The story of the Ashville Museum & Archives began on July 8, 1903, when Mrs. Mattie Lou (Teague) Crow was born to John Rowan and Tallulah (Nunnelly) Teague. As a child Mrs. Crow played on the steps of the Old Ashville Courthouse, and heard the old stories of Ashville and St. Clair County during the days of the pioneers, the Creek War, and Civil War. Her love for history never ceased and through her unrelenting determination and strong will, she was able to see her dream of a museum and archives in Ashville come true in 1980. Her work did not stop there and in 1993, upon hearing that the Old Ashville Masonic Lodge would be torn down, started a campaign to save it. The Historic Ashville Masonic Lodge still stand today, proudly reflecting its 160 year old heritage and houses the Mattie Lou (Teague) Crow museum in its upstairs loft.
Mrs. Crow served as the Ashville Museum & Archives’ first director and succeeded by Mrs. Elizabeth “Lib” Lonnergan and Mrs. Jan Fink. From 1987 – 2016, the Archives was under the guiding hand of Mrs. Charlene Simpson and in the words of St. Clair County historian Mr. Joe Whitten of Odenville, “...became one of the treasures of St. Clair County. One of her greatest joys was the St. Clair County 4th Grade History Projects and would often relate, “I learn with them and love to see children come in with their parents who I helped when they did this." She was both loved and appreciated by children all over the county for her kindness and patience.
The Ashville Museum & Archives is located at 78 6th Avenue on the Historic Ashville Courthouse Square and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.– 5 p.m., closed 12 – 1 p.m. for lunch, and can be reached at 205-594 - 2128. The Archives houses volumes of books and files on the histories and genealogies of the county, Alabama and the states of Arkansas, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Since May 2, 2016, it has been under the direction of Mr. Robert Debter, a native of Blount County who traces his roots back to Ashville in 1820. He is also distantly related to Mrs. Crow, as they are both descended from Joshua Teague, a captain in the American Revolution.
The Ashville Museum & Archives operates a Facebook page which in its three year operation has gathered over 1,400 followers at Facebook.com/ashvillemuseumandarchives