“Walker County is a coal mining county, that’s the main history of Walker County,” said Richard Lovelady, president of the mining museum. “It’s important to preserve that history. Walker County was so strong in coal mining, and the younger generation is not aware of what was involved and what their ancestors went through.”
Like many museums and landmarks, the museum operates under a tight budget — a budget which does not have an allowance for routine maintenence.
“We have construction work that needs to be done,” Lovelady said.
Repairs, maintenance and construction are common on buildings as old as those on the hill that houses the museum. The museum’s main building was built by the federal government during the depression, Lovelady said. It once served as a gymnasium for Dora High School.
“People who went to school there donate to the museum now to preserve the building,” Lovelady said. “It’s dear to my heart because that’s the building I played basketball in.”
Over the years, the museum has expanded its focus and added other attractions, such as an old school used to educate black children during segregation, a steam engine that was used to haul coal from Walker County mines and an old railroad depot that was moved from Oakman.
“We’ve had to make all the cuts we can,” Lovelady said. Those cuts also mean the museum is only open from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday each week (except by special arrangement for groups).
This Saturday, the East Walker Chamber of Commerce will hold its second annual 5k race in Dora, and participants can choose to allocate a portion of their entry fees to the museum, which Lovelady hopes they will do.
“We hope people recognize the importance of the museum to the community,” Lovelady said. “Donations to the museum are always greatly appreciated.”
Registration forms for the 5k, slated to start Saturday morning at 7 a.m. at the Mining Museum, are available at the East Walker Chamber of Commerce, by calling 205-255-0202 or by registering online at www.active.com and searching for “East Walker Chamber of Commerce 5k.”
The fee for the 5k is $25, which includes a T-shirt and small breakfast after the race.
The fun run also includes a T-shirt and breakfast for an entry fee of $15. There will also be door prizes given away by the sponsors of the race.
Donations to the museum are tax deductible. For those who want to contribute, but are not able to participate in the 5k, checks can be made payable to the Alabama Mining Museum and mailed to: Alabama Mining Museum, c/o Richard Lovelady, P.O. Box 635, Dora, AL 35062.