March 5, 2009

Gone With The Wind.......

Last Friday my mama and I took a little day trip to Lowndes County, Alabama where my grandparents settled after their retirement in the 1940's. Two of their sons were in the military in Montgomery so they moved a little further south to Lowndes County, Alabama.

Lowndes County is smack dab in the middle of the Black Belt. The most prominent community in Lowndes County is Lowndesboro, where I grew up and went to school for many years. There were some beautiful antebellum homes built in Lowndesboro back in its "hey day" and while many of the homes and churches still survive, sadly many of them have fallen into disrepair over the years.

The first home you see as you come around the bend in Lowndesboro is this stately home. Built in the Greek Revival style, it is what many people consider a true antebellum home. It underwent a significant restoration in the 1960's but now it appears the owners have not kept it in the style to which it had become accustomed.

You can almost picture Scarlett O'Hara running down the driveway holding up her hoopskirts

This is the Methodist parsonage

The local cemetery. Some of the earliest settlers in Lowndesboro are buried here

We counted more than 6 churches built along a less than 3 mile drive!

The dome on the church below once sat atop the first capital of Alabama located at Cahawba, Alabama. Cahawba is found near Selma, Alabama. Due to Cahawba being situated on the Alabama River, it was subject to flooding so eventually the capital was relocated to Montgomery. I wish I knew how this church acquired the original dome.

Marengo is a home that has been beautifully restored and maintained. It is now used to host special events but when I was in school, the children of the family that lived there went to school with me. As a matter of fact, I had a crush on one of the sons and remember being invited to Marengo!

Looking down the driveway leading to Marengo

The original home was dismantled and brought over on the Alabama River to its current location

This is a new home built to look old

This aging beauty belonged to a doctor and his decendants still live there. It appears that it, too, has seen better days

Front entrance to the above home

Now we'll leave Lowndesboro and head down the road a piece (as we say here in the south) to where my grandparents lived.

As you can see from the sign on the church, the original structure was built in 1840 and burned on March 18, 1967. This was at the height of the civil rights movement. During that time, many churches were burned. I distinctly remember the night this church burned. It seemed our whole community stood by helplessly as it was completely destroyed.

Here is the church as it appears today

Just a stone's throw from the Presbyterian church was the home of my grandparents. My grandmother passed away in 1969 but my grandfather and bachelor uncle stayed on at the homeplace until approximately 1971 when they moved back to North Carolina. When the place was sold, the new owners changed many things about the home, both inside and out. My grandmother spent many hours, and many years, making the grounds a showplace. Sadly, all of her hard work is no longer evident. This roofline is basically the only thing left of the time my grandparents lived here. I spent many hours on the front porch, rocking, shelling peas, and taking naps on the metal glider that was outfitted with soft cushions!

The home as it appears today. My grandmother had a beautiful pathway lined with "thrift", and the grounds were wonderfully landscaped. There was a large tree in the yard where my uncle hung a wooden swing. All the grandchildren loved to swing on that old wooden swing!

This white fence was not part of the original yard but has been installed by the present owners

My uncle planted this tree over 50 years ago.

I had an encounter with a rattlesnake right at the base of this old tree! Luckily for me, my dog saw it and started growling and barking and when I saw that snake, I ran for my life!!!

My mama and daddy got married standing right here in front of the fireplace in the formal dining room on January 11, 1946. Walls have been torn down to combine two rooms so it really looks nothing like it did when my grandparents lived here. Here's mama posing at the same spot she stood in all those years ago (no big screen tv's then either).

I hope you enjoyed this little trip with me and enjoyed seeing My South!


Bama Belle said...

How fun! Thanks for sharing

marty39 said...

What a wonderful trip down memory lane for you. The old homes are always so wonderful to see. I love to think of times gone by and the wonderful times spent with family and loved ones in some of the older homes. Thanks for sharing part of your trip. Hugs, Marty


Beautiful photos!

rebecca said...

we really don't have homes like those here in england, and i love them so much the huge pillars and country currently researching for my kitchen redesign. I've just signed the contract for a hand crafted kitchen so am on the look out for some unique or contemporary design features but now i'm just so swept away i may have to go with country and rustic. this is a really lovely blog especially as it's all about family too.

Gaston Studio said...

Quite a nostalgic trip for me, as I'm originally from Savannah, so houses are quite similar. So sad to see these beautful old beauties bought and changed by new owners, but sadder still to see them deteroriate until there's nothing left to salvage.

Our heritage is literally rotting away in many, many towns across the country. I'm working with a couple of small groups in my area to save endangered homes and it's a very slow and frustrating process, but at least we're doing something.

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Oh, Judy, those are beautiful pics of the history in AL. Love those stately old homes & your grandmother's house is precious. What great memories, so glad you got back there to visit.

Come over for my pillow giveaway today!

Southern Lady said...

Judy, I enjoyed seeing your photos of Lowndesboro, and reading the stories behind those beautiful old homes. It's sad to see them deteriorating, but I imagine the upkeep and maintenance on them cost a small fortune these days.

Thank you for sharing your trip down memory lane. I know you and your mama loved it.



Lazy Mom Leslie said...

What a gorgeous tour! Thanks so much for sharing your piece of history with us.

PAT said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful tour, Judy!

The Charm House said...

Judy, What a wonderful trip... I took my son's girlfriend down Ponce de Leon in Atlanta yesterday. I was telling her how many of the older large homes had been sold or donated to organizations because the families could no longer afford to take care of them. I, like you, treasure these old homes and Churches and hate to see them going "downhill". I do understand though the repairs on them are so costly that the families can no longer afford to care for them. It is so sad. I hate to see them turned into law firms, etc. But rather that than tore down.
Thank you so much for sharing!!!
God Bless,

Inspired Kara said...

I love that picture of the fifty year old tree. It's so special! I would have that one framed!

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

Thanks for the tour of those gorgeous homes in the south. I can see Scarlett now....

How great it must have been for you
walking down memory lane. Take care, DebraK

Connie said...

Thank you for the lovely tour of the homes and showpieces.
Beautiful country down there.
I enjoyed the trip.


GrannySmithGreen said...

My goodness! I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog--and I don't even know how I got here! It is just lovely. Thank you for posting such beautiful images of the South we know and love. The stories of your family were precious. Your mom looks as if she's holding her bouquet!

Please come by for a visit!

His Doorkeeper said...

Judy, Loved the tour! I love old houses and old churches. Most of all, I love that you also have memories of trees from your childhood. I remember certain trees from my grandmother's farm and it brings back many fun memories of playing under those trees!

Your Mom looked so sweet in front of that fireplace where she got married. How special!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Judy, what a lovely tour. Those homes, they are still so beautiful. And yes, you CAN almost hear Scarlett running down the stairs!
:) Lidy

mommyofmany said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures of the beautiful homes. As an Air Force Brat, I was born in Mobile, but I haven't always been in the South. These houses always say something about Southern Pride to me. It's exciting to be back with my own family in beautiful Alabama.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

I really enjoyed looking at these old homes!

Helen said...

Hi Judy! Loved looking at all of your photos today. I was raised in a small mid-western town with lots of churches too. This is my first visit to your blog ... I'll be back.

Law Wife said...

This is wonderful. Since living in Virginia, I've fallen in love with the South, and I love seeing different Southern homes. Thanks!

August Rose said...

Beautiful post...........They say pictures say a 1000 words but, memories are sacred and live forever. Thank you for sharing.

Melissa Lester said...

Those homes are beautiful! I would love to get a peak inside, then sit on the porch with a glass of sweet tea. Thanks for sharing a bit of your history here!

Mary Ashley wore the outfit you gave her to church Wednesday night, and it looked precious! Seeing her in it, I felt like making a mad dash for the beach. I can't wait to let her wear it there!

Sit A Spell said...

I enjoyed my first visit here! Loved that it was the south, because I'm a southern girl living up north!

Aren't memories a wonderful thing...well, maybe except for the rattlesnake memory!

Cathy said...

I love all the old homes there! Your mother looks adorable in that picture.

{{Big Hugs}}


Paige said...

Thanks for sharing! I grew up in Montgomery, AL and have some dear friends of my family who live in Lowndesboro. I have fond memories of going to church with them and spending time in that area. The were married at the Marengo House.

Thanks for putting a smile on my face seeing a place I also have fond memories of. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog from Kelly's Korner.

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Peter said...

these are some great shots and paint a lovely picture of the town. i am doing a little redesign and looking for inspiration, i wanted a big classic family kitchen but i am finding it hard to get a bespoke kitchen designer in the UK who can handle my plans.

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