Historic Markers Across Alabama

Fort Willingham

Marker ID:  
Location: at the intersection of Florence Boulevard and North Oak St., Florence, AL
County: Lauderdale
Coordinates: N 34° 48.359    W 087° 39.88
  34.80598333    -87.66466666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Fort Willingham
National Guard Armory

(side 1)
The United States flag that flies at the base of this hill stands as a sentry over the site that was the home of Fort Willingham Armory from 1937-1979. The Armory was named after Dr. Henry J. Willingham, president of Florence State Normal School, and later, Florence State Teachers College for 25 years. In addition to its military functions, the Armory also served as the focal point for community sporting events and social gatherings.

In 1935, an extensive building program was inaugurated by the State of Alabama, the Adjutant General's Office, and the Works Progress Administration for the construction of an armory for each National Guard unit in the State. For Governor Bibb Graves, Adjutant General John C. Coleman, and many National Guardsmen, the building program was a dream come true. The cost of construction for 32 armories exceeded two million dollars. Fort Willingham Armory cost $31,110. The Armory was razed in January 1981. All that remains of Fort Willingham are the rock walls surrounding the site, history of the units stationed here, and memories of those who trained here.

(side 2)
The lineage of the units of the Alabama National Guard that trained at Fort Willingham Armory changed over the years as they were reorganized. The units that trained here included:
Service Company, 106th Med BN 1937
101st Light Pantoon Co. 1939
Co. F., 151st Combat Eng BN 1940
Co. F., 1343rd Eng BN 1944
104th Air Defense BN HQS, & A Co. 1947
278th Air Defense Arty BN HQS, & A Co. 1953
161st Medical Co. 1953
115th SIG BN, HQS CO. & A Co & D Co. 1960
Co. B., 1st Special Forces BN, 20th Group 1961

Members of these units were patriotic citizens of the NW Alabama Region who served their State and Nation with distinction during wars, natural disasters, and humanitarian missions.
Sponsored by the Retirees of the 115th Signal Battalion, Alabama Army National Guard

Erected 2013 by Florence Historical Board.

End of Fort Willingham