Friday, February 29, 2008

Vine-Covered Cottage

Vines have been trained to wind along the covered porch and shutters of this 1880's cottage. It was built as a temporary residence while a larger house was constructed, but it has served several families as their permanent domain. I can see why they have loved it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Marion Bank and Trust

Marion Bank & Trust now has a branch in Selma and is one of two new independently owned banks here. Marion is a small town about 25 miles away and home to Judson College (Baptist), Marion Military Institute and numerous antebellum homes.

This building is on property that used to be occupied by Bar D Outfit, a western wear store. That building, however, was torn down. Behind the bank is the Alabama Gas Company, also fairly new.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stack of Logs

Selma and Dallas County are wood-products producers. Pine is plentiful, but we produce some hardwoods too. Here is a stack of logs at Miller Lumber Company. Several of my relatives were employed at the old Schuer-Miller Lumber Company a century ago, including my grandfather, great-grandfather (who moved here from Ohio) and some great-uncles. In fact, my grandparents met through the family connections here. After Great-Grandfather died from pneumonia in 1912 (during the same week that the Titanic sank), most of my grandmother's family returned to Ohio, while she stayed Down South to marry the handsome, young man who had been her father's supervisor. (The rest is history!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Valley Grande City Limits

The city of Valley Grande is Selma's nearest neighbor. Incorporated in 2003, the rural community includes a large section of north Dallas County. Some areas of Valley Grande join the Selma city limits but not this one on Alabama Highway 219. It is home to several businesses, an elementary and middle school, several new subdivisions and the historic community of Summerfield.

Currently, Valley Grande does not have a main downtown section, but its future plan can be found here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Week After

Roads are clear of debris a week after an EF-2 tornado struck the Summerfield/Ocmulgee area of Dallas County. But, acres and acres of stripped timber will bear evidence of the wind for a while.

(Notice the red dirt on the uprooted tree at left. While Dallas County is part of the Black Belt region, the northern section is red clay and hilly. There's a lot of sandy loam south of the Alabama River, but the western part has Blackland Prairie soil that is prime land for raising cattle and catfish. Then, not all Black Belt prairie soils are black. Some are gray, brown, red and white. But, that's another post for another day!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Down by the Old Mill Stream

The roof of Kenan's Mill is reflected in Valley Creek just beneath the swinging bridge. This photo was taken last spring after blooms had fallen. The mill, the bridge, charcoal kiln and mill house will open for tours come mid-March as part of Selma's annual Historic Pilgrimage. Kenan's Mill is a restoration project of the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Calhoun Law Office

The James M. Calhoun Law Office in Heritage Village is a replica of U.S. Senator and Secretary of State John C. Calhoun's law office.
James was John's nephew, and John was a powerful politician from South Carolina and one of "The Great Triumvirate" in the 1830s and 1840s. James became a lawyer and planter in Dallas County, Alabama, and served in the state House of Representatives and Senate.
This one-room, Greek Revival structure was built in the 1830s and moved here from the little town of Carlowville.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spring Blossoms at the Parke House

More Japanese Magnolia!
This time, it is blooming at the Parke House, an 1850's Greek Revival home built by a Selma physician as a wedding present for his daughter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Star

What is this metal star and what is its purpose?
This star and several others are located on the exterior of the old Selma Marble and Granite building. They were made in Selma a long time ago.

Hint: It's not a Christmas decoration!

Congratulations to Dan of McKinney, Texas, Daily Photo! He got the answer, which can be found here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cats & Nine Lives

Do cats really have nine lives? You decide.
Here is Miss Kitty, who passed away almost three years ago after spending eight years at our house. Unfortunately, her curiosity about what was cooking on a smoker riled another animal who was bigger and badder than she, and she met an untimely demise.
Now, check out the Cheryl's new cat on Phoenix Daily Photo. At first, I thought Miss Kitty had found another life! But they don't have the same eyes...
Beautiful cats...both of them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Platt-Lewis-Gayle House

Not all antebellum homes in the South are mansions. This two-story charmer was built in 1849 by a local businessman and will be open for tours during the Selma Historic Pilgrimage March 14-16.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Birds Gather Ahead of the Storm

I always thought birds got quiet and found a good hiding place before a storm, but this flock gathered in the tops of our trees on Sunday. Perhaps they were searching for a good spot to take cover. (By the way, this photo is in color!)
Anybody know about bird behavior?
To watch a video of the Dallas County tornado damage on WSFA-TV's website, click here, then click on the video strip labeled "Dallas County."

(Well, I have had one person tell me that these birds are probably taking cover in my yard, because they know the worst of the storm is to the north. Birds hide or leave when they know a storm is coming. So perhaps they flew south to safety!)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Storm Clouds at Morning

The golden glow behind these dark clouds is deceptive. At sunrise, storm clouds began moving in prior to a severe weather outbreak around noon. Dallas County was under tornado warnings for the next few hours, and two homes were destroyed in the Summerfield community just a few miles north of our house. Another seven homes received damage as well as an auto body shop.
To watch a video of the Dallas County tornado damage, click here.
Then, locate "Dallas County" on WSFA-TV's video strip.
You can also view the widespread damage in nearby Prattville.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pettus Bridge Pasta Art

Artist Vernon Spicer built the Pettus Bridge with pasta! This pasta portrait is currently on display at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library along with others: The Old Depot Museum, Holley Farm and Garden Center and Brown Chapel AME Church. What kinds of pasta can you detect?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spring in Waiting

Buds are just waiting to pop open as soon as a warm breeze swings up from the south. In another four to six weeks, there will be blossoms of dogwood, forsythia, quince, redbud, Yoshina cherry, pear, plum and azalea.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

A banner of hearts will greet you at this 1892 Victorian beauty on Selma Avenue. Hope you all have a happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Foundry

Steam engines...cotton presses...iron and brass castings...locomotive engines...boilers...and tons of other equipment. All were manufactured at some time at The Foundry. Significant in Selma as an American Industrial Revolution site, it may also have supported the Confederate Naval Arsenal, which was burned after the 1865 Battle of Selma. However, the earliest documentation for work done there is 1869.
The Foundry will be on tour during Selma's Historic Pilgrimage March 14-16, and visitors can view some of the equipment used during a succession of industrial progress.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Japanese Magnolia

The Japanese Magnolia has coaxed its pretty pink blossoms open just in time for Valentine's Day. I found this moss-covered tree on a shady lane between Selma and Dallas avenues.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fire Truck on Duty

Here's a Selma fire truck headed out to a small grass fire last week. The call came on Election Day as voters were marking their ballots at the fire station. But the trucks were already parked outside and ready to go. Have you ever followed a fire truck? It's not recommended since outsiders usually just get in the way, but I did that sometimes when I worked as a newspaper reporter. The worst fire I remember was when Dallas County High School burned. It was the oldest county high school in the state, but a reproduction of the main building replaced it. Another bad fire was that of The Crossing Restaurant by the Pettus Bridge. Now, that space is occupied by Songs of Selma Park.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Suffrage in Selma

Granting women the right to vote was a hot topic of the early 20th Century, and the folks of Selma took sides in a big way. In 1915, all of Dallas County's state representatives supported the bill until a group of local attorneys passed around an anonymous pamphlet declaring the danger of such a proposal! Patriotism and manhood were questioned, and one Selmian called it a Yankee plot. Even the women were divided. The president of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association was from Selma, but so was the president of the Alabama Association Opposed to Women Suffrage.

The pro-suffrage leader addressed the all-male legislature and told them:
"We feel we are your equals, and we want our right to vote to count at the polls. Women have been too long treated as irresponsible children, and now they want to share in the things that are going on."

The 19th Amendment passed, and Alabama's Legislature approved it, so the women of Selma voted for the first time in November 1920. In 1922, Selmian Harriet Hooker Wilkins was elected as the first woman legislator in Alabama. She defeated the state representative who first introduced the bill, then denounced it when he was accused of being less than manly.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Black Heritage Tour

School students from Selma and surrounding areas toured monuments and museums this week as part of Black History Month activities. Selma sponsors a Black Heritage Tour that includes a visit to the Old Depot Museum, National Voting Rights Museum, Brown Chapel AME Church and a walk across the Pettus Bridge. This museum, which once was the L&N train depot, has a black history room that features photos, murals and memorabilia from the Civil War era to Reconstruction, the Depression and Civil Rights era.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Keipp Collection

February is Black History Month in the USA, and a rare collection of late-19th Century photographs of tenant farmer families is displayed at the Old Depot Museum. The Keipp Collection is a series of stunning black and white photos made by Mary Morgan Keipp, daughter of a German immigrant. Her home was near an area where farm wagons parked to sell produce, so many of the pictures portray children playing as their parents sold or bought produce. However, some pictures such as this one, show life on the tenant farm.
What do you think this woman and child are doing?

*(I am told by the museum guide that during dry weather, water could be found by digging into the earth. The little girl is digging for water with a stick while the woman appears to be washing clothes. I would guess this might be a dry stream bed.)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bottle Tree

Ever seen a bottle tree? If you looked closely at Wednesday's Picket Fences post, you would have noticed a bottle tree in the yard. Bottle trees are said to ward off evil spirits, and the idea was brought to America along with the Africans who became slaves. Today's bottle trees, however, are simply ornamental. They are primarily associated with southern gardens.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Picket Fences

You can chat across the picket fences at one of Selma's newest gift shops, or you can nap on the porch's picket swinging bed! Purchase picket plank birdhouses or a variety of other local homemade crafts...pillows, soap, honey, baby and children's items, vintage kitchen towels and dishes like the ones your grandmother had. Picket Fences is located on Church Street, and the proprietor's husband not only makes houses for the birds but primitive furniture for people.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Today is Super Tuesday when voters in 24 states choose preferences for their party's presidential nomination. Selma's Woodrow Avenue Fire Station serves as a polling place for elections.
Democrats are choosing between frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Republican frontrunners are John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. It is likely that today's election will give a clear edge to who might be the parties' eventual nominee. The general election is in November.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Paperwhite narcissus is blooming in a few yards around town. This delicate, aromatic flower is related to the daffodil and among my favorite of all blossoms.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

First Flower of Spring

Can the feline prognosticator be wrong? In my February 2 post, she predicted six more weeks of winter. Yet, here is proof that Spring is here! It's a daffodil, our first spring flower of the year...the ONLY flower in my yard so far...but there will be more... SOON. Just two weeks ago, we had snow.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Six More Weeks of Winter!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Selma doesn't have groundhogs, but it does have cats, and this feline prognosticator saw her shadow today. Like Puxatawny Phil predicted in Pennsylvania, we will have six more weeks of winter before Spring!

Friday, February 1, 2008

February Theme Day: When People Think of My City...

When people think of Selma, Alabama, USA, they think of "Civil War to Civil Rights" history. Our town is also known for its abundance of historic homes and structures.

At left, the Confederate Monument reigns over Old Live Oak Cemetery where numerous Confederate veterans, including a few generals, are buried. Confederate Circle is flanked by cannons and includes a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the general who defended Selma in one of the last battles of the War Between the States. Selma played an important role in the war with its large foundry and navy yard, which supplied munitions and shipbuilding for the Confederacy.

At right, this window in the National Voting Rights Museum recognizes some of the voting rights leaders. Outside the window, you can see the Pettus Bridge. One hundred years after the Battle of Selma, the town became pivotal for its role in the Civil Rights/Voting Rights Movement.

There are well over 100 other City Daily Photo Blogs participating in this month's Theme Day. Be sure to check them out!

Portland (OR), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Memphis (Tennessee), USA - Manila, Philippines - San Diego (CA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - New York City (NY), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - San Francisco (CA), USA - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - Mainz, Germany - Weston (FL), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Turin, Italy - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Bicheno, Australia - Durban, South Africa - Joplin (MO), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Brussels, Belgium - Chicago (IL), USA - Montpellier, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mazatlan, Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Toulouse, France - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Susanville (CA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Helsinki, Finland - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Lisbon, Portugal - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Trujillo, Peru - Dunedin (FL), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USAPort Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - London, UK - Baziège, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mumbai, India - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Stayton (OR), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Arradon, France - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Athens, Greece - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Jackson (MS), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Budapest, Hungary - Rotterdam, Netherlands - St Malo, FranceChandler (AZ), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cleveland (OH), USA - Nottingham, UK - Kansas City (MO), USA - The Hague, Netherlands - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Wrocław, Poland - Chateaubriant, France - Cheltenham, UK - Moscow, Russia - Monrovia (CA), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Toruń, Poland - Grenoble, France - Lisbon, Portugal - New Orleans (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Boston (MA), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Wichita (KS), USA - Radonvilliers, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Christchurch, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Wailea (HI), USA - Aliso Viejo (CA), USA - St Francis, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Seattle (WA), USA - Pasadena (CA), USA - Vienna, Austria - Orlando (FL), USA - Torun, Poland - Delta (CO), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Paris, France - Stavanger, Norway - Niamey, Niger - Le Guilvinec, France - Bogor, Indonesia - Saarbrücken, Germany - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Juneau (AK), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Glasgow, Scotland - Chicago (IL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Sydney, Australia - Riga, Latvia - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - -