It’s mid-morning and the shadows of thick, green trees beginning to be thinned by the cooler Autumn weather ripple across the blue-grey waters of the Magnolia River. The smell of pine is in the air and an occasional fish splashes through the glassy surface of the water.
The silence is interrupted by the chugging of a small motorboat, bringing the mail to the people who live along the riverbank in Magnolia Springs, about halfway between Mobile and Pensacola.
Magnolia Springs is a little-known town along the Gulf Coast of Alabama. The community is hidden away amongst thousands of acres of forest, creeks and river country. So of all things you might expect to see — emerging from the morning mist here— a lone man, delivering mail by boat, probably isn’t one of them.
via After 100 years, America’s most unique postal route stands the test of time | The Pulse.
When the subject of Veterans Day comes up, author Winston Groom immediately reaches back, recalling its origin as Armistice Day, recalling childhood memories of men wearing poppies.
Many years have passed since the young Groom would accompany his father to downtown Mobile, to his law office in the Van Antwerp Building, to see the veterans parade on Nov. 11. Since then, he’s developed his knack for reaching back into an art form, and it’s an art that’s very much on display in his newest book, “The Generals.”
via Winston Groom’s ‘The Generals:’ Patton, MacArthur, Marshall walk tall | AL.com.
FOLEY — Last year, the fourth grade students of Foley Elementary School constructed a 32-page book of illustrations and poems that celebrated Foley’s history and importance.
The centennial project highlighted important landmarks, businesses and people from Foley’s past with words beginning with each the 26 letters of the alphabet.
via Students tell Foley’s stories from A to Z – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
(November 3, 2015) – The remaining 16 boats in the fleet of 21 starters in the 2015 Andrews Institute Pensacola a la Habana Race had a slow go working their way past the Dry Tortugas today with a 90-mile Gulf Stream crossing ahead of them before they reach the comfort of Marina Hemingway. They began the race with too much wind and now have too little. The finish line will be set up late Tuesday night for finishers expected overnight or early Wednesday.
via Closing in on the Cuba Libre >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News.
With rough conditions during the first 24 hours of the 2015 Andrews Institute Pensacola a la Habana race, four boats have “retired,” stated a Pensacola Yacht Club press release.
The homemade catamaran Surf Rider and the Island Packet 27 Island Sun returned to Pensacola Bay Saturday afternoon. Makani U’l, a Beneteau 40, suffered damage to her jib halyard and roller-furler system and is headed to St. Petersburg for repairs. Midnight Sun II, a Hunter 42, was dismasted at midnight and motored back to Pensacola Yacht Club by 8:30 a.m, said the release.
via Four yachts retire from Pensacola race.
A new era in international sailing is about to begin and a boat based in Orange Beach’s Hudson Marina, the Libra, will be one of the boats to make history.
While sailors from Pensacola Yacht Club participated in several races to Cuba in the early part of the 20th century, in a few short days the first race of that kind will go from Pensacola to Havana.
via Pensacola to Havana Sailboat Race Leaves October 31st.
The Boat built of Cement in 1943 was known to many as the “Tenneco Boat” or “The Concrete Ship”. It was owned by longtime Pensacola businessman and commercial tugboat and barge operator Capt. Shirley J Brown who acquired it in the 1980′s from the Tenneco Oil Company.
What is known about it is somewhat sketchy. It was built in Saint Marks, Florida during World War II, so the shortage of steel was most likely the reason that it was built from cement and wood rather than steel. At that time many vessels including some cargo ships were being built from “ferro-cement” which imbeded steel rods and wire in the cement to give it strength.
via New Alabama Gulf of Mexico Artificial Fishing Reef – Tenneco Boat Fishing Reef or the Captain Shirley J Brown Memorial Fishing Reef – Orange Beach, Alabama.
This summer, crews were in town filming USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage. As part of the story, they used a vintage Catalina PBY flying boat that was donated by a private owner. It was damaged during filming, but we learned just yesterday it will live on as a display at Battleship Park.
Crews were filming in Orange Beach, shooting a scene with this vintage PBY. However, when it landed in the gulf, it began taking on water, damaging the plane and any future hopes of it in the film. After a week in the water, crews were finally able to lift it out. Libby Hill was visiting the set and found herself talking to the pilot.
via Vintage Plane Used in Film Will Feature at Battleship Park.
FOLEY — A boxcar full of fun and freebies, as well as a local author signing his new book, are in store for those planning to help celebrate Railroad Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 26 in downtown Foley.
The Foley Centennial event for the public commemorates the Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s impact on the city’s development from the early 1900s.
via Foley’s Railroad Heritage Day to include book signing – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
Donnie Lambeth grew up on Dixie Graves Road and he remembers Howard Posey, the ‘Iron Pony’ and Posey’s zoo.
“I remember Mr. Posey and rode the Iron Pony many times at his small zoo in Gulf Shores,” Lambeth shared via email. “He had paddle wheel bikes you pedal around a small island with a few local wildlife on it.”
via Vintage photos: Gulf Shores native remembers Mr. Posey and the ‘Iron Pony’ | AL.com.
FOLEY- New signs that identify historic homes and businesses in the city limits of Foley are popping up. Recognizing homes that are 85 years old or older and businesses that have operated for 50 years or more is one of many projects to celebrate Foley’s centennial year.
via Foley historic homes, businesses now identified with signs – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
Telling a good story through film is an incredibly challenging task, which is made additionally difficult when taking on a true story.
But for Director Mario Van Peebles, the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis is one he had to tell.
“Every now and then you run into a story that’s so unusual, so incredible that you’ve got to tell it. And the more I studied about the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the more I said, ‘This is one of those stories that we’ve got to tell,’” Van Peebles said.
via Executive producer: “We’re making a piece of history” – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
A vintage PBY plane intended for use in the film “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,”– which was being filmed last week in Orange Beach– broke apart on Thursday during a salvage attempt.
“The vintage PBY being used by production met a tragic end at the hands of the sea, and the salvage company was unable to save the aircraft,” said “USS” producers Michael Mendelssohn and Richard Rionda del Castro said.
via WWII – era plane flown in for film “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” falls apart during salvage attempt | AL.com.
Patriotic picnics, performances, pyrotechnics and a parade will mark America’s 239th birthday in Baldwin County communities this weekend.
No less than nine Fourth of July fireworks shows are scheduled Saturday from Bay Minette to Pleasure Island to the Eastern Shore.
Leading up to Saturday’s nighttime festivities numerous red, white and blue celebrations and activities will dot the county, too.
via Baldwin County stacked with Fourth of July celebrations, fireworks | AL.com.
Controversy surrounding the confederate flag continues and its historical significance is being weighed against what it represents. The state of Alabama took the flag down Tuesday morning, June 24, 2015 in the wake of the Charleston killings.
The flag is part of numerous county and municipal seals throughout the southeast, including Baldwin County. The seal was originally designed in 1959 for the county’s sesquicentennial and later adopted by the Baldwin County Commission in 1974. Within the seal are several symbols representative of the county’s history, including the confederacy.
via Baldwin County has no plans to remove confederate flag from seal – FOX10 News | WALA.
If your Facebook feed is full of reports about sharks closing down Alabama beaches, have no fear: check the dates on the stories.
Old stories about the waters of Orange Beach being closed due to shark activity began making the rounds on social media yesterday. A 2014 article from AL.com newspartner WHNT about the closure popped up in so many places that the station was contacted by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism official stressing that the beaches are open.
via Sharks closing down Alabama's beaches? That's so last year | AL.com.
A year-long boat exhibit is now open at the Fairhope Museum of History highlighting the maritime history there. It’s called the “All Aboard” Bay Boat Exhibit featuring model-scale replicas of the steamers that played such a vital role in the city’s history in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
FOX10 News | WALA
via Historic Bay Boats featured at Fairhope museum – FOX10 News | WALA.
Gulf Shores wasn’t a booming beach town in the 1950s. There were no condominiums or souvenir shops.
Despite the lack of things to see, the beach area was growing. According to the Birmingham News, the southern Baldwin County town could thank Birmingham for its real estate boom.
via Vintage photos: How Birmingham helped Gulf Shores grow in the 1950s | AL.com.
A small, tenacious group that helped preserve one of Baldwin County’s most historic spots is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
After forming in 1995, the Village Point Foundation worked with Daphne to save the city’s last expanse of undeveloped bayfront land. Archeologists digging there have unearthed artifacts from native American times and from English, British and French settlements.
via Dig it: Daphne bay park founders invite public to celebrate 20th anniversary | AL.com.
When Ruth Balzli went to bed this time last year, it was raining. “We really didn’t think too much about it,” she says, “It just kept raining and raining and storming.”
Her sleep wouldn’t last long as Fish River overflowed it’s banks and then some.
“Within an hour the water was over the tops of the cars,” Balzli remembers.
via A Year After Historic Baldwin Flood.
It didn’t matter that the figurines were once caked in dust, shoved arbitrarily on some shelf. Or that the glass jugs, which appeared to be about as common as kudzu, weren’t in their best shape.
The auction for hundreds of items housed at Manci’s Antique Club, Daphne’s venerable local watering hole and restaurant, was no doubt fueled by the willingness of some to pay a little extra for a piece of nostalgia.
via Collected for decades, Manci’s Antique Club memorabilia sold in a few hours at public auction | AL.com.
One hundred and fifty years ago today, the Confederate Army sputtered its last gasp.
The Civil War had technically ended hours earlier when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of the Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.
The surrender meant nothing to the Union and Confederate soldiers locked in a bitter struggle at Blakely.
“Of course, the news hadn’t reached here yet,” said Lonnie Burnett, a history professor at the University of Mobile.
via Today is anniversary of the last major Civil War battle – watch it here | AL.com.
Baldwin County officials said they’re facing a challenge finding money to pay for maintenance of a 300 acre park in the northern part of the county.
Park officials are looking at funding ideas for a facility that showcases the county’s rich history.
PRESERVING CULTURAL HERITAGE
Bicentennial Park is located on more than 360 acres off Highway 225, just north of I-65.
It’s dedicated to preserving the county’s cultural heritage.
via What’s next for Baldwin County’s Bicentennial Park? – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOLEY, Ala. — People looking to learn more about the city of Foley need only lace up their shoes and head downtown this Saturday.
Every Saturday this month, the Alabama Tourism Department has encourage numerous cities across the state — including Foley — to host walking tours to help familiarize the public with the community.
LaDonna Hinesley, leisure tourism marketing director for the city of Foley, said the city has decided to participate in the walking tours this year as a walk to celebrate the city’s centennial.
via Walking tours set to continue this Saturday in Foley – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
Like silent guardians of ancient ruins, pine trees tower over a high bluff in Spanish Fort where 150 years ago Confederate soldiers manned Fort McDermott during the Union’s two-week siege of Spanish Fort.
Underbrush and a tangle of vines around the trees were cleared over the last year by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Raphael Semmes Camp 11, revealing the well-preserved earthworks of the former Confederate battery, once studded with Brooke rifles.
The donors of the three acres, the Fuller family, had the foresight to preserve the land while developing the sprawling Spanish Fort Estates all around it.
via Reclamation project turning Civil War fort into memorial park in Spanish Fort | AL.com.
You may recognize him as a former Alabama senator or you’ve passed him along the hallways of the Baldwin County Satellite Courthouse in Foley. Albert Lipscomb of Magnolia Springs has been a longtime resident of Baldwin County, and it all began with his great-great grandfather William Lipscomb around 1880.
Lipscomb was born in Fairhope, the youngest of six sons. Lipscomb attended Foley High School where he played football, including Ivan Jones’ last year as head football coach in 1968. He graduated in 1969 and graduated from Mobile College — now the University of Mobile — in 1977. Lipscomb was part of the Army National Guard, in the 711 Signal Battalion, from 1969 to 1976.
via Former senator living in Magnolia Springs – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: People.
SPANISH FORT, Ala. – Battlefield history comes alive at Historic Blakeley State Park Saturday as reenactors portraying Confederate and Union troops reenact the assault that was the last battle of the American Civil War 150 years ago.
via Civil War battle will be fought at Blakeley this weekend – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
ORANGE BEACH, AL WALA -Capturing images that will last a lifetime have been a part of Robie Ray’s life for the past 43 years. He’s worked for the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, Virginia Pilot and the Mobile Press-Register.Ray has photographed eight presidential inaugurations and several first ladies, as well as Muhammad Ali and artist legends such as Andy Warhol.
FOX10 News | WALA
via Photojournalist Robie Ray remembers Selma 50 years ago – FOX10 News | WALA.
At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Kelly Pfannenstiel and Latoria Smith walked through the Baldwin County Probate Office’s doors and entered straight into the history books.
They became the first couple in Baldwin County to apply for a same-sex marriage license approximately 2-1/2 hours after the office opened and its employees were made available to take applications.
via Gulf Shores couple makes history as first same-sex marriage applicants in Baldwin County: ‘We can wait. It will come’ | AL.com.
BALDWIN COUNTY, AL (WALA) – Christopher Columbus made his voyage to the West Indies in 1492 using three ships. You can see replicas of two of those ships in Gulf Shores at Lulu’s marina, where the ships are docked.
You can also take tours on the two replicas of Columbus’ ships, the Nina and the Pinta, throughout the weekend. The Nina was built completely by hand, and it’s called the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built. The Santa Maria is too large to travel into small channels and is not on tour.
FOX10 News | WALA
via Replicas of Columbus’ ships docked in Gulf Shores – FOX10 News | WALA.