Progress and Preservation in Prattville, AL
Progress and preservation flow together harmoniously in Prattville, as smoothly as the creek that helped first put the city on the map.
City founder Daniel Pratt established Prattville along Autauga Creek in the late 1830s, building his cotton gin manufacturing factory near the fall line to use the water for powering the machinery. This made the city known as the “Birthplace of Industry” in Alabama.
Prattville Partners LLC, a partnership by Longstreet Capital out of Atlanta, is in the process of preserving and converting those now-empty factory buildings into a cool residential development in the historic heart of the city. The transformation is expected to begin by early 2013.
“The mill buildings are such a central component to our downtown both historically and structurally,” says Joel Duke, Prattville’s city planner.
When founding the city, Pratt also set aside areas for businesses, churches, schools and residential areas within his new town. Property owners, in conjunction with the Autauga County Heritage Association, have preserved many of these homes and buildings that make up Old Prattvillage today.
And still flowing through it all is what many refer to as the jewel of the city – Autauga Creek. Pratt wasn't the first to see the creek as a liquid asset. Native Americans established a village not far from where the city is today, naming it Atagi ("water") which gives the base to the creek's modern name.
Creek for the Community
Thanks to the hard work of naturalists and community leaders, Autauga Creek has evolved to suit the needs of the community. Once a critical resource to industry, the creek today is enjoyed by kayakers and canoeists, as well as walkers and joggers on the trail alongside it.
Committee President Iris Korthauer says the best things about the creek now are that it is gorgeous and free.
Thanks to the committee and the efforts of its members, the creek trail, which technically was established some 25 years ago, is now vibrant once again. Korthauer says the committee is working on putting maps and kiosks along the trail so people will know where to put in and get out of the creek. Creekwalk and Creekwalk Garden, just behind City Hall near downtown, are also vital elements to the future of the creek and the town.
“The children of Prattville go to the swimming hole behind the park. Now my children have children, and I went back there with the grandbabies,” Korthauer says. “They had a ball. This is why I want to keep improving this area. The children. I want this for my grandchildren.”
Find more on the history of Prattville, AL.