I’m not quite sure who was doing the leading this time around. Leading Mike to the Walker Area Community Foundation and the Bankhead House & Heritage Center is never a hard sell. He looks for opportunities to see his friends Mimi Hudson, Barbara Brown Medders, Cristy Moody, Pam Fikes and Paul Kennedy.
Not only is WACF the largest funder for Jasper Main Street, along with funding 180 non-profits throughout the area at more than $2,000,000 just last year, it has awarded more than $20,000,000 since its inception in 1995.
The WACF also owns and operates the BHHC, the People’s House and WACF’s investment in the community. This house is the former home of U.S. Speaker of the House William Brockman Bankhead, father of my namesake, Tallulah Brockman Bankhead. I go by Tallulah Bankhead Putman; at least that’s what my AKC papers say.
The admission to BHHC is and always shall be free and tours for individuals, groups, and schools are available. In addition the WACF offers free bus transportation for all Walker County and Jasper City Schools.
What do you see at the BHHC? I saw the current exhibit, Celebrating our Communities: Chapter 3 which features artifacts from Farmstead, Jasper, Manchester (where I was born on February 5, 2018 ‑ remember that), Redmill, Thach, and Saragossa.
Look at the other exhibits and their Under The Stars events held at the house and amphitheatre. I especially love going to the music events, which are always free to humans and canines; I just wish Mike could stop himself from dancing.
Throughout the house you can see items once owned by William B. Bankhead and pictures of him with family and friends, including his sister, Marie Bankhead, the first female director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History along with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The house also has a section that pays homage to Walker County’s 111 years of continuous representation in Washington beginning with John Hollis Bankhead I, John Hollis Bankhead II, William Brockman Bankhead, Walter Will Bankhead, Carter Manasco, Carl Elliott, Sr., and Tom Bevill.
I trotted upstairs to Tallulah Bankhead’s room where Mike took pictures because it was my first visit; I couldn’t count on four paws how many times he has visited the room.
Not only does the room have some of her belongings, including her address book with Tennessee Williams’ phone number in it, along with pictures, but it also has local art work by Bill Young and Alan Woellhart inspired by Tallulah.
The house, located at 800 West Seventh Street adjacent to Downtown Jasper, is open Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Visit their website at www.bhandhc.org and their Facebook page Bankhead House & Heritage Center.
All are welcome, residents and visitors, to the People’s House!