Friday, September 5, 2014

Southwest Alabama on Backroads

Sometimes the interstate makes more sense, but I 
the interstate,

Do you know what I mean? Driving northeast across Alabama, earlier this week, I decided to hop off I-59/I-20 in Toomsuba, Mississippi (just east of Meridian), and I took US 11 for a while. US 11 parallels the interstate for several miles in this area. 

I stopped in this country store just after crossing the interstate at the Kewanee exit , but was too late for the daily lunch. 

Authentic, for sure.

When I got to Cuba, Alabama, I snapped a few pics of the deteriorating downtown ....

This shot was through the rainy windshield, can you tell?

Next stop, Livingston.

I simply adored the little town of Livingston. A lot of the rural South is drying up, with very few places for residents to work and make an income. However, Livingston seems to be doing okay - I am guessing because the University of Western Alabama is there. I called my sister while driving and asked her to look up the college (she's a history nerd, too) and the college was originally a female college founded in 1835. I was surprised at how old this area of Alabama is.

Here are two almost identical federal style homes side by side on the same street...

Several homes of this style are located in Livingston. While researching the area, I read where some men from Connecticut and New Hampshire came to the area and helped construct a dozen federal style homes.  

This little greek revival I shared on my Instagram page, earlier this week .....

That is one of my favorite styles. That home was next door to those other two. The black sign next to the front sidewalk is an award for preservation.

Both of these white churches are in Livingston...

 Episcopal c. 1840

Methodist c. 1890

After leaving Livingston, I crossed the Tombigbee River and did not expect the white cliffs ! 

I had to research that, too. Apparently, the white cliffs are part of the rock strata known as "Selma Chalk" formations.  Here are some photos I found on the internet taken on a prettier day (and not from an iphone out the car window travelling at 55 mph)....

Just past the river, I came upon the small town of Boligee. Almost a ghost town, but not quite, this is one of those areas where you can tell there was once a thriving community and now it is just sort of sad. There were three pretty white churches in this small ghost town... 

St. Mark's Episcopal Church c. 1854 

This church was constructed in 1854, but was moved to this location in 1880. An old cemetery is located in the back.  This church still has an active Episcopal congregation. I found this photo of the inside of this church (I did not go in)....

And just around the corner is Friendship Baptist....

Friendship Baptist Church in Boligee c 1835

The side wing is obviously an addition. 

Note the two front doors - one for men and one for women. 

Just down the street from this church I saw an old school....

It was once the local high school. Here is a photo from the 1930's...

The first church I saw in Boligee, the one that made me turn the car around, was this Presbyterian Church ...

Boligee Presbyterian

I'll bet locals consider that to be the "new" church in town.

And from there, I hopped back on the interstate and headed north towards home. As I researched my route, I realized I missed a couple of historic homes, a covered bridge, and some cool old churches here and there.  Saving a little for next time!  

I also found a great website for historical information and old structures in this area of Alabama. 

After researching a little, I would love to see Selma, Demapolis, Eutaw, and Gainesville, some day. 

Enjoy your day!

joining Frugal Friday

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Holly said...

I'm loving your excursions with photos and historical commentary! Thank you for sharing the "road less traveled" with us!

It is sad to see some of the small towns drying up, and the history fading quietly away. There are so many stories to be told and so much life that has happened...

I also love your paintings - and am glad to hear you are finding joy in that again!

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

So interesting seeing the historic photos alongside the ones you took. Thanks for taking us along on your trip.

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