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Carrville Christmas

By Michael Butler

Historical accounts indicate that Carrville's origins date back to the early 1800s. In fact, Carrville was an incorporated town up until the 1980s when it became an extension of Tallassee's east side.

Named for Jessie Carr, who became the town's postmaster, Carrville had a business district that was thriving into the 21st century. Some of those buildings still stand along the Main Street corridor. While a few on that particular stretch are vacant today, they do come back to life every December.

Roger Davidson has family ties to Carrville's early entrepreneurs and in tribute to his roots, he and his family decorate the storefronts of the former businesses each Christmas season. The new tradition began in 2016.

"Before daddy died in 2003, I had thoughts of how good Carrville would look if it was decorated at Christmas like is was when I was a child in the 1950s," Davidson said. "I remember the town of Carrville had a large community Christmas tree each year and a lighting ceremony to kick off the Christmas season. Colored lights were strung across Main Street. It used to appear that you were driving or walking through a colorful Christmas tunnel.

"Christmas then was special in a bigger but different way than it is nowadays. It was not as much about commercialism. It was more about family gathering, Christmas meals, a 'few' presents and people out and about all through town. It was about church services, Christmas music and usually church pageants put on by the children about the birth of Christ. Simple times - but very, very special."

Davidson's father owned stores in Carrville that he inherited from his father, Alvin Davidson. They were a grocery store, theater, warehouse and diner.

"The stores were in bad shape, only being used for storage for many years and in need of repair. The front awnings were rusted, had been hit a time or two and just looked ugly.

"I knew that nothing could be done and look decent until the outside of the buildings looked better. Time passed and it looked like my little dream was never going to happen. Finally, in 2016, I contacted Scott Windle and his crew to help me out."

Before (the old grocery store)

The awning and window framing was then replaced. The buildings also got a fresh coat of paint.

"Ideas were developed for the windows and light display," Davidson added. "Time and funds were limited, but the first "Country Christmas" became a reality."

Window decorations adorned the old grocery store. Lighted wreaths were added to the former theater building. A lighted Santa face and colored lights were place on the building that was once a diner."

Roger and Janet with daughters; Meredith (left) and Margaret

"The first year was small, but it was the start of something I had dreamed about for a long, long time."

Roger's wife, Janet, was at the forefront of the project's genesis.

"(She) was a big help with ideas and manual labor. We actually had a lighting ceremony with family and friends. That was a very special night for me."

On the first invitation to Country Christmas in Old Carrville, Davidson gave some advice for those taking it in - which might be good advice for anyone during the holidays, whether in Carrville or anywhere else.

"Please drive through slowly and enjoy the sights. For a better experience, take time, stop and walk down the old sidewalk. Enjoy the memories or just a few quiet moments. Reflect on what Christmas really means with the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and with the love of friends and family."