To get ready for Christmas, the Albertville Museum is hosting its annual gingerbread house contest and a “make and take” Victorian Christmas tree ornaments event.

Albertville Museum Board member Delores Roden said the museum board got the idea for the gingerbread house contest from Albertville native W.W. Curry, who built the home in called the “Gingerbread House.”

“W.W. Curry moved his family from Forsythe, Georgia to Sand Mountain and built a log cabin on some 300 acres he bought in 1880,” Roden said. “According to the book, ‘OUT of the SAND,’ written by local attorney and historian T. J. Carnes, a man came to the area in Georgia where Curry lived, telling people of the wonders of Sand Mountain. He was a land salesman. Curry and a neighbor got on their horses and came to see for themselves. Curry liked what he saw and bought on credit about 300 acres at $5 an acre. Sometime later, he brought his wife and three children to the land. The first order of business was to build a log cabin home. Curry was a man of great industry and many skills. He developed an excellent farm and established a sawmill. In the 1890’s the family moved to Albertville from another location on Sand Mountain. In Albertville, Curry built a house at the southwest corner of McCord Avenue and Marshall Street. It was a magnificent two-story house with a porch across the front and down one side. It was ornamented with a great amount of beautiful gingerbread work, which he had produced himself. Currently, this location is where the Aggie Football parking lot, behind the Recycling Center and Foodland is located.”

Roden said the “Gingerbread House Contest” would also be part of “Celebrating Alabama’s Bicentennial - 200 Years of Statehood” She said the rules of the contest are as follows:

1. Design a gingerbread house to resemble a house, building or landmark in Albertville (past or present).

2. Create a gingerbread display resembling a house, building or landmark of the State of Alabama, past or present. (one may choose to design a gingerbread display resembling an official Alabama symbol – state tree-pine, state flower-camellia, state bird- yellowhammer, state flag, state nut–pecan, state fruit tree – peach, state mammal–black bear, state butterfly–monarch butterfly, outline of state of Alabama, Capital Building, rockets made in Huntsville)

3. Gingerbread House/display and all decorations must be edible

She said prizes would be awarded to the winner and runner-up of each age group, which are: 12 years old and under and 13 years old to adult. All gingerbread houses are to be brought to the Albertville Museum on Thursday, Dec. 12, between 3-5 p.m. The museum is located at 610 West Main St., across from the Pre-Civil War Cemetery.

Winners will be announced Saturday Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. during the museum’s Christmas Party with Santa, and she said there would be Christmas goodies and entertainment by Mountain Valley Singers.

To celebrate the Golden Age of the Victorian Era, Roden said the museum would host a “make and take” Victorian Christmas tree ornaments event.

“The Golden Age of the Victorian Era was considered from about 1880s-1905, during the same period Albertville was growing and developing,” Roden said. “During the late 1870s to 1880s, many settlers brought their families to settle in the Albertville area and on Sand Mountain.”

She said the settlers came to the area for the following reasons:

• It was discovered the soil was good for growing cotton, especially when adding fertilizer to the soil, resulting in high yields of the crops.

• There was a lot of available land on Sand Mountain that was affordable to poor farm families.

Albertville became a town in Feb. 18, 1891.

• In 1892, the railroad was completed from Gadsden to Guntersville. Also, the passenger trains were available to take local citizens to other places.

• In 1894, Albertville was chosen to be the site of the North East Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and School. The structure of the new school was Victorian style.

“It is hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas was hardly celebrated,” Roden said. “By the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognize today. Christmas celebrations are attributed to Queen Victoria of Britain and her marriage to the German-born Prince Albert. They introduced some of the most prominent aspects of Christmas as we know today. The royal family celebrated Christmas around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was from Prince Albert’s childhood in Germany. Soon, every home in Britain had a tree, decorated with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.

“Preparation for the Christmas tree was done by the families in Britain as in America and Albertville,” she continued. “Most of the Victorian Era Christmas tree ornaments were handmade by the family. The children were encouraged to craft as many of the tree ornaments as possible. The children had the duty of gathering and searching for anything that could be used in making the ornaments, such as paper scraps, scraps of all kinds, pieces of gold and silver tinsel cord, colored yarn, colored paper, ribbon, tinfoil, even tissue paper.”

The Albertville Museum’s “make and take” Victorian Christmas tree ornaments event is in remembrance of those children who made ornaments in the 1880s and early 1900s, Roden said.

The event will take place Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. at the Albertville Museum, located at 610 West Main Street, which she said is across the street from the Pre-Civil War Cemetery.

“Everyone is welcome, and there’s no charge to participate,” Roden said.

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