The 170 year old cemetery contains varied examples of funerary sculpture from simple early 19th century slab markers and box tombs to Greek Revival obelisks and later, more ornate Victorian grave monuments with crosses, floral motifs, and sentimental eulogies. Graves of many notable early settlers can be found here, including those of Benjamin Sherrod (1776-1847), planter-barron and chief promoter of the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur Railroad, and Dr. Jack Shackelford (1790-1857), organizer of the ill-fated volunteer military company, the “Red Rovers”, who fought for Texas independence. There are also graves of Confederate soldiers who died at the hospital in Courtland during the Civil War. The landscape of the cemetery includes old cedars, oaks, and English boxwoods.
Courtland Air Field
Following the onset of World War II, the United States faced a challenging goal to train upwards of 75,000 to 100,000 pilots per year. It was recognized that to achieve this, many new training fields would have to be constructed – hundreds across the country. Due to the climate allowing year-round flight instruction, as well as the low airways congestion, North Alabama was considered to be a good location for one of the new Army Air Force training fields. Following a review by a site selection board, Courtland was chosen to receive this facility. It was considered the best overall site of three evaluated within the North Alabama region.
As training needs decreased toward the end of the war, training air fields were deactivated across the country. Courtland Army Airfield was one of these, it being deactivated in June 1945. At the end of the war the airfield was determined to be excess by the War Department in 1946 and was excessed. The site was returned to the State of Alabama by quitclaim deed in 1948.
With regard to the original structures, most everything but the runways, and several concrete slabs with three or four wide concrete steps are gone now. A steel-framed aircraft hangar that was once used at Courtland still exists and is still in use, but is no longer located at the Courtland site. This structure was disassembled and moved to the Birmingham Municipal Airport (now Birmingham International Airport) during the early 1950s.
Lockheed Martin and other light industries call the Lawrence County Industrial Airpark site home today.
Courtland Presbyterian Church
(c. 1859-1868) Begun prior to the Civil War as the second building for a congregation organized in 1821, this tall church still retains the interior gallery. A fire in 1957 destroyed all but two of the Victorian era stained glass windows. Of note are the handsomely paneled front doors and the fine brickwork. This is Courtland’s only remaining 19th century church. Services are held every Sunday morning.
Town of Courtland
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