Sunday, October 30, 2016

Old South Fairhope School To Get New Life?

Fairhope, Alabama

NW corner of Section St. and Twin Beech Rd.


During a weekly 'Tea at Two' talk at the Museum of History recently, well-known resident and community activist Dr. Henry 'Moon' Mullins said a new effort is underway to convert the former African American school south of town for use as a teen community center.

Finalization of 'The Anna T. Jeanes Rosenwald Community Development Project' is well underway and officers were to be selected shortly, he said.

This project will be differentiated from other such schools, like the 'Little Red School House' in Bay Minette and the 'Daphne Training School' in that those are now museums: this will be an operating community center in the Jeanes tradition to teach life skills.

Dr. Henry Mullins
A non-voting advisory council of volunteers from throughout the community with skills in archiving, building, administration, history, etc. is also being planned.

Mullins said numerous grants should be available for funding, and the city has expressed an interest as well.

The Baldwin County Board of Education owns the property and projects a new school may be needed there in about ten years, Mullins said; but a lease agreement could be worked out in the interim.

"That is all to be worked out ... get the organization together first ... tell them what we propose ... see who wants to be a part of it."

(A similar effort in 2014 (click) failed when most of the Alternative School on the site was demolished, leaving only the oldest part.)


Philanthropist Julius Rosenwald (click), the President of Sears Roebuck at the time, funded construction of 400 African American Schools in Alabama from 1917 - 1936 with the Rosenwald Foundation: and Philadelphia Quaker Ana T. Jeanes provided teachers/staffing with her own Jeanes Foundation - click.

The original Jeanes school was built in 1923 on the other side of Section Street (east side), but burned in 1951 and was replaced by the state with the current one.

Fairhope's school was the only one in the state actually named 'Anna T. Jeanes' -- adding to its historic significance.

Mullins: "Today, the time has come to make the school the treasure it should be."


Mullins also talked about his early life in Fairhope: he came here in 1956 after medical school and spending two years in the military in Iran with his wife and two children.

He intended to establish a medical practice in Foley and live in Magnolia Springs, but no physicians were needed there at the time so he built an office in downtown Fairhope; later he founded the Bay Medical Practice on Greeno Road using municipal-backed bonds.

In the mid 1970s, he  became the first president of  the University of South Alabama's new Family Practice Medical School in Mobile.

Mullins said he got his nickname "Moon" not by "doing anything late at night" -- but from the famous comic strip character.


Anonymous said...

There already is a community center on Young Street. Why another one?

Anonymous said...

it is an eyesore now

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard to get anything done around here?

Anonymous said...

Cecil is a funny guy but a failure as a politician.