The Guntersville Museum turned a city landmark into the cornerstone of an entire cultural district. The facility was built in 1936 prior to World War II, as a military armory for Company E, 167th Infantry Division.
Built under the Works Progress Act (WPA), the building was constructed of local rough limestone. With its distinctive castellated (castle-like) architecture, the Museum sits on a tree-covered hilltop adjacent to Guntersville's highly rated Public Library and overlooking the acclaimed Whole Backstage Community Theatre.
The museum gift shop offers a selection of books on local history, note cards, prints and vintage post cards. Handmade stoneware and gifts from the Gee's Bend Collective are featured.
history of the guntersville armory
The Guntersville Armory was constructed in 1936 under President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. The project was a collaboration between the WPA and the Public Works Administration.
The property on which the building is situated was deeded to the city in the early 1900's by the Wyeths, a very influential Guntersville family.
The armory was constructed to house Company E of the 167th Infantry of the Alabama National Guard. Our local congressman, Joe Starnes, a member of the Armed Services Committee, was very influential in a national armory construction program. His perseverance led to the construction of numerous armories across the country as well as our own.
After its completion in 1936, the armory was used for drills, training, and classroom instruction. President Roosevelt called the Guard to active duty in 1940 and while the 167th Infantry was away during WWII, the local home guard trained in the facility. Upon their return, the 167th used the building for training until they were called to the Korean War.
The armory has always been a prime locale for social events, community functions and meetings.
During construction of the Guntersville Dam the building was used for dances, and later for parties that coincided with the town's annual boat races.
A new armory was constructed elsewhere in the 1970s and the old building was turned over to the city of Guntersville. It was used as the local fire station until the mid-1980s and after renovation in 2006 the Guntersville Museum was relocated here. The old rock armory building is now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Indians receiving gifts from the Spanish
by: Charles Russell Hardman