Sites to See
Baldwin County Courthouse
Court House Square, Bay Minette, AL 36507
Although Bay Minette is the most centrally located township in Baldwin County, it was not chosen as the county seat when the county was established. Baldwin County is the third oldest county in the state of Alabama, created on December 21, 1809, ten years before Alabama officially became a state. The first county seat location was at McIntosh Bluff on the Tombigbee River but it was transferred to Blakeley only one year later in 1810. In 1898, the State Legislature decided to move the county seat to Daphne. In 1900 however, the Alabama State legislature officially named Bay Minette the county seat and on October 1, 1901, Bay Minette town leaders officially dedicated a courthouse to town. The city of Daphne resisted its loss of status however and refused to surrender the powers of government.
In order to move the county records to Bay Minette, town leaders devised a scheme to lure the sheriff and his deputy out of Daphne with a false story. While the officers were pursuing the false story, a group of Bay Minette men stealthily traveled the 30 miles to Daphne, stole the Baldwin County Courthouse records and delivered them to the new courthouse in Bay Minette. Thus the town was established as the Baldwin County seat. The original courthouse was renovated twice, once in 1955 and again in 1996.
Bay Minette Civic Center
301 D’Olive Street, Bay Minette, AL 36507
The Center is named for John F. (Rickey) Rhodes, a lifelong resident of Bay Minette who served as the city’s Mayor from 1980 – 2000. Among his accomplishments was saving the Old L & N Depot from demolition in the mid-1980’s and his efforts towards downtown renovation with landscaping that continues to add to the charm of Bay Minette. John and his wife Robin, a retired school teacher, still live in and support Bay Minette.
The newly remodeled John F. Rhodes Civic Center is a 6,000 square foot facility available to rent for most social events. The Civic Center is equipped with a full kitchen, bathrooms, large stage and dance floor.
Bay Minette Library
205 W. 2nd Street, Bay Minette, AL 36507
Director: Joanna M. Bailey
The library is a beautiful historic building which was once a church and has the original stained glass. It houses a wonderful collection of books and audio/visual materials. It also holds an on-going in-house book sale.
Originally constructed as the First Baptist church in 1914-1915, this two story building was purchased by the city and renovated into today’s library from 1995-1997.
Bay Minette Water Tower
301 McMeans Avenue, Bay Minette, AL 36507
This water tank is the first of its kind ever built in 1915; and one of only two concrete water towers built in the United States. It has always been the tallest structure in Bay Minette.
Blackburn Park Fountain & Gazebo
John and Margaret Pimperl moved to the Dyas community just north of Bay Minette in 1921, coming from Chicago. They raised their family here working a farm with a pecan orchard, growing timber and dipping turpentine. Mr. Pimperl owned and operated “G’s Blue Lantern Tavern” on Highway 31 near Phillipsville Road. Their daughter Helen, who was born in 1918, moved back to Chicago as a young lady where she operated a beauty salon, she then came back to Alabama in 1961 and built the Sportsman Bait & Tackle Shop and the Baldwin Motel and Restaurant in Bay Minette. She served many years on the Bay Minette City Council. She funded many projects around Bay Minette, including the gazebo that now stands in Blackburn Park. It was originally built on the courthouse square but was later moved to Blackburn Park to make way for a larger gazebo. There is a plaque that details this information located inside the gazebo. Ms. Pimperl later donated the fountain in memory of her parents. While she never had children of her own, she left many nieces and nephews to honor her memory when she passed in 2008.
The street clock was added to the heart of downtown Bay Minette, just one block off courthouse square in August of 2013. The Compton Clock is at the intersection of South Hand Avenue and 1st Street. The 8-foot tall structure is black with pewter trim and features a 24-inch neon clock face. The tower was funded through donations from various individuals and businesses.
Ghost Fleet Site
This is a sunken site located around the area of the county owned Cliff’s Landing in Bay Minette.
When World War II erupted, German U-boats were sinking American supply ships in the Atlantic faster than they could be built. Between 1939 and 1945 the Nazis torpedoed a total of 2,603 merchant vessels.
In 1941, mass production began on a new class of ship with a standardized design and 250,000 prefabricated parts. Each took 70 days to construct. All were 441 feet long and capable of carrying 9,000 tons of cargo in five holds plus an assortment of vehicles and airplanes lashed to the deck. Traveling along with that cargo was a crew of 44 as well as 12 to 25 naval guards.
Dubbed “Liberty” or “Victory” ships, the first were named for signers of the Declaration of Independence but any private group raising a vessel’s $2 million cost could select their own name. By war’s end, 2,711 had been launched, with many having been constructed at two local shipyards: Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. and Gulf Shipbuilding Corp.
POST WAR PORT
When the war ended, it was decided that the majority of these ships would be stored in preparation for future conflicts. Congressman Frank Boykin convinced the powers in Washington to designate Mobile as one of two Gulf ports for the National Defense Reserve Fleet. A ship channel was dredged between the Mobile and Tensaw rivers where the freshwater was found far less corrosive on ship hulls than that of saltwater locations.
The original 325 ships brought to the site were anchored side by side. Had they been placed in a single line, it would have stretched 27 miles. As many as 800 of these ships came in and out of Mobile, with many called for service in the wars in Korea and Vietnam, as well as humanitarian efforts such as the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
In the 1950s, the Tensaw Shipyard, with its welding and machine shops, employed as many as 347 men. They were charged with “mothballing” the ships and keeping machinery in working order. Each vessel was to be ready for service should a need arise.
FROM GHOST FLEET TO REEFS
The U.S. Maritime Administration ordered the phasing out of Mobile’s Reserve Fleet in 1970 when the ships in the Tensaw numbered 101, with 42 caretakers on the payroll. The majority of the ships were then moved to Beaumont, Texas, where those deemed capable of being modernized were renovated. The remainder were cleaned and sold for scrap.
In April of 1973, the last 15 ships in the Tensaw were dismantled and towed out into the Gulf where they were sunk to create artificial reefs off the coasts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
Fishermen in the Tensaw once flocked around the hulls of the “Ghost Fleet.” Today a new generation is enjoying the fishing around many of those hulls out in the Gulf.
This information is courtesy of: https://www.mobilebaymag.com/Mobile-Bay/August-2014/Ask-McGehee/.
Coastal Alabama Community College (formerly known as, Faulkner State Community College)
1900 U.S. 31, Bay Minette, AL 36507
The home of The Eagles, Sun Chiefs, and Warhawks. On three beautiful campuses in Bay Minette, Fairhope, and Gulf Shores, Faulkner State offers today’s most innovative and in-demand academic and career programs with Alabama’s lowest tuition. Coastal Alabama also takes pride in offering active and vibrant student life programs, exciting and competitive intercollegiate and intramural athletics, and the kind of personal attention most college students only dream about.
The Making of Coastal Alabama Community College:
After 13 months of preparation, the consolidation efforts to combine Alabama Southern Community College, Faulkner State Community College and Jefferson Davis Community College have now come to fruition.
On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission On Colleges (SACSCOC) voted to approve the consolidation of the three institutions. Then, the Alabama Community Collège System Board of trustees unanimously signed on the final line to move forward with the development of the new Coastal Alabama Community College in mid December.
On January 11, the countless hours of planning and preparation from all employees was put into effect.
“We each have been around for more than 50 years, ” Dr. Gary Branch, President of Coastal Alabama Community College, said. “This is not a new mission for our colleges however, it is a new beginning for Coastal Alabama Community College.”
Please visit www.coastalalabama.edu for more information.
400 West 2nd Street , Bay Minette, AL 36507
This historic turn of the century house is located in downtown Bay Minette serves as an event space for weddings, receptions, birthday parties, showers and other intimate gatherings.
Currently, the house is operated by WaterOak Hospitality.
L & N Rail Road Station
Chamber of Commerce Office – 301 McMeans Avenue , Bay Minette, AL 36507
In 1904 L & N constructed a new Depot in Bay Minette called “The Union” because it was built at the juncture of the Ft. Morgan Railroad line with the main railroad line. By 1908 Bay Minette was booming with 1,200 residents and in 1912 The Newport Mining Company located here greatly boosting the economy.
Abandoned by the railroad in 1985, this building once served as the social hub of Bay Minette. During the early and mid-20th Century, it was from this building that the telegraph office would keep businesses and residents informed of news and events such as when the county courthouse moved to Bay Minette.
Relocated in 1987, it was restored and serves as the office of the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. Over two years of community interest and fundraising went into completing this project to include businesses, individuals and children with such notable contributors as, then Governor George Wallace. This historic building served as a backdrop for the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” More recently, Seaboard Systems Railroad donated the SCL & N Caboose #114 to the City of Bay Minette, which was quickly refurbished and moved on site at a later date.
Mural: Removal of the County Seat
Post Office – 601 McMeans Avenue , Bay Minette, AL 36507
“Removal of the County from Daphne to Bay Minette” by Hilton Leech in 1939. It was restored and moved to the current post office building in 1987. Refer to the Baldwin County Courthouse (At top of page) for a brief history in this listing.
For more information, here’s an interesting article written January 15, 2016
22100 County Road 47, Perdido, AL 36562
You are invited to visit Perdido Vineyards, located at exit 45 of I-65. They are open 10:00an until 5:00 pm daily for free tours and tastings. In addition to wines, you can learn and taste gourmet wine vinegars to compliment your culinary delights. No appointments are required but if you have a large group, please call 251-937-9463.
Red Hill Spring
Longitude: 087° 49.966
Latitude: 31° 05.657
Located alongside of Highway 59 in Latham, Alabama you’ll find a quaint artesian well producing 2,400 gallons of water per hour.
This is a natural spring that has been capped and provided with a discharge pipe to make it easier for people to fill their jugs.
This is open to the public and there is no fee. Parking is provided.
Look for the Red Hill Spring geocache (GCH591) while you are here.
This is a 5th Magnitude spring.
Tucked quaintly between buildings on South Hoyle Avenue, the Rex Courtyard features a beautiful, lush surrounding. The park is named for the old Rex Theater that was once located in this very spot. The Courtyard is a beautiful setting for weddings and receptions and is an ideal location to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.
The courtyard is open to the public. Parking provided. No restrooms on premises.
To reserve the park for a special occasion, please contact the City of Bay Minette.
Stockton Heritage Museum
52915 Highway 59, P.O. Box 114, Stockton, Alabama 36579
251-937-2412 or 251-604-4666
Sundays 12:30pm – 3:00pm
Wednesdays 11:00am – 2:00pm
The Museum is open the 3rd Sunday of each month 3:00pm – 5:00pm for special programs and exhibits.
Museum will be open anytime by appointment, call 251-937-2412 or 251-604-4666.
Brief History of the Museum Building
The building was erected in 1894, by Fredrick S. Bryars and is one of the earliest remaining mercantile stores in Stockton and North Baldwin County. It also served as the Stockton post office from 1894 until late in 1918 with three different post-masters: Fred Bryars; his wife, Lucy (McMillan) Bryars; and their nephew, Dugald Crosby, Sr., who purchase the business in 1912; and served as postmaster from 1913 to 1918. Crosby changed the name of the store from “The Fred Bryars Place”, to the name of “D. Crosby Mercantile Co.”
In 1918, Y. A. Cox, Sr. and P. A. Bryant assumed operation of the business with Dugald Crosby, Sr. retaining ownership of the building and the property. Another new sign went up on the store front, “Bryant and Cox Mercantile”, and a new post office building was built across the road from the store. Bryant later left the business. Y. A. “Joby” Cox operated the store for 52 years, closing its doors in 1971.
The building remained vacant until 1975 when the Stockton Five Arts Club got permission from the Crosby family to refurbish the old structure. It then assumed the name of the “Stockton Town Hall.” It was used by the Stockton Double H. Club for several years, and later by the Stockton Civic Club until they built a new civic building in 2009.
In October 2011, the family of John Dugald Crosby graciously deeded ownership of the building and the land to the Stockton Heritage Association, Inc. for use as the Stockton Heritage Museum.
The association started “Stockton Sawmill Days” in 2013 to raise funds to restore the building for a museum. This festival is held the first weekend in November, and the entire community takes part in putting on the event.
Stockton Heritage Museum Mission Statement
“The Stockton Heritage Museum exists to showcase the relationship of the people, past, present, and future, to the land and events that shaped the course of Stockton’s unique history, heritage, and culture. Our mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and promote the historical and cultural artifacts from this North Baldwin community. We are committed to exhibitions and programs that will strengthen our community, honor the generations of the past, and connect present and future generations to their heritage.”
Wind Creek Casino
303 Poarch Road, Atmore, Al 36502
Immerse yourself in total luxury at Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Atmore. There’s no end to the excitement and amenities offered by their AAA Four-Diamond resort. The posh hotel features the finest accommodations and services, including 24-hour room service and a wide variety of dining options.
The FIRE Steakhouse has been voted the best steakhouse in Alabama!
Go see why, or kick back and relax in their astounding spa or hone your cooking skills in their culinary school. Catch a live show at the Amphitheater or one of the latest movies in their state-of-the-art digital cinema.
For gaming, check out their bowling alley and arcade, located at “Family Fun at Wind Creek.” The casino features some of today’s hottest games!
Wind Creek Atmore has something fun for everyone!
Our Focus is Your Business