Saturday, February 28, 2009

On the Side

The side view of Sturdivant Hall is almost as attractive as its front and back. I took this photo from across the street by Heritage Village. Notice the yellow-flowered vine around the street lantern.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Art, Chocolate and Ballet

A chocolate and champagne reception, along with an art show and auction of paintings by local artist Jim Pritchard, preceded the performance by the Montgomery Ballet Friday night.

Those who braved the heavy rain, lightning and tornado warnings weren't disappointed! The Repertoire Performance featured a variety of music and dance including Verdi Pas de Six, Carmen Pas De Deux and Esmeralda Pase de Deux. Perhaps the highlight was the final presentation of Masa, which was a modern arrangement with Armenian music.

The Ballet's artistic director, Elie Lazar, is known for his versatility and inventiveness as a choreographer, and we were delighted to talk with him after the finale. The Israel native enjoys bringing new ideas to the art of ballet and has designed demonstrations to teach school children about dance. He presents summer workshops that include performances, lectures with demonstrations and intensive classes.

The Montgomery Ballet was headed to Andalusia in south Alabama today and will be performing A Midsummer Night's Dream in Wetumpka. He told us that the quality of the Ballet includes his aggressive recruitment of the best-trained dancers across the country.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunset on the Alabama River (Skywatch)

It's Skywatch time again, and I am pleased to bring you this spectacular sunset over the Alabama River!
Christine Weerts took this photograph last year from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and it's proof that we DO have gorgeous skies over Selma. I love how the water reflects the reds, oranges and golds.
To see more skies around the world, please go to

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PAWS Ball Auction

A rather unique fundraiser is happening in Selma on Saturday night at the convention center. It's the second annual PAWS Ball Auction Fundraiser for the Central Alabama Animal Shelter.

There will be live music, dancing, food, drinks, a silent auction and raffle...all to benefit the care of cats and dogs who need an adoptive home.

Now, who can resist lending a helping hand to the paw in the picture?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Praray Patent

Selma's former cigar factory/cotton mill is only one of five mills built in the late 19th Century South using the "Praray Improved System of Construction."

Charles Praray of Providence, R.I., received the patent in 1894 for his mill design that featured support columns and triangular outer walls built on two separate foundations. The design made the walls non-load bearing, and the triangular bays featured rows of windows to bring more light into the plant. The building's exterior appeared much more modern when compared to other architecture of the Victorian age.

In the late 20th Century, when improved lighting and air conditioning made the need for triangular windows obsolete, the mills began to brick them in or cover them with other materials. However, because the outer walls were separate from the interior frame, the structures remained mostly intact.

This building opened in 1897 as the Selma Cotton Mill and was converted to a cigar factory in the mid-20th Century. Above is a photo that I took as a reporter for The Selma Times-Journal in 1979 when the mill's windows were still uncovered. Below is the structure as it looks today. The cigar factory closed in late 2008.

To read more about the Praray mills and to view the patent drawing, check out Losing the Historic Praray Mill and Through the Mill.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pilgrim's Rest

Society's Queen City Swallowtail found a shady spot to rest in the Mabry Street corner of Heritage Village.

This butterfly sculpture was painted by Candi Duncan and is sponsored by the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society.
For an inside view of the wings, click HERE.

The Historic Selma Pilgrimage & Antique Show is the Society's next big event March 20-22, and the 19th Century law and doctor's offices, servant quarters and pigeon cote are among many venues that will be open for visitors.

Click the photo to see a larger view.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pilgrimage Presents Gillman Hall

Selma is about to open its Historic Treasure Chest for the 34th year in a row!

Pilgrimage is just a month away, and among the homes on tour this year is Gillman Hall, a Greek Revival Italianate built in 1860.

Constructed with brick, the exterior is finished with stucco, and the front porch posts are made of iron.

The home was purchased by Emile Gillman in 1874, and his family owned it until 1939 when it was purchased by Dr. Sam Moseley Sr. The Gillman family also owned Sturdivant Hall for 60 years.

This house was purchased again in 2008 and has been beautifully restored, and visitors will enjoy seeing its many period antiques.

For more Pilgrimage information, go to the Historic Preservation Pilgrimage website. You can also download a brochure here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Glorious Flutterer

When the sun shines just right, this butterfly can take your breath away!

The "Glorious Flutterer" gleams with pizazz on Broad Street, Selma's main avenue. This sculpture was painted in warm polka dots by Sister Judith Kaiser and Keyonsis Olds for their sponsor, the St. Edmund Learning Center.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sister Judy about her art work for an article HERE.

Temple Mishkan Israel, which was built in 1899, is in the background, and you can read more about Selma's Jewish history HERE.

To view more butterfly sculptures, click on over to The Butterfly Project blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sky after Supercell

Shortly after a supercell thunderstorm chugged through Dallas County on Wednesday, the sky delighted us with golds, grays, bright white and clear blue hues.

We were able to follow the supercell on radar from its formation in east-central Mississippi through its quick progression across central Alabama. It spawned several rotations that led to tornado warnings and sporadic wind damage. Quarter to silver-dollar sized hail rained down at our house, but other nearby areas reported golf-ball to baseball-size ice.

Check out all the other skies participating in today's Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bibbity Bobbity Boo!

Cinderella turns around to see her fairy godmother come to her rescue in the "Cinderella" puppet show at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. The show is the February feature in the Children's Department.

And who can remember the words to Disney's version of the song that transformed Cinderella from rags to a glamorous gown for the royal ball?

"Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Put 'em together and what have you got
Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
It'll do magic believe it or not
Salagadoola means mechicka booleroo
But the thingmabob that does the job is
Salagadoola menchicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Put 'em together and what have you got
bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi-boo"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just for Fun and Puppet Shows

February is already more than half gone, but there are still a couple of days for children's programs at the library.

Just for Fun is a crafts, music and story time for children ages 4-7 while the Puppet Shows feature the show and a short craft. The Cinderella story is this month's feature. Rapunzel lets down her hair in March.

Looking out the window, you can see the former First Christian Church building.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Centre for Commerce Skylight

Step into the lobby of Selma's Centre for Commerce and look up. You'll see this colorful skylight in the "rotunda" of the building that originally was a Carnegie Library.

The renovation of this early 1900's structure saved another historic building and gave Selma more room for the merger of its chamber of commerce, tourism development and economic development.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tenant House Daffodils

Clumps of daffodils are perennial reminders of tenant houses that once dotted the landscape of Dallas County. Today, most of these simple wooden structures are going or long gone. Here, the tin roof of a tenant house porch has fallen across the front porch.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

White Camellia

Some like it cold!

And the hardy camellia is one of them!

Camellias of white, red, pink and variegated hues grow abundantly in Selma this time of year. Yes, extreme cold can hurt them, but Alabama's state flower is one bloom that gardeners can usually count on for color in the winter.

They look pretty in a bud vase, or better yet, put a few blooms with their leaves in a shallow bowl for a centerpiece.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

What could be more heart-shaped that this pretty anthurium?

To me, it says, "Happy Valentine's Day," and it's also a symbol for hospitality. Some folks know it as a Flamingo Flower, Painted Tongue or Painter's Palette.

Thanks to Elaine Stewart for emailing me this photo of her exotic plant!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Be a Sweetheart

The downtown windows of Butler-Truax Jewelers and Truax & Co. are decorated with ideas for Valentines. Be a sweetheart, and don't forget to make a loved one feel special!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Old Town Belfry

This cute belfry sits atop...a school? a church? a barn?

Noooo...a storage shed!

The owner says she found the bell, then decided it would look nice in its own little tower.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Calling Alabama Artists

Here are a few pieces of art shown at last year's Arts Revive juried exhibition. Now, the call is out for Alabama artists to participate in the seventh annual show.

The show begins March 13 and ends March 22, coinciding with Spring Pilgrimage the second weekend. To enter, artists, sculptors and photographers have until February 18. Selections for the show will be made by a committee from photo and CD entries. The judge, Jessica Ingram, teaches at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

For more information, call 334-872-4672.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Ballet Comes to Selma

The ballet is just a little more than two weeks away.

The Montgomery Ballet will perform classical and contemporary selections Friday, February 27 at Selma's Performing Arts Center, and attendees will be in for a delightful evening.

The Ballet's artistic director, Elie Lazar, is known for his versatility and inventiveness as a choreographer. So, expect something different, especially with the contemporary performances.

Lazar founded the Joffrey Ensemble Dancers and the LazarBallet NYC, and he previously has created ballets for the New Jersey Ballet Company, Atlanta's Georgia Youth Ballet, Japan's Kumamota Ballet and others.

The ballet begins at 7:30, preceded by a champagne and chocolate reception (included in the ticket price). Tickets are available at the Centre for Commerce and Truax & Co. The performance is a presentation of Arts Revive and The Montgomery Ballet.

(Photo courtesy The Montgomery Ballet)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Village Clocksmith

Tick tock, tick tock.

John Newman spends much of his time keeping time.

The Village Clocksmith brought several clocks and his expertise from Prattville to Selma last week and shared insights with the Historic Preservation Society on how to keep clocks in good repair.

Retired from IBM where he worked at the Kennedy Space Center, Newman has worked on clocks for more than three decades and been a consultant at Emperor Clock Company in Fairhope. Now that he runs his own clock shop, he restores timepieces whether they sit on mantels or high in a tower.

Newman can help many clock owners with minor clock repair via the Internet. He's also a clock expert at

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Decoration at Diego's

Even if the weather is cold outside, the food and decorations will warm you up inside at Diego's Mexican Restaurant!

Diego's is located on Mulberry Road on the banks of the Alabama River. Since the building sits up high, customers enjoy a beautiful view of the Alabama River and the Pettus Bridge.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Clear and Cold Above the River

It's Skywatch Friday again, and the skies were clear with cold temperatures the day I took this photo of the railroad bridge across the Alabama River.

The bridge is located just upriver from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which carries vehicles across from downtown. I got this shot from the walkway at Diego's Mexican Restaurant...more about the restaurant later.

Check out awesome skies from around the world at

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reading the South

From writers James Dickey to Lewis Grizzard, Everyman Books offers variety in Southern fiction, nonfiction and regional-interest publications.

Other genres include Black History, American History, environment, children's books, religion and classics. If you like books, it's a fun place to look around, and if you are looking for a rare book, the proprietor just might have it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Colorful Corner

Hey, y'all. I'm still at Everyman Books, and I might just stay there for the rest of the week!

Looking for something old, comforting, eclectic or colorful? Check out this corner! The cobalt-blue bottle tree will chase away the "haints" while the quilts lend cozy comfort. Then, exercise your mind with a game of chess!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Open Mic Night

Can you express yourself in words...through song, poetry, reading a story or sharing your thoughts?

Then, you might enjoy Open Mic Night at Everyman Books on the first Friday evening of each month. Often, there are surprise musicians, and some of them might be your neighbors and friends!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Paths and Passages 2

Continuing the February 1 theme, here's my second choice for paths and passages...a narrow, curving path behind Sturdivant Hall Museum. It leads us through lush gardens and to a goldfish pond guarded by the statue of an angel.

I took this photo last summer, and if we look up, you can see a nice surprise, an unripened lemon in a tree.

Click photo to see a larger image.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Theme Day, Paths and Passages

If you happen to be dining on the terrace of the St. James Hotel (not shown), just follow the red brick path past the Bridge Tender's House (left) and make your way to the river overlook at Lafayette Park. This is the location where the first bridge crossed the Alabama River. That bridge was torn down to make way for the Edmund Pettus Bridge (background), which opened to traffic in 1940.
(Click on the photo to see a larger picture, and click HERE to view a similar photo taken in autumn.

There are more than 50 other City Daily Photo Bloggers participating in Theme Day.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants