not only is this book for cooking and baking, it’s also for learning facts and details about the history of the River Region. Created to raise money for their church, the books can be purchased for $20 at many hometown merchants as well as many stores throughout the Southeast. Each page is filled with favorite recipes, tested before being selected for the book. Some pages also have stories

Some of Trinity Episcopal’s “Church Ladies” with the Shall We Gather cookbook. PHOTO BY JESSICA HARGETT


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 1 (10 oz.) carton Cool Whip 1 T. lemon juice 1 c. chopped nuts Combine all ingredients, mix and chill.

Children’s Harbor

Cain’s Chapel women’s group with their cookbooks.

Asheville’s Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball Makes 2 Cups 16 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained and crushed 1 cup dried cranberries 1 Red Delicious apple, chopped 1 teaspoon seasoning salt 1 cup chopped pecans Combine the cream cheese, mandarin oranges, cranberries, apple and seasoning salt in a bowl and mix well. Shape into a ball and roll in the pecans. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 8 to 10 hours. Thaw for 2 hours before serving. Serve with crackers.

Cain’s Chapel United Methodist Church “Raisin’ Cain II Cookbook” was created by a group of women at Cain’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Holtville/Slapout, one of the oldest churches in the River Region.

PHOTO BY JESSICA HARGETT

“Harbor Hospitality” and “Friends of Children’s Harbor Cooks at the Lake” are two recipe books that benefit Children’s Harbor in Kowaliga near Eclectic. Both books serve as a fundraising opportunity and can be purchased at Children’s Harbor for $15 a piece. Individuals, businesses, churches, clubs, foundations and many others made contributions to the book. Proceeds are used to provide services to the children who benefit from Children’s Harbor services and their families. Children at Children’s Harbor Family Center drew pictures in the Friends of Children’s Harbor recipe book, and the logo on the front was drawn by Lila Graves.

The 230-page book includes many recipes contributed by the men and women of the church, and is also special because it features the history of the town and artwork by local artist Shirley Esco. Proceeds from the book go to the church’s scholarship fund for student church members, which the group said is one of their favorite parts about the book, “putting some kids through school.” The book is $20 and can be purchased at local merchants and businesses in the area. Some of the group’s favorite recipes are Fluffy Pink Salad and Poppy Seed Chicken. Overall the group said the book brings out the “togetherness” of the community and even helps keep some people’s memories alive. Fluffy Pink Salad 1 can cherry pie filling 1 can Eagle Brand milk 1 (8 ¼ oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained 1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream

The Children’s Harbor cookbook. PHOTO BY JESSICA HARGETT


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Staff members of Community Hospice Care with their recipe book.

Community Hospice Care “Recipes to Remember II, With Love from Community Hospice Care” is a recipe book sold by Community Hospice Care in Tallassee. The book costs $10, includes 275 recipes and can be purchased at Community Hospice Care or by calling the switchboard of Community Hospital of Tallassee. Community Hospice Care and Community Hospital of Tallassee staff members contributed recipes. The proceeds are used to send care packages to those who have lost a loved one. The primary purpose of the book is to associate recipes with memories, so with many of the recipes there is a story in honor of or in memory of someone.

be purchased at the shelter, The Tails End Thrift Store (in conjunction with the animal shelter), the Prissy Hen and Austin Flowers in Wetumpka. Shelter donors, supporters, staff and volunteers contributed all of the recipes. One favorite recipe from the shelter’s bookkeeper, Dawn Sullivan, is Popover Pancakes. Popover Pancake ½ c. flour ½ c. milk

PHOTO BY JESSICA HARGETT

2 eggs, beaten ½ stick butter powdered sugar Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, milk and eggs; beat lightly, leaving the batter slightly lumpy. In a heavy skillet, heat the butter until very hot. Pour in the batter; place skillet in hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until pancake is puffed all around the edges and golden brown. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with syrup or marmalade.

Humane Society of Elmore County “More Purr-fectly Good Recipes from Bark Avenue” is the second recipe book of the Humane Society of Elmore County. The book serves as a fundraiser for the animal shelter and is a popular item among customers, employees and volunteers. The books are $10 and can

Rea Cord, Humane Society of Elmore County director, with the society’s cookbook. PHOTO BY JESSICA HARGETT


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Coosa River clay becomes unique creations By Peggy Blackburn kind of magic happens in an unobtrusive workshop on Alabama Highway 14 in Wetumpka. There clay from the bed of the nearby Coosa River is transformed into one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces that capture attention with their coloring of off-white and orangebrown swirls.

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But the popular figurines can be difficult to obtain -the business doesn’t conform to set hours, it doesn’t boast a website and there are no signs to attract visitors. And that’s just the way Carl Stephens, owner of Carl’s Clays, and his chief assistant, daughter Karen Stewart, like things to be. It wasn’t always that way. “Dad was a helicopter pilot in the Army and he retired here,” said Stewart. “He accidentally invented this.” Stephens was looking for a job in 1975 and his wife,

A magnolia blossom is a popular item at Carl’s Clays. PHOTO BY PEGGY BLACKBURN


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Carl Stephens smooths a recently poured piece of a nativity scene.

Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

PHOTO BY PEGGY BLACKBURN

Maxie, was teaching ceramics. She recruited his help and encouraged him to try his hand at sculpture. It was a long trip to Birmingham to obtain the clay needed for the ceramics shop, and one day Stephens decided to try using clay he had discovered while he was fishing on the Coosa. The rest is history. Stephens said the river clay appeared to be similar to that he purchased, but when it was fired in a kiln it changed dramatically. “It came out feathered with orange streaks,” he said. “My wife really liked it, and when we tried it again the same thing happened.” Maxie Stephens wasn’t the only one intrigued by the unusual color of the finished pieces. When Stephens set out to market his product, the response was phenomenal. In a short time the operation -then called Alabama Clay -had expanded to a full-time business employing more than 30 workers. But that success took a toll -- Stephens worked countless hours and the number of orders continued to grow. So when he received an offer for the business -- which included his serving in a supervisory/consultant capacity -he jumped at the chance. “Not too long after that, the gentleman who bought it died and no one else involved was interested in keeping it going,” said Stewart. That occurrence offered Stephens a fresh start with his clay -- but on a smaller scale. “The only way my wife would let me get back into it was if I agreed not to have a sign or advertise, not to get a lot of store customers and not to have regular hours,” said Stephens. “I promised her I would never do that again.”


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Clay from the Coosa River is the basis of the pieces created at Carl’s Clays. PHOTO BY PEGGY BLACKBURN

Even with the scaled-back production schedule, there is plenty of work to keep family members busy -- starting with harvesting the clay. Stephens, his two sons-in-law and his grandchildren go to the river occasionally and return with 10 buckets full. “Sometimes I think they go as much for the fishing as the clay,” said Stephens. “They always take their poles with them and come back with a good catch.” Stephens said there is work involved in the excursions. “We’re the only ones who know where it is,” he said. “We have to wade out in the river about knee deep to get it. We loosen it with a shovel and then dig it out by hand.” Once the raw material is at the shop, water is added and it is thoroughly mixed before being poured into the molds. Each batch of clay is test fired in a kiln to ensure it is suitable. “You have to make sure there isn’t sand in it,” said Stephens. “And you don’t ever know how it will come out.” When he first began producing the pieces, Stephens said he had the clay tested to find out the cause of the distinctive coloration. “Turns out there’s iron in it,” he said. “Some clay can have too much color and some doesn’t have enough. That’s why we take each batch, fire it and look at it.” The biggest drawback to working with

Carl’s Clays now has just a handful of commercial accounts, and Stephens and Stewart stick to the promise of producing only a comfortable number of pieces. “I had a few longtime customers I offered it to -- places like Southern Homes & Gardens and We-2 Gifts in Wetumpka,” said Stephens. “There are people who call wanting to be a new account, but we just can’t supply them.” Much of the shop’s business is military personnel. “Eagles are our best seller,” said Stephens. “We’ve gotten orders from the Pentagon, the Secretary of the Air Force, the CIA and military intelligence.” There are other popular figurines offered by Carl’s Clays -- dishes, vases, magnolia blossoms, hummingbirds, angels, Auburn University emblems, elephants, Indians and more. “Our nativity sets are also very popular,” said Stephens. “And, if you can believe it, we have a little armadillo that’s really popular, too.” In fact, the shop is packed with about a thousand different molds, representing a huge selection of pieces. Stephens said he makes many of them himself. “I’m enjoying it now,” Stephens said. “If I want to go fishing, I go fishing.”

the naturally-occurring clay is uncertainty. In addition to losing product because the color is unsatisfactory, pieces may have to be discarded at other points in the process. After the clay hardens, the pieces (greenware) are removed from the molds and inspected. The figurines can be rejected for imperfections at that stage. If they appear acceptable, the seams left by the molds are sanded smooth. Occasionally a piece is broken during the process. After the figures are “cleaned,” they are then fired for the first time. “We can lose some then, because sometimes you get cracks,” said Stephens. “So we look at it after the first firing and if everything is OK, we go ahead with it.” Approved pieces are painted with glaze and fired again, resulting in the shiny finished product. “It’s something you can’t rush,” said Stephens. “The clay can take anywhere from four hours to overnight to dry in the molds, then you have all of the other A hummingbird figurine is one of many items made at Carl’s steps.” Clays. PHOTO BY PEGGY BLACKBURN


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Going home again

Faulkner president proud of Tallassee roots By Lauren Newman homas Wolfe may have had it wrong all along. You can go home again. At least that is what Billy Dwight Hilyer did. Hilyer was born and raised in Tallassee until he graduated high school. And then he

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left. But since his return to Tallassee a little more than a decade ago, he has put his hat into community projects to make it the best home he’s ever had. All the while, he still has a full-time job as president of Faulkner University.

Tallassee. He was raised with his four siblings – James, Dale, Don and Alice – by his parents, Lucien and Lois Hilyer. Hilyer said some of his fondest memories come from growing up in Tallassee. “I really enjoyed growing

The beginning

Faulkner University President Billy Dwight Hilyer, a Tallassee native. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Hilyer was probably your average boy growing up in


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 of South Alabama to get a masters in education degree in 1969. He also got a second masters degree in Bible studies from Southern Christian.

Family Along Hilyer’s journey through education, he fell in love. On Sept. 5, 1965, he married his wife Kay. They just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. The couple raised three children, Missy, Jonathan and David. Hilyer’s only daughter, Missy Jones, said she has many wonderful memories of her dad as she was growing up. “He was always making up silly songs or dances, and he still does that for his grandkids,” Jones said. “He has so many responsibilities and so much stress related to his job, so I love to see him let off a little steam. Few people outside our family or close friends know how funny he is.” Hilyer said he enjoys the company of six grandchildren. Jones said she believes her father’s greatest accomplishment is his family. “He would say he is most proud of the family he and my mother have raised,” Jones said. “We have all turned out to be successful, happy and productive citizens. We have all married wonderful spouses and have beautiful children. We all still attend and are active in the same church since 1974. I know those things mean so much to Mama and Daddy. They would say we are their greatest accomplishment.”

Life at Faulkner Billy Hilyer has a lifelong interest in horses.

up and going to school here in Tallassee,” Hilyer said. “I enjoyed hunting and fishing with my father.” Hilyer also had, and still has, a great interest in horses. “I had horses from as early as I can remember,” Hilyer said. “Coming home from school and going through the kitchen to get a glass of milk and some cookies and going to ride my horse.” He can still remember his very first after-school job after he became a teenager. “I worked for the 10 cent store in

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

town, B.J. Elmore,” Hilyer said. “I was a stock boy. On Saturdays, I walked the floors and helped look for people who were stealing. On holidays I helped wrap gifts.” Each week, Hilyer said he took home a hefty paycheck of $10 a week. When Hilyer graduated from Tallassee High School in 1962, he set out to college, leaving his hometown behind. Hilyer attended Alabama Christian College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in religious education in 1966. He then moved on to the University

Hilyer became acquainted with Faulkner University by first serving as a minister at the university’s church. From there, he moved up the ladder to dean of students, vice president of student services, executive vice president and finally, president. “I’m beginning my 25th year as president,” Hilyer said. “I still enjoy it.” Life as president of a university comes with major responsibilities. And though Hilyer said he thoroughly enjoys his job, he does miss the connection he once had with his students when he was ministering. “I do it all for the students,” Hilyer said. “I’m not as involved with the stu-


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 dents as I used to be. And I miss that. To see young people come and grow and develop in a number of ways is very encouraging and exciting. I never get tired of seeing that.” A typical day, according to Hilyer, is filled with meetings — a lot of meetings. “My idea of retirement is no meetings,” Hilyer said with a laugh. Other than meetings, Hilyer said his duties include fundraising projects and working closely with his “excellent” administrative staff.

Returning home Hilyer said he never had any plans of returning to his hometown of Tallassee. But when an opportunity came his way, he decided to take it. “I lived in Pike Road for years and years,” Hilyer said. “I never intended to move back to Tallassee. My father

found this place we live now between Tallassee and Eclectic. It’s a little farm with about 40 acres. The grandkids love coming to the country. I think we’ve probably decided we’ll retire there.” Jones said her father always had close ties to Tallassee. “He has wonderful memories of growing up here,” Jones said. “He still tells us stories about his time growing up, and he paints a very nostalgic picture of his hometown. He has always been very interested in the history of Tallassee and the surrounding area.” Though Hilyer says he will retire in Tallassee, judging by his schedule, he does not plan to retire any time soon. While driving by the Mount Vernon Theatre one day, Hilyer said he saw the sign out front asking for vol-

unteers to help restore the theater. He decided he wanted to be proactive in his community. “I kept going by and seeing that sign that had been out there for so long,” Hilyer said. “I mentioned to somebody that I had time to help them finish that project. And then somebody told somebody else and so on. So they’ve asked me to serve on that committee.” It is just one of a number of committees Hilyer is a part of now. Committees aside, he still finds time for his favorite pastimes. “My biggest hobby is I’ve always maintained my interest in bird hunting,” Hilyer said. “My dad and I used to always quail hunt together. What I do now is I run dogs in these horse field trials.” Hilyer’s many hobbies and activities is just his nature,

according to Jones. “Daddy loves to know the how and why of things,” Jones said. “My mother’s father kept bees when she was a child and several years ago, Daddy decided to give it a try. He read every book written on the subject, got the supplies he needed to be safe, and gave it a try. That’s the way he operates. He finds something that piques his curiosity and then he absorbs everything he can to learn all about it.” After returning home to Tallassee, Hilyer said the town looked “essentially the same” and wants to see it grow into something people can support. Hilyer said Tallassee still has that “community spirit” it had when he was growing up and thinks great things are yet to come. “I love Tallassee,” Hilyer said. “It’s my home.”


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Christmas collections

One corner of a Christmas scene in Jeanette Gantt’s home. PHOTO BY DAVID GOODWIN


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Holiday villages just keep growing By David Goodwin

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prawling villages spring up on shelves and tabletops in many homes each winter, as collections of Christmas village houses add to the Christmas cheer. Some, like Jeanette Gantt of Titus, don’t even limit the Christmas loveliness to December. One whole room of her house is dedicated to the little houses, stores and holiday scenes. “I don’t have any favorites, I just like all of them,” she said, though she was especially proud to point out one little village in a corner of her dining room. “That was the first thing I made in my ceramics class,” she said. The room near the front of Gantt’s farmhouse is dedicated to the season 365 days a year, with the houses and an

elaborate Christmas tree. More than 125 Christmas houses and stores line the tables and shelves. Gantt said the collection started more than 20 years ago, when the pastor’s wife at New Home Baptist Church in Titus had a few in her home. “I liked them, and began my own collection after that,” she said. “It’s been growing ever since.” Gantt said she collects the houses because she “just likes them.” With no more young grandchildren in the family, it’s a hobby just for her, she said. She hosts a couple of parties during the Christmas season, too. She only bought one new address for her village this year. It’s a home with Santa Claus, his sleigh and reindeer hovering overhead. “I just had to have that,” she said. “But I’ve got to stop buying them. I don’t have any place left to put them.” Linda Reed of Eclectic said it takes almost a week to unpack and set up the

Part of Linda Reed’s display of miniature Christmas buildings and people.

thousands of little houses and stores that decorate her Fleahop Road home. “I try to set them all up like little towns,” she said, “with the farm stuff all grouped together, the city stuff in another place.” On one table sits a little RV park, with miniature Winnebagos, Airstreams and other travel trailers and motorhomes. “I love them because everyone, especially children, love to look at them so much,” Reed said. “Whenever people come over at Christmas, it’s the first place kids go.” Reed, too, said it started with one little house given as a gift years ago. Among the sprawling mini-metropolis in her family room, she said she couldn’t remember which one came first. But it was followed by dozens and dozens more. “It’s a hobby that grew and just keeps on growing,” she said.

PHOTO BY DAVID GOODWIN


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Local families share Christmas spirit By David Goodwin hildren’s faces press against car windows as they line up in the long driveway of James McClendon’s Wetumpka home. Illuminated by thousands of multi-colored lights, they marvel in wonder at the winter wonderland the local businessman creates around his home. Thousands of lights adorn the yard where he and his wife Sandra have lived for about 40 years. Glittering skaters frolic across a pond, as Santa Claus fishes from the

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bank. Elves slide down a hill just beyond candy cane gates near the intersection of Alabama highways 14 and 170. McLendon said he began decorating when his grandson “was a little bitty guy” 17 or 18 years ago. “I added to it over the years, and it just kept getting bigger,” he said. He and Sandra started noticing strange cars ease up the driveway. Never one to hide his Christmas spirit, McLendon “opened up the back side and let them come on through.” More than 11,000 cars roll through his yard every year, McLendon said. On weekends when the weather’s nice, he and Sandra sometimes stand out on the deck dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus,

waving to children who ride by. “If the weather clears,” McLendon said, “there will be solid cars from my house to the highway. It’ll be bumperto-bumper.” Further out Highway 14, James Lee’s front pasture glows with Christmas spirit for passing motorists. A sign at the top of the driveway invites them to drive on up to the house. “I have no idea how much is out there,” he said. “We go buy some new stuff every year, and we’ve been doing it eight or nine years.” With hundreds of sparkling Christmas trees, presents, angels and elves, Lee said the holiday decorating begins in July. That’s when he unpacks each


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 attraction and plugs them up in his living room to see which lights need to be replaced. Lee said he got started small, but the display gets bigger every year. “We go buy some new stuff every year to add to it,” he said. His wife, who decorates the home’s interior as much as James lights the yard, starts working in August, he said. In September he begins to stage each attraction in the pasture, and runs the lights that illuminate his gently curving driveway. “We both love kids and love for them to enjoy coming to our house so much,” he said. Lee has three power meters to run it all. Rain can be a challenge, he said. The animated attractions require controllers to keep elves climbing the Christmas tree

One of many Christmas scenes displayed at the McLendons’ home each year. PHOTO BY DAVID GOODWIN

or Santa’s helicopter hovering. McClendon said his power bills reflect the intensity of his display. “With a power bill that’ll run about $2,000; it’s a lot of lights,” he said. The owner of Wetumpka’s Diversified Steel Fabricators,

McLendon said he’s put close to $35,000 into the display, and each year drops another $5,000 sending off parts to get wires fixed and bulbs replaced. Setup isn’t too bad, he said. Beginning in late October, it takes about four weeks. After the holidays,

the real work begins. “When you take them down, you have to be careful,” he said, adding he has two storage buildings where he stores every display. “If you’re in a hurry to get them down, you’ll mess up something. Then you’ve got to fix it.”


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

HOLIDAY FUN

Visitors to the Alabama Nature Center during last year’s Christmas event. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Alabama Nature Center offers old-fashioned Christmas activities By Griffin Pritchard For one day during the offseason, the Alabama Nature Center is atwitter with activity for kids of all ages. “I bring my kids every year,” said Karen Cooper of Prattville. “They really enjoy making the ornaments and going on the hayride.”

This year’s Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center is set for Dec. 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. “The winter here at the Alabama Nature Center is kind of neat,” said Rebecca Bearden of the Alabama Nature Center. “It’s kind of magical. “You get to go into the woods and actually get to see a lot more of the woods than you do during the spring be-

cause you aren’t blinded by so much green,” she said. “You actually get to look through and see animal homes and aspects of nature that only truly appear in the winter.” Another added bonus for those attending the annual event is the new wildlife that fly in. “One of the cool things to see this time of year is our

winter birds that come through only during this time because they are migrating,” said Bearden. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children. Youngsters under the age of 3 enter for free. “For the kids we’ll do all kind of stuff,” Bearden said. “We’ll gather acorns and sweetgum balls and leaves and sticks and twigs and


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Crafts created from natural materials are a highlight of Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

make all different types of ornaments. Some will look like angels, some like squirrels. This will be whatever. We’ll spray paint and make it all fancy and glittery.” Participants will be able to dine with Santa during a special luncheon. Attendees will also have the chance to make their own Christmas candy and cozy up

to the fireplace in the pavilion. “Last year we got a chocolate dipper machine and got pretzels and marshmallows and dipped them in there,” said Bearden. “So the kids had a good time and had stuff they could take home.” Children visiting were also treated to a candy cane scavenger hunt.

“We’ll do that again this year,” said Bearden. “We’ll have different candy canes hidden along the trail and the kids will have to find them and check them off a list. When they find all of the candy canes they bring the list back and get a bigger candy cane to take home.” For those searching for that perfect Christmas gift, partic-

ipants will also have the opportunity to create their own handmade Christmas decorations from native Alabama plants. While it might not be cold enough for a sleigh in Alabama, kids and adults can enjoy a holiday hayride with Santa and his elves. “We encourage everyone to come out and celebrate Christmas the natural way,” said ANC Director Jimmy Harris. “From holiday hayrides along the beautiful winter trails to decorations made from the wonders of the Alabama woods to lunch with Ol’ Saint Nick himself, the activities featured during Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center offer something for everyone.” While the event is only one day, the Alabama Nature Center staff takes to the property nearly a month prior to begin collecting materials. “We’ll go out into the woods and gather different kind of vines like muscadine vines or grape vines,” said Bearden. “Anything that we can make into wreaths. And then we’ll twist them up and decorate them with nandina (red berries), holly, any kind of greenery that we can find. And that’s something that’s more for the adults to do.” The Dec. 11 event is the third to be hosted by Lanark. “It’s been a really great way to get the community out and get them involved.” said Bearden. “Plus, it’s a good chance for people to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. They can come and sit on his lap. We’ll have a set-up with the rugs and the fireplace, so if they want to bring their cameras, then they are more than welcome to.” For lunch, the concession stand located inside the pavil-


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 ion will have holiday themed meals. “You can take a hayride and that’s a big deal,” said Bearden. “Our trails are beautiful during the winter months. We really want to highlight the trails here because they are so beautiful.” Christmas at the Alabama Nature was created as a way to involve the people of Elmore County with Lanark. “It’s an off season, so it’s another way to have events here when there is not a lot of kids here and we are super busy,” said Bearden. “We are busy in the fall and spring; and during the summer, we have camps. In December it’s slow. The kids are taking tests and getting ready for Christmas at their schools. This is a way for us to generate some revenue, celebrate Christmas and get some people out to see what all we have to offer.” Since its inception in 2008, Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center has brought with it a large turnout. “Every year we get more people involved,” said Bearden. “We’ve grown since we opened in 2007. And as the word-of-mouth gets out then we should see this thing grow again.” Lanark, home of the Alabama Nature Center, is located in Millbrook 10 minutes away from Interstate 65. It is part of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, which is the largest nonprofit conservation organization in the state.

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Visits with Santa Claus are a popular part of Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center, held at Lanark in Millbrook. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Resident Artists:

STEVE & DEB GARST Deb and Steve Garst outside their art studio.

PHOTO BY ASHLEY VICE


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Couple shares life, love of art By Ashley Vice

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rt is exigent to Steve and Deb Garst -- it isn’t extracurricular. It’s necessary, mandatory; an urgent, daily requirement. “An artist doesn’t paint because he/she chooses to, but because they have to,” Deb said. To the pair, both lifetime artists who found each other in Wetumpka and married in 2004, art is evolution and experimentation and expression. “There were times when I was working on something creative and my friends couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t go places with them. They just couldn’t understand how these paintings had to come out of me,” Steve said. “I’m not sure I understand, but I em-

brace it.” Though both worked in careers other than art before turning to painting for a living, the Garsts are lifetime artists. Deb still has her first art award, earned in third grade, and Steve boasts high school art training from one of the most respected instructors in Elmore County, Bobby Carr. Steve explained that art is evolutionary in the long term and the present process, citing his realist roots, illustrator background and day-to-day projects in watercolor and acrylic. Deb said the evolution of their individual projects is also aided by their input on each other’s art. Though their styles and approaches couldn’t be more different, Steve said the benefit of living with and loving another artist is the mutual understanding. “For us this is about expressing our

inner feelings in such a way that someone would go, ‘I get what you’re saying. I get it,’” he said. “We speak the same language.” Deb works with acrylics and just about anything else she can fit on the canvas from tissue paper to discarded cardboard, feathers and paper remnants. Her work is abstract, but alive with textures and colors. Her studio overflows with projects in process. “If it frustrates you, put it under the bed,” Deb offers, explaining why some projects are set aside before they’re finished. The practice is advice from her late mentor Evelyn Hunker. “I never realized that she meant literally put it under your bed; they had a small apartment with no room for studio so that was the only place to put it.” The story is at the center of Deb’s process, a method where paintings and


34 collages go through drastic transformation with time and distance and sometimes input from Steve. “I get joy out of watching her work,” Steve said. He reinforces the evolution of art using her pieces as an example. “I’ll see a piece one day, and another day when it’s finished I’m like ‘Wow, is that even the same piece?’” Steve’s work is realistic, often involving wildlife and human subjects, but his liberal use of color brings emotion and vitality to sometimes -ordinary scenes. A vision of his dog, Marley, running on psychedelic sands evokes the brightness and warmth of the seaside sun. A current project depicts a turkey strutting in an autumnal forest near an old, rundown barn with oranges and blues so true to fall the painting almost smells like fallen leaves. Both of the Garsts have earned acclaim and awards for their work, but at high risk, as Deb explained. Each art show requires membership in the hosting society, so in addition to entry fees, postage, mileage, materials and emotional investment the Garsts have to pay dues just to enter the show with no guarantee of winning. But winning is not a rare occurrence for the

Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Deb Garst with a ribbon she won as a child.

PHOTO BY ASHLEY VICE


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 Garsts and that risk paid off in a big way recently when both were given signature status in the International Society of Acrylic Painters. “The judge chose to give us signature status on our first shot,” Deb said. That achievement isn’t the only rarity in their ISAP experience. The Garsts were the only two Alabama artists given signature status this year, and the first husband and wife to be awarded that honor at the same time. It was also the first international show they’ve been in together. Deb also has status in the International Society of Experimental Artists. According to Steve the main goal of their art is expression, but the pressure and the joy lie in doing something better than he/she did last time. Their art can be viewed at www.garstart.com.

Steve Garst in the studio.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEY VICE


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

This Lake Jordan Home is 3,800 square feet on 10 acres.. PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

By Kevin Taylor

LAKE AND LAND Home offers best of two worlds

There are few homes which can offer the best of both worlds, but the 3,800 square foot home at 212 Highridge Drive off the shores of Lake Jordan in the Titus community certainly comes close. This four bedroom, three and one-half bath custombuilt home is located just a few steps away from Lake

Jordan, while sitting on more than 10 acres of land. Before even entering the home, you could just sit out on the front porch area and enjoy the night air and lake just below. Entering the front of the home through the huge wooden double doors, you can walk straight into enough living space for a large famThe home features a spacious PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR kitchen.

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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Large fireplaces are a focal point in the home. PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR

ily or even to entertain. The living room is accentuated by the 24-foot tongue and groove ceiling with exposed cypress beams along with a floor to ceiling stone fireplace. Opposite of the living room area is a formal dining area which connects not only with the living room, but the spacious kitchen area. The kitchen has all the modern appliances, but also offers some rustic flair. Mexican tile lines the kitchen area while the sink is made of hammered copper. In the middle of the kitchen is an island which can not only house a microwave and the dishwasher, but also has another hammered copper sink. In front of the kitchen is a spacious breakfast nook with large frame windows to look out into the pool area in the back yard. If you want to entertain or maybe enjoy dinner outside of the home, there is plenty of room outside.

A large screened-in porch has a bar area, which includes a TV and built-in sound system. Outside of the porch area is a large concrete patio area, which leads right to the built-in pool. All of the bedrooms are spacious and certainly family friendly and have large closets. The master bathroom is a getaway of its own, complete with a spacious marble shower, huge whirlpool tub and coffee station with a built-in wine cooler. Upstairs is a large fun room which is perfect to house your own pool table and theatre. Outside and opposite the pool is a hot tub, which is covered by a gazebo. The property also has a large workshop for additional storage and a treehouse for the children. The home, which is listed by Cathy Thornton of Cornerstone Realty Group of Wetumpka, is listed at $535,000. For more information about the home, contact Cathy at 334-478-3825.


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

The four-bedroom home offers various outdoor living areas.

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PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Out and about at ... ECEDA Unity Lunch


Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Titus Bluegrass Festival

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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Elmore County Night of Bands


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Tallassee Trade Day


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Color the Town Pink Walks

Wetumpka Candy Walk

Veterans Day


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

Mark Your Calendar

Wetumpka Tree Lighting Nov. 29, 5 p.m. Gold Star Park Photos with Santa, seasonal music, introduction of Christmas on the Coosa pageant winners, announcement of parade grand marshal. Christmas on the Coosa shirts on sale, refreshments and the official tree lighting. Wetumpka Depot Players: “Red Headed Robbie’s Christmas Story” Dec. 2-4, 7 p.m.; Dec. 4, 2 p.m. Wetumpka Depot Theatre Red Headed Robbie is chosen to make up a story and tell it to the Christmas assembly, but when he’s nervous his words come out funny. His friends help him on stage, telling how they were visited by a redheaded angel. Tickets are $10. For information, call 334-868-1440 or e-mail kmeanor@wetumpkadepot.com. Millbrook Tree Lighting Dec. 2, 6 p.m. Village Green Park Activities will include seasonal music and caroling and lighting of the tree. For information, call 334-285-0085 or visit www.cityofmillbrook.org.

Millbrook Community Players: “White Christmas” Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 4, 5 and 11, 2 p.m. Millbrook Theatre The play is based on the classic film and features 17 Irving Berlin songs. It is the story of World War II veterans who follow two beautiful singing sisters to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Visit www.millbrook theatre.com or call 334-782-7817 for more information. Tallassee Chamber Open House Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seven Gables Refreshments provided with a canned food donation.

Eclectic Christmas Parade, Festival and Tree Lighting Dec. 3, 4 p.m. Downtown Eclectic Open house at municipal building at 4 p.m. Phe parade will begin at 6 p.m., followed by lighting of the town’s Christmas tree at approximately 7 p.m. For more information, call 334541-3581.

Tallassee Christmas Parade Dec. 4, 10 a.m. Downtown Tallassee Tallassee rolls in the Christmas spirit with its annual parade. For more information, call 334-283-6571. Town of Elmore Tree Lighting Dec. 4, 5 p.m. Park across from Town Hall Includes tree lighting, music, living Nativity, concessions, arrival of Santa. Continues until 6:30 p.m.

Spirit of Christmas Festival and Parade Dec. 4, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Millbrook Arts and crafts and concession vendors in Village Green Park all day. Parade will begin at 2 p.m. at Southgate Plaza Shopping Center, travel up Main Street, turn left onto Edgewood and end at the Village Green. Call 334285-0085 for information. Sounds of the Season Dec. 4, 7 to 9 p.m. First United Methodist Church, Tallassee The McCraney-Cottle Singers will

perform in the Christmas concert featuring popular favorites and classics of the Christmas season. Tickets can be purchased at Tallassee City Hall during regular business hours or at the door. For information, call 334-2528506 or e-mail mcarts@elmore.rr.com. Wetumpka Pearl Harbor Remembrance Dec. 7, 10:55 a.m. Gold Star Park The annual observance will mark the 69th anniversary of the bombardment of Pearl Harbor, an event that precipitated U.S. involvement in World War II. The program will include remarks honoring military personnel, prayer and the playing of “Taps.” Everyone is invited to attend. An Eclectic Christmas Dec. 8, 10-12, tours 6 to 9 p.m. 1733 Claud Road, at Eclectic’s town limits “star” Local residents and youth will reenact the Christmas story, from the angels’ appearance to shepherds announcing Christ’s birth, through downtown Bethlehem and Jesus’ birth in a


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010 manger. For information or to make reservations, call First Baptist of Eclectic at 541-4444. Christmas on the Coosa Dec. 11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Downtown Wetumpka The city’s 27th annual holiday festival will offer the 12Ks of Christmas run, arts and crafts vendors, concessions, entertainment, antique car show, quilt show, motorcycle show, art shows, a street parade, Santa on skis, a boat parade, fireworks show and more. No admission fee. For information, call 334-567-1384.

mission is $4, 13 and older; $2, ages 4-12; and free, 3 and younger. Wetumpka Police Department Community Christmas Party Dec. 19, 2 to 4 p.m. Wetumpka Civic Center The annual event features food, games, a gift for each child 12 and younger and a visit with Santa. Donations to help fund the project can be made at the Wetumpka PD headquarters.

New Year's Bash Dec. 31-Jan. 1 Camp Chandler For ages 5-14. Activities will include fishing, archery, riflery, broom hockey, field games, pedal boats, canoes, putt putt and more. Campers will bring in the New Year with a party, fireworks and a ball drop. Fee charged, which includes T-shirt, camp store and group picture. Deadline to register is Dec. 29. For complete details, visit www.campchandler.org.

Progressive Nativity Dec. 17, 6 to 8 p.m. Downtown Wetumpka The annual walk-through will feature live scenes from the traditional Christmas story, enacted by local church members. There will also be free refreshments and entertainment. For information, call 334-567-1384.

Christmas Camp Dec. 20-22 Camp Chandler For children 5-14. Activities include fishing, archery, riflery, canoes, broom hockey, field games, pedal boats, putt putt, campfire with s’mores, holiday crafts, Christmas goodies, Christmas tree trimming, a party and more. Fee charged, which includes T-shirt, camp store and group picture. For complete details, visit www.campchandler.org.

Eclectic Girls Club Jan. 19, 10:30 a.m. Kountry Kitchen, Eclectic Ladies with an interest in Eclectic are invited to attend the dutch treat lunch.

Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center Dec. 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alabama Nature Center, Millbrook Participants can dine with Santa during a special luncheon, make Christmas candy, create handmade Christmas decorations from native Alabama plants and enjoy a holiday hayride with Santa and his elves. Ad-

New Year’s Eve Celebration Dec. 31, 9:30 p.m. Old Elmore County Courthouse Plaza Welcome in 2011 with activities including a tribute to POWs/MIAs, luminaries, a lighted American flag, a countdown clock, live entertainment, the “asteroid drop” and fireworks. No admission. No alcohol.

Millbrook Community Players: “The Mousetrap” Feb. 10-12, 17-19, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 13 and 19, 2 p.m. Millbrook Theatre Agatha Christie’s hit about a group of strangers stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer. Admission $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Visit

Eclectic Boys Club Feb. 2, 11 a.m. Kountry Kitchen, Eclectic Dutch treat lunch open to any man with an interest in Eclectic.

www.millbrooktheatre. com for more information. IBO Rumbling Waters Challenge Feb. 18-20 Bennett’s Archery, Wetumpka Hundreds of archery enthusiasts, vendors and other participants will attend the first leg of the International Bowhunting Organization’s Southern Triple Crown of Bowhunting Championships. For information, call 5141286. 15th Annual Elmore County NWTF Hunting and Heritage Banquet Feb. 25, 6 p.m. Wetumpka Civic Center Ticket cost includes admission, dinner and annual NWTF membership. For information, call Chet Matthews or email elmorecountynwtf@yahoo. com. Millbrook Mardi Gras Festival and Parade Feb. 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Downtown Millbrook A family-oriented event celebrating Mardi Gras sponsored by the Millbrook Revelers. Offers live music, entertainment, food and vendors in Village Green Park all day. Parade on Main Street at 12 p.m. No charge for parade entries, a small fee for vendors. For info, visit www.millbrookrevelers. com.


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Elmore County Living • Winter 2010

A LAST LOOK

One of Trinity Episcopal Church’s stained glass windows.

PHOTO BY KEVIN TAYLOR



Elmore County Living