Welcome to our website! 


The Board of Directors and staff of The Ridge Macon County Archaeology Project hope that the information, stories and images presented here will entice you to visit with us in Warrior
Stand, Alabama.   


Alabama is a historian’s treasure, a preservationist’s delight, an educator's resource, and a tourist's mecca.  For example, just off busy Interstate 85 is the City of Tuskegee basking in a stately legacy that is rooted in the resolute spirit and leadership of Booker T. Washington.  Just south of Phenix City off  U.S. Highway 431 is the charming town of Eufaula in Barbour County.  Eufaula exudes gentility from every pore of its antebellum architecture.  But the treasures found in the southeast corner of Macon County are quite different.  Here, the woodlands provide thick canopies that line random dirt roads that run in every direction off County Road 10.  The cluster of historic communities along and adjacent to County Road 10 about halfway between Tuskegee and Hurtsboro is the area that we call The Ridge.  


While Eufaula is like a refined lady, The Ridge is like a rough and tumble, high-spirited lassie with an intriguing past.  Today, the secluded appearance of The Ridge has never been more deceiving for it was not always so out-of-the-way.  The Ridge Project area encompasses a stretch of high ground that long ago was a Native American footpath. The transient activities of game hunting and deer skin trading were facilitated by the path.
The path became a U.S. postal road in 1806.  Between 1811 and 1850 it was used as a traveler’s road as a mass of anxious planters from the southeastern U.S. gave up on their worn-out soil and thinning wallets.  They hitched up their stage coaches and wagons and journeyed to present-day Alabama in search of rich dirt and a clean financial slate. The route they took was called The Federal Road. According to authors Southerland and Brown,*  an estimated half million individuals traveled this road. 

 

The year 2006 marked the 200th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. postal
road that became the Federal Road.  The road opened a door into a new chapter of life and vibrancy for America's pioneers.  And to think, The Ridge was their gateway.   Those pioneers – Native American, planters and their families, enslaved and freed men and women, sought and found opportunities here to explore, discover, prosper and grow.  Today, The Ridge retains historical integrity in its tranquil, scenic landscape, quaint extant structures and  through the descendants of the free and enslaved pioneers who still reside here.   It is our mission to re-open a welcoming door and to offer opportunities for teaching and learning and discovery and growth.  The history here offers the opportunity
to develop academically sound lessons along with a heaping side dish of meaning
and purpose that is found when people make the effort to understand each other
and to examine the past as they seek wisdom for the present and future society.  As one descendant of The Ridge stated:  


 “As a historian, I am struck by the unique opportunity which the Project offers for a new and in-depth study of the HOW of a small agricultural community in late 19th- and early 20th-century Alabama. The Ridge was not covered by the grand plantations of the Black Belt. This was farming on a smaller scale, in a more isolated area, away from the large rivers which were the superhighways of their day. And the most interesting aspect of all is the day-to-day interaction of the five major groups inhabiting the Ridge — the Native Americans, the small settler farmers, the comparatively few plantation owners, the slaves, and the tenant farmers. Because of its isolation and relative small size, the Ridge offers us a perfect microcosm of social-racial-economic interaction.”  


It is our sincere hope and desire that you will browse and enjoy the website now and on a regular basis.  Plans are to add more surname bios, Creek Indian information and information on topics related to the Ridge, South Macon County and Alabama's Black Belt. Please consider partnering with us in fulfilling our mission.  Feel free to email your comments, suggestions and questions to contact@digtheridge.com.  Remember to visit our Donate page for more information on how you can support our educational mission!


Sincerely,


Shari L. Williams


Executive Director

* Southerland and Brown, The Federal Road: through Georgia, the Creek Nation, and Alabama, 1806-1836, 1989, The University of Alabama Press.

One of the joys of The Ridge Project is sharing with students and developing wonderful friendships and partnerships.   Photos from top:

--S. Williams with Lee-Scott 4th graders at the Interpretive Center, Oct. 2013; 

--G. Drummond at the 2012 Interpretive Center grand opening.  (Glenn is usually behind the camera taking candid shots but he graciously posed for this picture)!  

--TU Student, R. Perry and D. Chandler surveying a wooded area near The Ridge dig site - we couldn't have gotten through the summer 2012 dig without out them!

--K. Love, Board Member and W. Pace, Volunteer at the 2012 Interpretive Center grand opening - both are truly dedicated and will roll up their sleeves!

--E.. Powell with lee-Scott Academy students at The Ridge dig site, Oct. 2013 - she has supported The Ridge in so many ways! 

​--Right - Guests waiting to be served at the "Taste of the Ridge" Food Festival - Sept. 2013, The Ridge Interpretive Center - we had a good turnout and a good time in spite of the rainy weather!