TOUR AMERICA 2019: SWEET HOME ALABAMA

Home Is Where We Park It:  Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale Alabama

Date:  May 13, 2019

Local History – Foley Alabama 

When you wake up to a morning like this how can you not believe that the day is going to be super.  We had a beautiful clear blue sky and no humidity.  Picture perfect.

img_2914.jpg

We were off to Mobile to visit the Battleship Alabama.  We were but that is not the way it went.  Barbara had a bad night and really wasn’t up to leaving at the crack of dawn so a change of plains were called for.

We went with plan B and decided to visit some local attractions in the area.  Off we went eager to see what we would discover.  What we discovered was Foley, Alabama.

IMG_2911

Wanting to learn more about this small but vibrant town our first stop was at the welcome center.  How about those neat globes hanging from the trees.  They appear to be crafted from some type of wire.

IMG_2904

At the visitor center we discovered that Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of

 

IMG_2754

Chicago.  In 1901 he learned of the opportunities in south Alabama from a man on a train while on his way to the funeral of President William McKinley.  A year later he came to Alabama and purchased 50,000 acres of land.  A manufacturer of Foley’s Pine Tar and Honey, a patent medicine designed as a cough remedy, Foley soon turned land developer.  He formed the Magnolia land company , laying out lots, which he sold for fifty dollars an acre.   People began buying lots very quickly.  Most were eager to take advantage of the rich farmland in the area.

The issue now became, how to get everyone to Foley?

The answer, a railroad.  So we moved over to the historic Foley Train Depot which is now a museum.   Wave HI to Barbara!  The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the Foley Depot Museum

IMG_2735

We learned that the Bay Minette & Fort Morgan railroad line, a branch of the Louisville & Nashville (L & N) Railroad, was built for travel to Foley in 1905.  Mr. Foley himself bought the ties for the line.

 

IMG_2744

These were the four stops on the original line.

 

Here are a few railroad cars sitting on a section of the original railroad line.  There were at one time three parallel lines.  The other two tracks were on the far side of this line.

IMG_2779

IMG_2780

IMG_2784

Imagine that, all the names that were once used for the good old caboose.

IMG_2789

Here’s a look inside the caboose.  Rather spartan I would say.  I believe I’ll keep our current rig.

IMG_2785

This is the inside of the museum.

IMG_2751

IMG_2755

While here we learned a bit more about Foley and that it was once famous for its potatoes.  Also, because of the fertile land farmers were able to harvest two crops from the same land in one year.  In addition farmers we learned unloaded their product into sheds located along the railroad tracks stretching for blocks in either direction from the station.

IMG_2768

 The potatoes were fed through this machine known as a grader which dumped them into burlap sacks at its one end.

IMG_2770

The burlap sacks were imprinted with the owners name or logo on the bag.  Next. they were sewn shut by hand.  Finally, they were then loaded into box cars for shipment north.

IMG_2766

Foley soon became the main distribution point for the southern end of this country.  Boxcars carried its product to far away markets.  At 40 feet long and 7 feet wide each car would carry 40 tons of freight.

IMG_2771

The end would come in 1971 when the L & N railroad decided to discontinue service to Foley.  By then trucks and private autos had also pretty much replaced a need for a railroad.  Most of the potato farms had also given way to housing developments.  Today, there is only one working potato farm left in Foley.

To make matters worse in 1979, Hurricane Frederic wiped most of this area from the map. In 2004 and 2005, the area suffered once again with Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina.  Slowly, the community began to rebuild, but then came the BP Oil Spill of 2010.  However,  the resulting  financial settlement of the spill was the real beginning of the area’a comeback.  Today, Foley and the other towns of the Alabama Gulf Coast continue to grow and offer some of the most beautiful landscapes in the south.

Time now for lunch at a very special place in town.  Yup, she is waiting for me to finish taking pictures.  This is Stacey Drugs which was established in 1927.  It is a working pharmacy and also an old time soda fountain.

IMG_2858

img_2860.jpg

Let’s go inside.

IMG_2861

IMG_2863

IMG_2864

Come take a tour with me.  The soda counter.  Note the play on words

IMG_2867

Behind the ice cream counter.  Would I ever like to find gas at that price when I fill up Graybeard!

IMG_2885

Old fashioned table and chairs.

IMG_2873

Can you tell we are in a Naval air area?

IMG_2892

IMG_2893

IMG_2877

Two rather unique planes.

Interesting signs to say the least!

IMG_2880

IMG_2881

Can you guess what cold drink is the drink of choice?

IMG_2878

IMG_2874

I’ve never seen a cooler like this before except on American Pickers.

IMG_2887

They even had a working jukebox.

IMG_2888

Two more interesting signs.

IMG_2872

IMG_2890

What about lunch?  BLT for both of us and oh they were delicious!  Finished off with a chocolate milk shake.  I rolled out the door.

IMG_2889

Lunch over we headed for home.  If you ask me our plan for the day was a real winner.  The day was perfect in so many ways.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, history is all around us you just have to look for it.

That was our day on The Road of Retirement.  We didn’t go far but we learned a lot and had a great time exploring the area around our home.  Tomorrow, well who knows where we’ll go.  Maybe we’ll make good on today’s original plan.  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know.

Thanks for coming along with us.  Have a good night and we’ll catch up with you tomorrow.

These are the voyages of  Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans.  Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before

See you on down the road

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “TOUR AMERICA 2019: SWEET HOME ALABAMA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s