NW corner of Franklin St. & Gates Ave., Huntsville
By: Madison County Commission
SITE - ALABAMA'S FIRST
Here, on July 5, 1819 forty-four delegates from twenty-two Counties in the Alabama Territory met to frame a State Constitution which was accepted and signed August 2, 1819.
Convention leadership was furnished by two Huntsvillians, John Williams Walker, president, and Clement Comer Clay, chairman of a committee appointed to draft the document.
ALABAMA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION 1965
1819 - 1910
MARKS THE SPOT WHERE
ENTERED THE UNION
CHAPTER OF TWICKENHAM TOWN
D. A. R.
This marker and the plaque on the boulder to the left of the building mark the site where the first constitution for Alabama was written.
Walker Allen’s cabinet shop was the largest vacant building available to host the constitutional convention held here in 1819. The buildings that make up Alabama’s Constitution Village have been recreated to represent those on this site in 1819. Archeological digs, detailed maps, and even photographs were used to get as close to original, and as authentic, as possible.
Today, interpreters in period costume represent life in Huntsville in the early 19th Century.
ALABAMA'S CONSTITUTION AND STATEHOOD
Before statehood, the Alabama Territory had only limited rights of self government. Between July 5 and August 2, 1819, forty-four delegates from across the Territory convened in Huntsville to draft a constitution for statehood. Lawyers, merchants, ministers, planters, farmers, and physicians gathered here to produce a legal framework for self-government to protect the sovereignty of the people. A firm belief in the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches led to one of the most democratic constitutions on the frontier. The document was a mixture of ideas reflecting the diversity of the delegates. The delegates preserved an independent judiciary and the right of the people to elect the governor and legislature by ballot. The constitution included the right to vote on amendments, making Alabama one of the first states in the young country to give its people direct participation in constitutional lawmaking. An entire section was devoted to education, stating that education "shall forever be encouraged in this state."
On August 2, 1819 the document was signed on this site in a cabinetmaker's shop, the largest public building in town. Like the delegates themselves, the constitution reflected the interests of every walk of life from frontiersman to professional. On December 14, 1819, President James Monroe signed the constitution and Alabama became the twenty-second state.
PLACED BY THE ALABAMA STATE BAR AND THE HUNTSVILLE-MADISON COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION 1991