Courthouse lore takes center stage in Pickens production

April 10, 2010 11:37:00 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


The legend of Henry Wells, his image allegedly etched by a lightening strike more than 120 years ago into a Pickens County Courthouse upper window, has long drawn the Golden Triangle curious to the square in Carrollton, Ala. 


His anguished features, they say, are still visible in the glass, a ghostly reminder of the cold, stormy January night a lynch mob gathered below, threatening to dispatch the former slave to the hereafter for the suspected burning of the courthouse two years prior. 


On April 15-18, the story becomes more than just folklore, thanks to a cooperative effort between First National Bank of Central Alabama and the Pickens County Courthouse Preservation Foundation. 


Award-winning Alabama playwright Barry Bradford was commissioned to immortalize the legend in "The Face in the Courthouse Window," a theatrical production staged in the historic courthouse itself at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday. 


The play, set in the turbulent post-slavery South, enlists Alabama native Sarah Norris as director. The 2002 University of Alabama graduate now resides in New York City, where she recently directed "Arthur and Ester" for the New York Fringe Festival. 


"It''s everyone''s goal to make ''The Face in the Courthouse Window'' an annual event that will bring pride to the Pickens County community for years to come," said Leon Manning of First National Bank of Central Alabama. 


Ticket sales have been brisk; a limited number remained for Saturday and Sunday as of press time. General admission tickets are $20, available through a link at For additional information, e-mail [email protected] or call 205-367-8407. 


All proceeds benefit the Pickens County Courthouse Preservation Foundation, dedicated to the restoration of the historic landmark. 


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.