May 16

A few more historical markers

After this, you can count them on one hand. You can count a lot of things on one hand these days. Anyway, as a refresher, I started some years ago riding my bicycle around the county to take pictures of all of the historic markers. And then I took a very long time off that project. And now I’m wrapping up the project in these last few small batches. You can see them all here. Or you can read a little bit about the sites below and then hit the links to the specific posts.

For instance, during the Civil war, the college was closed and, after the Battle of Atlanta, used as a hospital. I always imagine being wounded and having to make that trip from Atlanta. It was July and hot. It is a good hour and change by interstate today. What must that have been like? Anyway, the chapel was one of the facilities used as a hospital. It is the oldest building in town.

Auburn University Chapel

Also, it is said to be haunted by the spirit of a Confederate soldier. See the markers.

Now this contraption was used to make cannons.

The Lathe

Later it had other industrial uses, lathes being versatile machines. When it was retired it was brought to town and now it is on display with one humble little marker. Legend has it that if you go to the lathe at the right time of night under the right moon and do a dance and say a few chants … you’re doing a dance and saying a few chants. Also, the lathe will move. But that’s just a legend. See more about the lathe here.

Max Morris was a student, and later a hero, and then a warrior. He was one of the Frozen Chosin. And the university named its drill field in his honor. After service was no long compulsory the ROTC of course shrank in size. Eventually the drill field became …

Max Adams Morris Drill Field

You can learn more about Max Morris, and see the ROTC facility, here.

Here are two extras. Right by the lathe is the big iconic building. And on it are a few extra little historical notes. This one notes the campus being used as a hospital.


And this one is the cornerstone to the iconic administrative building. It isn’t the original, which burned in the 1880s, but this one, the replacement, still predates most things still standing around here now.


May 16

More markers

The county’s historic markers are still out there. I’m still out there, pedaling around to see them and take pictures, just because they are there and I can do it. There are just six or seven more, after today’s pair.

Founders' Oak

This tree is important. Why is this tree important? You will find out here.

Desegregation at Auburn

There are two buildings here. This one is where the historic event happen. The second is the building named after one of the players in this part of the story. Click here to find out all about it.

Apr 16

Riding for markers

There are four entries on the marker site for you to check out today. First, there’s The Bottle, which is one of those first curiosities you see in town if you come by a certain route.

The Bottle

Across the street is just a regular convenience store. On the sign you learn there that The Bottle, a place with a great deal of character to it in the old roadside Americana vein, burned in the 1930s. What’s there now is the most Alabama thing you could possibly do with the space. See more about The Bottle here.

Rosenwald School

See more about ths Rosenwald school here. The schools were named for Julius Rosenwald, president and later chairman of Sears Roebuck & Co., who, along with Booker T. Washington, started the program. There were more than 5,000 Rosenwald schools built nationally and a few hundred of those were established throughout Alabama. This was the first one. To read more about the Alabama version, click here. You can see a slightly better version of the photo in the marker here.

And just down the road from that is the Loachapoka Historic District. It was a railroad boom town, which meant it was also a railroad bust town. There are two markers within a few feet of one another here.

Boom and Change

It’s a sleepy little piece of sand now. You can see the markers here. Also, in the local Native American dialect, Muskogee, Loachapoka means “turtle killing place.”

Apr 16

Riding for markers

I’m working on wrapping up a project I’ve been undertaking, more off than on, for several years. I’ve been riding my bike all over the county to photograph the markers and the places they document. The ones I’m showing you today are all from the same place. So important is this location, there are three markers within view of one another.

Three signs in all, six sides of information, generations of families and leaders and history. Interesting how cemeteries are both the beginning and end of history.

You can see the other sides to these signs, and the sacred grounds they mark, here.

Apr 16

Back to the markers

I have to finish this project up and, so, for the next several weeks I’ll be sneaking in a few posts that will shoot you over to my historic marker page. The concept there is pretty straightforward. I’ve been riding my bike all over the county to photograph the markers and the places they document. This has been an on-again-off-again project for years. Time to wrap it up. Here are two that will get us a bit closer to doing just that.

This is a superlative sign. It is the most difficult one in the county to get to. It was one of the hardest ones to find. Being from 1954 it is perhaps the oldest of the bunch. It has perhaps the widest ranging actual historical significance. And there’s less at this physical location than any other marker in the county. There’s absolutely nothing there:

You can see the other side, and the locale.

After France, late in the Colonial period gave all of this region to Britain surveyors marked the boundaries including this one in south Smiths Station. This line goes all the way across at least two states. I wonder if there are other signs elsewhere on this line.

Also, 18th century surveyor still sounds like an impossibly difficult job.

I had a professor once who explained that the railway switch that was located just down from this sign is why all of this is here. And then he’d walk you through a few decades of railway history and it made sense. And now the town which grew beside the railroad became a city and then a blue collar town and then it dried up and now it is making a comeback. And that’s about 100 years of history.

Click here to see the other side of the sign and a lot of the locale.