Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fairhope Historian Talks About 'Stewart the Pictureman'

Fairhope, Alabama


Donnie Barrett standing
Historian Donnie Barrett talked about the life and times of photographer Frank Stewart "the pictureman" during the first of this year's monthly offerings sponsored by the Single Tax Corporation at the library.

Stuart was born in 1855 in Lafayette, Indiana and worked for a time for the Rock Island Railroad before purchasing 40 acres south of  Silverhill along Polecat Creek (aka Silver Creek) in about 1903; why he did not purchase in Fairhope is unknown. He died in 1942.

His wife Hattie hailed from Normal Park, near Chicago.

He operated photography shops at various locations around  Fairhope until about 1936 and called himself 'Stuart The Pictureman' by writing directly on his negative plates with a paintbrush, in the fashion of the time.

Early 'Single Tax' advocates, they were a part of the socialist faction of the Fairhope Colony experiment.

Beginning in the 1990s, Barrett has collected over 700 of Stewart's photos and other documentation from remaining family (much still unpublished) in Washington state and from local sources: a descendant is still living on the family farm in Silverhill.

Many there were surprised by how barren an aerial photo shot in the 1920's appeared (below): most of the trees had been cleared for firewood, farming. and construction purposes, leading to massive erosion: the genesis of our current gullies.

Barrett is currently working on a book about Stuart, to be sold at the museum of history.

Fairhope ca. 1920s

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it Stewart or Stuart?