By Fran Thompson
Orange Beach continued to honor its impressive historical heritage by recently unveiling a marker in front of the city’s municipal complex on Orange Beach Blvd. The marker honors the city’s history as part of its participation in Alabama’s upcoming bicentennial celebration, ALABAMA 200.
A historial marker at Perdido Pass honoring the city’s fishing heritage and the Callaway and Walker families was unveiled at Seawall Park at Alabama Point last winter, and a second marker was placed in front of the Original Romar House Bed & Breakfast in the fall.
The city has also placed markers at Bear Point Cemetery (paid for by the OBFD) and the Coastal Art Center, site of the original Orange Beach Hotel (paid for by the State).
Historical markers, paid for by the City of Orange Beach, are also planned for the Caswell neighborhood on Bay Circle and a yet to be determined site on West Canal Rd.
Margaret Childress-Long, a member of the Baldwin County Historic Development Commission and the city’s official historian, is spearheading the initiative and is writing the copy for each of the markers. T
he two sided markers commissioned by the city weigh 182 pounds and were made by Corey Swindle, owner of the Fairhope Foundry in Fairhope.
The marker in front of city hall details the incorporation of the City of Orange Beach and the community-changing property donation made by John M. Snook and his wife Marjorie.
Jonie Joiner, a City of Orange Beach employee, represented the Snook family at the ceremony.
The marker details the Snook family’s introduction of the nation’s first wireless telephone service, the building boom following Hurricane Fredric and the city’s incorporation in 1984. Remnants of the original wireless telephone tower were visible directly across Orange Beach Blvd. from the marker.
During the dedication, Childress-Long thanked the Mayor and City Council for funding the historical markers.
“They are going to be here for a long time,” Childress-Long said at the conclusion of the unveiling.
Childress-Long also thanked fellow members of the Baldwin County Historic Development Commission for supporting an effort that will eventualy result in 84 historical markers throughout Baldwin County by 2019.
According to the official website, ALABAMA 200 is “the state’s official bicentennial commemoration and will consider a rich and complex history made every day by people like us. Whether they lived here for centuries or came from far away, Alabamians made this land of natural beauty and diversity, innovation and change, challenge and resilience, their home. Their stories embrace some of the most significant moments in national and world history. Between January 2017 and December 2019, Alabamians all over the state and beyond will create and take part in educational and enriching opportunities to discover, explore, preserve, and share those stories.”
For more info about ALABAMA200, visit alabama200.org. For more info on Orange Beach’s historical marker or the unveiling ceremony, email manderson@orangebeachal. gov or call 251-597-2982.
Pictured: (top) Jonie Joiner of the Snook family unveils the historical marker in front of the Orange Beach City Complex; Local historian Margaret Childress Long, reads the copy that she wrote for the signage; (below) City Council members Joni Blalock and Annette Mitchell and O.B. Mayor Tony Kennon observe the ceremony.