History of the Heritage Association
“The Eufaula Heritage Association wasn’t organized, it was born.” L.Y. Dean, III
Charter President of the Eufaula Heritage Association, 1966-1971
It was born because proud Eufaulians have always loved their hometown. When the historic town had lost several antebellum houses, Eufaulians began to worry about the way many of their landmarks were being destroyed to make way for new buildings. Others had been victims of demolition by neglect.
In August of 1965, The Eufaula Tribune announced the Shorter-Upshaw mansion and its furnishings would be sold at auction. Eufaula Mayor Hamp Graves appointed a committee to investigate the possibility of purchasing the Mansion as a city Civic Center. Joel P. Smith Sr., chairman, served along with Florence Foy Strang, Ben Reeves, Willard Smith, Wade Perry, Neal Logue, Donald Comer III, and Bill Roberts. The committee quickly obtained pledges from people in the community and purchased the showplace for $33,000. As a banker and charter president, L.Y. Dean, III played a key role, as did other concerned Eufaula citizens, in beginning the renowned historic preservation movement in Eufaula.
This dramatic, spontaneous action at the auction showed the quality of citizenship and leadership that set the Bluff City of the Chattahoochee apart. Saving the architectural masterpiece also sparked formation of the Eufaula Heritage Association and organizing and promoting the Eufaula Pilgrimage in 1965 as an annual fundraiser.
For more than 40 years Shorter Mansion has served as a museum, social, and cultural center for the people of Eufaula and the surrounding area. The Eufaula Heritage Association uses the Mansion as its headquarters in helping preserve historic Eufaula and promoting the annual Pilgrimage and Christmas Tour, added in 2006. The “beautiful, white house with the large columns” is visited by tourists, groups, and can be rented for weddings, parties and other events.
Information taken from Joel Smith’s book, A Brief History of Shorter Mansion and the Eufaula Heritage Association, published 2007 by the Eufaula Heritage Association.