Group of buildings helps to keep history alive

The Mims Hotel, circa 1840 - Photo by Melissa Parker
The Mims Hotel, circa 1840 - Photo by Melissa Parker

Prattville – Daniel Pratt’s own 19th-century home was town down in 1965, much to the dismay of the community. That, perhaps, served as a wake-up call to the citizens that the rest of Prattville history should be preserved whenever possible. To that end, Old Pratt Village was opened in 1982. It consists of a cluster of historic buildings and a small gothic style chapel that are located in the first block of First Street downtown.

This little village began with efforts to preserve older structures in danger of being demolished. Some of the buildings there stand in their original locations and some have been moved. The property owners there worked alongside the Autauga County Heritage Association in relocating the historic Mims Hotel and the circa-1835 Slaton House to the area. Businesses and offices are now located here in the Daniel Pratt Historic District.

During his stay in Prattville in 1867 as a teacher and principal, the poet and musician, Sidney Lanier, lived at the Mims Hotel. The Mims family in Prattville dates back to Shadrach Mims, author of “History of Prattville,” written in 1877 and in 1878. An early business partner of Daniel Pratt, Mims was also Pratt’s first biographer. Shadrach married Elizabeth Downing and they had ten children together. He died on October 21, 1885 in Prattville and his wife died on their plantation about eleven years later.

The Slaton Plantation house was the home of John Slaton and his wife Nancy Harris Slaton. They were early settlers (circa 1835) in the Prattville area and John Slaton was a planter until his death in 1847, at the age of 52. One of their sons, William Franklin Slaton, was a man of most remarkable talents. He rendered most gallant service as an officer in the Confederate army during the Civil War, for eighteen years he served as superintendent of the Atlanta School System, and he is credited as one of the founders of Auburn University.

Article by Melissa Parker

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