Built in 1895 by John Whitfield, owner of ALAGA syrup company and Whitfield Pickles, the home was purchased by Lum Duke, a local judge. His daughter Inez Duke Searcy was the first ever female attorney.
The home is now the headquarters for the Opelika Chamber of Commerce.
Booker T. Washington was an educator, speaker, author, and benefactor. He was the first president of Tuskegee University when it was known as Tuskegee Institute. His accomplishments are numerous. From working with Julius Rosenwald to start the fund for Rosenwald schools to traveling the world to speak on issues that impacted the Black community, Washington was a tireless advocate for change. Many members of the Black community supported his belief that the focus should be on education and wealth accumulation. Whereas there were those, who disagreed with him and felt that he bowed to white interests by not pushing forward an agenda based on civil rights and political representation.
“The Oaks” is a large Victorian that sits next to campus. Tuskegee’s students helped build the home that Washington and his family moved into in 1900.
In 1915, Booker T. Washington passed away. It was believed that he died from congestive heart failure and kidney disease that was caused by the stress of his work (later examination of his medical records indicated that he was suffering from very high blood pressure). Over 8,000 people attended his funeral. He is buried in the campus’s cemetery, which is next to the Chapel.
At age 4, Nadine Earles died from diphtheria near Christmas. Her father, Julien, was building a dollhouse for Christmas. The little girl was so excited about the dollhouse she demanded, “Me want now!” The family chose to build the dollhouse over her crypt, ultimately making it a very elaborate grave house. The dollhouse can be seen in the Lanett City Cemetery.
The inside of the dollhouse is a little tricky to photograph because of the awnings and the glare in the windows. The toys were some of her favorites. If you compare the photos from FindAGrave, you can see that some of the toys are moved around the dollhouse.
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and School were founded in 1916 and 1922, respectively. The school is the only Rosenwald school that is still standing in Macon County, Alabama.
The church and school were one of the locations during the Tuskegee Syphilis Study where participants were told to meet so the United States Public Health Service officials could pick them up for treatment or lack thereof.
The church and school were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. The school went under restoration in 2011.