Be sure to visit the lodge for April in Talladega!
by By LAURA NATION-ATCHISON
Laura Nation-Atchison/The Daily Home

Organization members Millie Chastain, Nan Howard and Joyce Howard show some of the goodies that will be available at the lodge store, ranging from homemade pepper sauces and barbecue sauce to the Plank Road Station cookbook and other items.
Among all the interesting things going on during the week of April in Talladega April 13 and 14, there’s one stop where you’ll find history, art, food like you may never have had before along with a book signing and entertainment and plenty of friendly folks.

AJ Powers Memorial Lodge/Plank Road Station will be thriving with all the above both days, with members of the organization offering all kinds of fun things to do.

The organization formed as a non-profit in 2002 and is committed to restoration of the building on Alabama 21, the former Masonic Lodge.

The building was moved from across the highway Sept. 19, 2003, and since then, has housed fundraisers and lots of events to raise money for its continuing restoration.

For the April in Talladega weekend, members of the organization have gathered up limited edition prints, original pieces of art, and lots of other items for the weekend.

There’s also the gift shop located inside the lodge, where homemade goodies like barbecue sauce and hot pepper sauce, and hot pepper jelly and other favorites can be found.

If it’s lunch you’ll be looking for on your visit to the lodge on the April in Talladega weekend, you’re in for some sumptuous selections.

Friday’s offerings include a chicken salad plate served with chips, pickles and fruit salad with poppy seed dressing for $7 a plate.

On Saturday, there’s the lodge’s famed pecan smoked barbecue with baked beans, the original and unique lodge potato salad along with plenty of beans and greens and bread.

You can choose any combination of items for $7.

There are plenty of shady spots on the grounds to enjoy lunch, and with all the other goings on-entertainment and working artists-it might be handy to bring along lawn chairs for enjoying the “down home” atmosphere.

Author Phillip Dee Scott from Jackson, Tenn. will be on site with his new book, “Rock-a-billy Bemis Blues,” the tale of an exciting murder mystery.

Scott will be available to sign copies of his book. He is the author of six mysteries that are based on historical truth.

The history of the lodge begins with the construction of the road called Plank Road in the mid 1800s. The road allowed plantation owners to get their crops to markets to the south and beyond.

John G. Winters was instrumental in building the road from Wetumpka to Winterboro and spent $1 million of his own money for the construction. There were sawmills built along the way to provide the planks.

Wetumpka had the only port at the time that could handle bales of cotton from the Winterboro farms to ship to other markets.

Then, along came the railroad line and it added greatly to the development of the area and the communities of Talladega, Oxford and Jacksonville to prosper and also led to the development of Anniston.

Winterboro became an affluent area, with plantations such as Mt. Ida, Cedar Grove, Selwood, Walnut Hill, Spring Hill, Orangevale and many others.

During these years, Winterboro was home for at least eight doctors who contributed to the growth of the area.

Eventually, the lodge will house an art gallery as well as serve as a place for various community events.

© 2012