Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Preserving Our History--Editorial

Baldwin County has been officially settled since 1809 and there is a lot of history in all the towns of Baldwin County. I’m partial to the Loxley and Central Baldwin areas since I have lived here for the past 18 years, but every town has its fascinating stories which happened so long ago, I’m enthralled to read about them. After all, if we know what we came from, then we know where we are going.

There are very few old hotels in the county that are still standing. I’ve been doing a little digging into the history especially to learn the story behind the buildings we drive by every day. One building in particular has caught my attention since I have lived in Loxley and that is the Old Loxley Hotel which most people don’t know about. It sits on the corner of Baldwin and First Street in Loxley and begs to be lived in.

It was first built around 1920 right in front of the railroad which ran from Bay Minette to Foley. Wary travelers would stop to rest there. Sometimes they would stay, and sometimes they would get back on the train to make the full trip to Foley. There are remnants of railroad still around but this old relic of a building speaks volumes when you hear the stories of what went on during that time.
I’ve talked with a few residents around town when they remembered the trains running and how the potato sheds were filled up along the way to Foley from the box cars delivering food.

The problem we have with some of these old structures is that they are forgotten. Residents and owners leave or pass away and history is forgotten. Old buildings sit for so long, they become dilapidated and unsightly. Towns see it as an eye sore and unless someone saves it from destruction, it is thrown down and the property is used to build a newer building. But what have we lost in that building? Our history. Out of sight, out of mind, no one will ever be curious about what went on or the building’s significance. There aren’t that many buildings left from long ago and thankfully many of those buildings have been preserved with history intact. They are monuments to the people of the past.

With the popular interest of remodeling old homes in television shows, there has been a renewed interest in preserving the history of the older structures that have been built many years ago all over our nation. Preserving our historic buildings give us a link to our past. We learn from what happens in the past and make a better future. Preserving our history is well worth the time and effort for our children.
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