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Filtering by Tag: Fairhope

Early Summers: Fairhope Holiday

Sean Herman

 Since the Fairhope founders had community in mind when laying out the land for particular use, they were far-sighted enough to set aside over a mile stretch of beachfront property to be protected as public area in 1899. This came as a great influencer when nearby and traveling vacationers were choosing their getaway location.

The Fairhope Pier was an incredible attraction in the early 1900’s. The original pier was built in 1895. As the bay steamer would be easing into dock in Fairhope, the Thriller was waiting to greet the daredevils.

This giant metal waterslide was the to fun for many touring and local children, while the casino at the foot of the Fairhope Pier was the key draw for adults looking for entertainment. It wasn’t exactly what you would envision when you hear the word “casino” today, however. This casino was a bathhouse and concert hall.

Entertainment was incredibly easy to find, with the town being founded by poor artists, actors, writers and eccentrics.

To cool off after a long day at the Magnolia Pavillion romping down the beaches of Mobile Bay, Mr. Berglin’s Azalea brand Ice Cream Plant was churning out the perfect summer treat just down the road from the pier.

The Eastern Shore Yacht Club was built after the Hurricane of 1916 destroyed the Mobile Yacht Club on the opposite shore of Mobile Bay on July 5th, 100 years ago. This hall would house family events and teen dances until 9pm every night, and after that hour, it was strictly adult-only entertainment.

Most travelers would hope to stay in the Colonial Inn up the hill from the bustling beach scene.

Eccentric Excursions: Southern Alabama

Emma Wilson

Southern Alabama is most known for its beaches, but there are lots of other neat stops along with way to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach! Here we’ve listed five unique road stops for your next road trip!

In any other circumstance a 15 foot rooster would be something to avoid. But in this case, this rooster made of car bumpers is a neat place to snap a picture and possibly talk to a rad artist. Larry Godwin built this 15 foot statue in 1962, and now it sits off the roadside in Brundidge, Alabama.

 

Another interesting photo op takes us to a cemetery Clayton, Alabama. There is a unique gravestone shaped as a whiskey bottle! This was once featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not. There is an amusing story along with the shape of this headstone. Read more about it here.

 

Ever been to Stonehenge? Well no need to book a plane to England, just drive to Elberta, Alabama and head to Barber Marina. Bamahenge is a fiberglass replica of Stonehenge built by Mark Cline for George Barber, tucked away along the road to enter Barber Marina. If you look closely you might be able to see DINOSAURS in the woods! Four fiberglass dinosaurs are hiding in the trees along the road to the water. These are built by the same artist. Another art piece, the Lady in the Lake can be seen floating in the harbor at the end of the road.

A cool museum to check out is the Mobile Carnival Museum, teaching people where the real birthplace of Mardi Gras is. Here you can see crowns, scepters, and robes of past Mardi Gras kings and queens, as well as floats, and learn the rich history of this fun holiday!

Tolstoy Park has plenty of parking, mainly because it’s in the middle of a parking lot. This circular, domed house was built by Henry Stuart in 1925. Stuart was told he had one year to live, so he moved from this home in Idaho and moved to the South for the warm climate. He built the one-room home in less than a year. Despite what the doctor diagnosed, Stuart lived for another twenty years! It is said the house holds a special energy, and people have been known to bring sleeping bags and spend the night at Tolstoy Park to gain inspiration.

Make sure if you’re exploring the coast to stop by the Serpents of Bienville Gallery. We have Old Towne Daphne Guides so you can find even more cool places to visit! 

Alabama Oddities Weekly Rundown Monday November 2nd - Sunday November 8th

Amanda Herman

We here at Serpents of Bienville have a lot of different projects currently running.  One project that we are particularly excited about is the Alabama Oddities pieces that Amanda is writing for our social media sites.  She is doing daily updates, bringing you a new story every morning, of something strange and odd from our Southern home.  Not everyone has social media, so we will be doing weekly rundown's of her stories, which we will be publishing every Sunday.  We hope you guys enjoy, and remember to follow us on our social media sites to get daily Alabama Oddities stories.  Enjoy!

 

Birmingham Batman - Monday November 2nd

Willie J. Perry would help anyone in distress, he even wrote it down the side of his 1971 Thunderbird he converted into a “Rescue Ship” decked out in the early 80’s with a car phone, a color TV, and Atari, and a turntable. He drove around helping stranded motorists with gas and jumper cables, helping elderly ladies get to where they’re going in style, and just taking kids on rides in his amazing car. People called him the Birmingham Batman, and he rolled with it, donning a white jumpsuit and helmet with the batman symbol proudly painted across the front. This car was actually the thing that ended him, ironically, when he was fixing her up and suddenly the garage door closed unknowingly. We need more people like Willie J. Perry today, and couldn’t be prouder to call him our neighbor and share his story with you.

 

Russell Cave - Wednesday November 4th

Russell Cave in Northeast Alabama is 7.2 miles long with quite a large opening, that was used as the perfect shelter for prehistoric Native Americans—the oldest recorded settlement of peoples in the southeastern United States to date. The artifacts were dated to before 1000 B.C. The natives would cover the items they were done with in dirt, so the findings were exhumed in incredibly detailed condition. The artifacts found were tools made from bones, arrowheads and weapons, bowls made from clay and from grass fiber, scorched seeds, charcoal, and remains from a burial ground. The items collected add up to over two tons. Bodies were laid to rest once more near the opening of the cave, and some of these amazing glimpses into our ancestor’s lives are displayed on site. If you visit or visited Russell Cave and have any photos or info to add, let me know!

 

Jubilee City Phenomenon -Thursday November 5th

The "Jubilee City" of Daphne, Alabama is named for a phenomenon that has been studied very little. This village on the bay is one of the only two places this seemingly magic event occurs. In the early dawn, the tide will rise and bring with it more blue crabs, shrimp, and fish than the locals can carry. Marine Biologist Harold Loesch theorized that organic material on the sea floor could deplete the waters of oxygen, forcing marine life to rush to shallows seeking more oxygenated areas. This research was done in the 1960's, though, so the locals' imaginations were running wild long before anyone decided to apply science to the magic. Villagers still run to the shallows, coolers and buckets in hand, filling them to the brim while they speculate what conditions must have brought this miracle on.

 

UFOs Fell on Alabama - Friday November 6th

In the early hours of July 24th, 1948, pilots Chiles and Whitted were manning a flight from Houston to Atlanta was passing over Montgomery, Alabama when they were approached by another aircraft. This type of craft scared these two men cold and sent passengers into a frenzy. The black, cigar-shaped craft was the length of a b-29 bomber, and was sailing less than 1,000 feet from their plane. It had a streaking tail and brightly lit square windows, but not a soul was spotted inside. The craft realized it was about to collide with the plane, and pulled up. Straight up. One of the pilots reported the craft disappearing for seconds and reappearing again in their sky. The abrupt movement of the flying object created no turbulence for the plane, and all mechanics continued to work fine. The blinding lights flashing through the windows were the only disturbances. When the plane landed, pilots and passengers were interviewed by news outlets and government agents from Project Sign. The agents officially ruled out conventional aircraft from the sighting options. They eventually classified the object as a comet (eye roll) with a disclaimer that it wasn't quite described to move the way a comet would. The Chiles/Whitted UFO is known to be incredibly significant for early UFO research.

 

Fairhope Museum's Inmate - Saturday November 7th

The Old City Hall and Jail in Fairhope, Alabama have been standing since 1928. Offices for the mayor, fire department, city council and clerk, and police department all operated under the same roof. One by one, the offices moved, except for the police department. The building housed inmates up until 2001. After this, the entire building was kept as-is, and plastered with history and artifacts to be used as the Fairhope Museum of History. The place is really neat, but the jail cells are still sitting open, beds still covered in linens, bored prisoners' ramblings still etched on the walls. If anything, it's creepy by itself. But the director of this museum, Donnie Barrett, who is amazing at his job, has things happen to him that are particularly chilling. Phantom people follow him upstairs and jail cell doors sound to clank and slam, yet are still sitting open when in view. A group of paranormal investigators of the area encountered a ghost with a particular favored pastime that has Americans in a frenzy these days. The group asked if there was anyone present in the cell, and as a strong and chilly wind swooped down on them, their equipment picked up the phrase, "Cannabis high!" Maybe that's what happens, guys. I wouldn't risk it.

Not even once.

 

Like the Stars, We Honor You - Sunday November 8th

The Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall in Florence, Alabama has taken thirty years to construct by the hands of a single man. Tom Hendrix has continued building a wall for his great-great-grandmother for her pain and suffering during the Trail of Tears, with eight million pounds of stone, and counting, from all corners of the world. This is the largest memorial in the United States dedicated to a woman, and a Native American woman at that. He was told, "One step at a time, one stone at a time. Lay a stone for every step she made… We shall pass this earth. Only the stones will remain. We honor our ancestors with stones." Quoted from NatchezTrailTravel.com, "After walking the length of the wall, Charlie Two Moons, a spiritual person, said:

'The wall does not belong to you, Brother Tom. It belongs to all people. You are just the keeper. I will tell you that it is wichahpi, which means 'like the stars'. When they come, some will ask, 'Why does it bend, and why is it higher and wider in some places than in others?' Tell them it is like your great-great-grandmother's journey, and their journey through life--it is never straight.'"