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The Demopolis Pilgrimage, a biennial event of the Marengo County Historical Society, will feature landmarks this year to complement the closing weekend of the Hellman Wyler Festival, March 10 and 11, 2007.

Come tour over a dozen 19th and early 20th century sites featuring Lyon Hall, Gaineswood, and the recently renovated Town Hall, as well as private residences and businesses. In celebration of the Hellman Wyler Festival, Jewish heritage and history sites, including those constructed by the family members of Lillian Hellman, will be included on the pilgrimage map. Her great grandfather Isaac Marx is considered the first Jewish settler in Demopolis.

The Pilgrimage will also feature the First Methodist Church of Demopolis where Margaret Tallichet Wyler's ancestors dedicated a stained glass window in 1896. Visitors on Sunday, March 11, 2007, should include the 11 a.m. service at Trinity Episcopal Church in their schedule. The Rev. Aaron Raulerson will deliver a sermon about the biblical themes within Hellman's "The Little Foxes." The play's name was suggested to Miss Hellman by Dorothy Parker who coined it from a verse within the Song of Solomon. Parker's father Henry Rothschild was a native of nearby Selma, Alabama.

The two day pilgrimage will be Saturday, March 10, from 10:00am-5:00pm and Sunday, March 11, from 2:00pm-5:00pm. Visit the Demopolis Events section of Schedule and Information for ticket information.

The Sunday, March 11, Pilgrimage promises another special event when the Birmingham Festival Theatre cast reads "The Children's Hour" in historic Lyon Hall at
3 p.m. The play is directed by Edward C. Miller.

The Lyon Hall reading requires a reservation, as seating is limited.  Visit the Demopolis Events section of Schedule and Information for details and reservations.

CATCH A BUS FROM THE LJCC!

On Sunday, March 11, 2007, the Levite Jewish Community Center (LJCC) in Birmingham will sponsor a bus trip to Demopolis, the historic city that has opened its doors for the Hellman Wyler Festival. The bus leaves LJCC at 10 a.m. and arrives in time for lunch at the vintage Demopolis Inn restaurant. Afterwards, local guides provide a look into the city, home to the families of Lillian Hellman and Mrs. William Wyler.

We will enjoy the diverse heritage and Jewish history that make Demopolis a crown jewel in Alabama's Black Belt region. The $70 ticket includes bus transportation, lunch and the pilgrimage with a projected return to the LJCC at 6 p.m. A minimum number is required for the trip.

Book now! Call 205-879-0441 and ask for Robert or visit www.bhamjcc.org to reserve. The Center is located at 3960 Montclair Road, Birmingham.
 

Bluff Hall c. 1832, Demopolis, Alabama

Bluff Hall c. 1832

These homes (Bluff Hall above and Lyon Hall below) were constructed by the Lyon family and may have inspired "Lionnet" in Lillian Hellman's play, "The Little Foxes."

Lyon Hall c. 1850-53, Demopolis, Alabama

Lyon Hall c. 1850-53

West Alabama Real Estate, Inc. c. 1885, originally built for Marx Banking Company.
Lillian Hellman's great grandfather Isaac Marx constructed this bank for operation by his sons. The Marxes moved to New York where they continued to prosper as bankers

Town Hall, Demopolis, Alabama

Town Hall. c. 1843
Hellman's grandfather Leonard Newhouse was secretary to the Demopolis Opera Association, which operated this building as a theater during the late 1800s. Immediately after the Civil War, the building provided local headquarters for Union troops.

The home to the current Gibbs and Sellers Law Firm was built in 1898 for Marx Mules and Wagons, a livery stable owned by two uncles of Lillian Hellman.

Tallichet Window: The window was installed in the Methodist Church by Margaret Tallichet Wyler's grandfather, Albert Tallichet, in 1896 to remember his
deceased son Eugene.

Gaineswood is a nationally renowned Greek Revival mansion constructed by
General Nathan Bryan Whitfield from 1843 until 1861. The historic house
museum, owned and operated by the Alabama Historical Commission,
is a peerless example of Neoclassical design.

     
  For Information contact:
The Hellman Wyler Festival

Birmingham Festival Theatre:
205-933-2383
Marengo County Historical Society:
334-289-0282