HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Thursday, the Huntsville City Council approved Mayor Tommy Battle’s request to begin construction on the new park that pays tribute to the 2.5-acre site where the former Councill High once stood.
William Hooper Councill High School was Huntsville’s first public school for African-American students. More than 150 years after the school first opened its doors, and more than 50 years since the school closed, the historic site on St. Clair Avenue will be memorialized with a new park.
The site plan, designed by Bostick Landscape Architects with input from alumni and the city of Huntsville, pays homage to the footprint of the original building through carefully define walkways, benches and structures made from the original schoolhouse bricks, groves of trees and landscaping that highlights the school’s floor plan, and an school entrance with a sculpture of the first student entering the building.
“I am so proud of the William Hooper Council Alumni Association for being at the forefront of this project every step of the way,” said Devyn Keith, City Council President and District 1 council member. “Their passion and perseverance have ensured that African American history and the role it played in every aspect of Huntsville’s history will be immortalized in this park. This place of opportunity – the only place open to black students at the time – will now be a welcome gathering spot for all of our citizens.”
Phase one of the historic park will cost about $1.4 million and should be complete by May 2020.
Phases two and three will include additional bronze sculptures.
William H. Councill was the founder and first president of what became Alabama A&M in 1875. A former slave, Councill rose to become a lawyer, newspaper editor, legislator and Alabama Supreme Court justice.