exisitng historical references!


It is the intent of this part of the historical section of the website to exhibit previously written and sometimes contadictory information about the history of Loxley.

List of Articles

Article 1: Taken from http://www.loxleyalabama.com/local/cityinfo.html

John Loxley came to this area at the turn of the century (1900) to establish a lumber camp that included a commissary and a sawmill. A large number of men came with him, then stayed to settle and marry here. John Loxley is considered the founder of Loxley. There was a small village named Bennet here when Mr. Loxley arrived.

In 1920 the businesses in Loxley were an egg store, grocery store, two general merchandise stores, a train depot, drug store, telegraph office, land office, repair garage, post office, bank, hotel, butcher shop, orange packing shed, cement block plant, a blacksmith, a feed and lumber store. The main road was Highway 90; it was not paved then. Walter "Pop" Hammond had a grocery in the George Marinos building.

The only church in town was the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church having blown down in the 1916 hurricane. Everyone went to the Methodist Church. The Episcopal Church was considered "out in the woods" as it was located northwest of town.

The railroad was first opened on May 5, 1906. The only roads were the wagon roads to Bay Minette. The railroad was called the Fort Morgan Line, as it originally intended to go that far.

The present post office was officially opened in 1906 by Octavia Sauer. She was the official postmistress and depot agent combined.

The grammar school was built in 1925.

After the timber had been cut Mr. Loxley returned to Chicago. Real estate men tried to sell the land for $.25 an acre, but people declined rather than pay taxes on it.

The Town of Loxley incorporated in March, 1957.

In the 1870's Fred Loxley moved his sawmill operation from Michigan and set up of what we now term Loxley. There were many mills In the area of South Baldwin and the entire area of Baldwin. By 1900 when the L & N Railroad come through much of the area had been cutover and Baldwin had its start as farm land and a prosperous farming community at this time. Loxley today Is surrounded by beautiful grazing cattle land, pecan groves and forming. Like all of our communities It started with the simple cabins and grew into the fine comfortable self-sufficient farmsteads such as the Bill house.

Editor's Note: Notice the inconsistency between the first paragraph and the last. The first paragraph suggests that Mr. John Loxley was the founder (most established concept). The last paragraph suggests that a Mr. Fred Loxley was the founder of the town a full 30 years prior to Mr. John Loxley coming to the area. In actuality, Fred was John Loxley's son, who ran the regional lumber business his father built. This is an example of the types of erroneous information we hope to correct during this project.


Article 2: Taken from "The Onlooker," Thursday, January 15, 1970

Loxley Resident Tells of many changes over the past 50 years.

by Kathy Holly

Sunday, January 18, marks the 50th anniversary of the first day Virgil E. Bodle saw Baldwin County. He came by train from an orphanage in Birmingham having spent his first night in the county at Bay Minette.

He lived with the Mark West family for one year and then was adopted by Esther and Issac Bodle. Just two weeks shy of being seven years old at the time he came to Loxley and says he remembers the town pretty well. We asked him to describe Loxley as it was 50 years ago:

"There were 18 businesses, one church in town and one way out in the woods. It is hard to remove from our minds all the buildings that stand today, but if you will picture nothing but trees you will get a good picture of Loxley in 1920. Now for the 'old timers' a little trip back to Loxley (the 1920 Loxley, that is)."

"In Loxley there was an egg store, grocery store, two general merchandise stores, a train depot, drug store, telegraph office, land office, repair garage, post office, bank, hotel, butcher shop, orange packing shed, cement block plant, a blacksmith, a feed and lumber store. The main road is dirt road 90."

"Walter 'Pop' Hammond had a grocery store where the George Martinos store(Old Dietrich store) now stands. There was an egg store where the plumber is now next to the Marino's store. Howard Fuller's father ran it. Beverly Saxe's great-uncle, John Saxe, was the druggist. The drug store was where the vacant lot is between Jake Jacobs store and the Dobbins' store. The telegraph office is still located in the same place. Jake Griffin owned tthe two-story building next to the laundry mat. He had a land office upstairs and his son, Fred, had a repair garage below. Somewhere between there and the L&N Depot, Percy Hall had a general merchandise store. He was also in charrge of the post office which was located in his store."

"The bank was a triangular building south-west, across from the depot, and east of Jake Jacobs hotel which was then Nanny Stapleton's. The Webers owned a store where Jacob's store is now. Rex D'Olive Sr. had a butcher shop (the Boy Scout Hut) next to his residence (Where Saidye D'Olive lives). The orange packing shed was by the railroad track just north the D'Olive Store ( across from the firehouse). There was a Cement Block Plant owned by Dean Comstock located where the firehouse and water tower now stand. Just down the road to the south-west of the band was Henry Abiless's house and just down from him was a creamery."

"The creamery was way out in the woods across the road and north of the Ivy house which is where the Charles Havels live. The Anderson's blacksmith shop was right behind where Walter Havel's Dry Goods Store is now. Across the street to the west was the Kiddwell house (Gladis Peterson's old house back of the drug store). Behind the Kiddwell House was the Kiddwell Feed and Lumber Store. (That's the white building back of the Lion's Park)."

"The only church in town was the Methodist Church. The Baptist Church had burned down and everyone went to the Methodist. It stood where the new one stands today. There was one other church but it was out in the woods. That was the Episcopal Church located north-west of town."

"Dick Levins, the depot agent, lived where Jumbo Grimes now lives. Ernest Weber lived where the Charles Barnhills live now. Ernest Weber's parents lived where Mrs. Hall and Wayne now live in the old Fuqua house. Beulah Griffin was an Adams and they lived in a two-story building (which is still standing) across from the Bertolla office by the sheds. If you could have looked across "dirt road 90" from the school house (which was located about 100 feet behind the present one; near the railroad tressle) 50 years ago and been able to see past the trees, you would have seen the Peterson house, the Marhler home, the Episcopal Church and the Lacey home. South of there was the Fuller home located where Bill Dunnams now live. Standing in front of school facing south, you would have seen three houses ... the Duel home (where the Peck Smiths live); the John Saxe home (where Jerry and Janice Bonner live); and across the street, the Eppersons (where Arthur and Beverly Saxe lived and Presley Dyess now lives. The Henry Middletons (Dora Belle Steele's parents lived between the orange packing shed and the D'Olives. Dr. Jones lived in the Bill Bohnhoff house. Mr. Taube lived in the two-story house (Martin's Hotel) across from Exa Lou Barnhill's. Carl Schlich, Sr. lived out where the Holley farm is now located. He was a banker but can't remember if he was the banker when the bank was by the depot or after when it was located where the town hall is now."

"The first car ride I ever had was with Wesley Wydell who lived where Edna Marshall lives now They crossed the train track seven times going to Bay Minette."

Bodle said there were two civil war veterans living in Loxley that he knew of, that is. One was Col. Richardson (who has a story of his own) and Mr. Cheney who lived in a little house back of the bank. Mr. Cheney always met every train that came into Loxley. His first teacher was Mrs. Arthur Saxe. Little did he know that cold morning in 1920 that right down the track from where he would get off the train in Loxley lived "the girl of his dreams" ... that white haired Van Bendegom who lived five miles away.


Note: Many of the references no longer exist. One has to remember that this article was written in 1970 and many of the locations and references no longer exists. Also note that Kathy Holly was a daughter of Virgil Bodle.


A little History

A Bit of History

During World War II, Loxley was a satellite prison camp for the influx of German, Nazi, and Italian soldiers captured by American Troops. There were so many Germans captured and brought here that camps were put all over the country to house these POWs. The fall of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge saw many younger soldiers in the camps. The Loxley camp was primarily one used to work the POWs in the woodlands and sawmills. These prisoners of war were officially assigned to Camp Shelby, MS. I know many of the people who lived in town during the 1940s who remember the prisoners. If there is anyone out with any historic pictures of this and others things of local interest, I would like to put up a historical photograph section. Contact Joey Knight at the Town of Loxley Civic Center at 251-964-7733.

List of Alabama POW Camps  

Major Base Camps: Aliceville, Fort McClellan, Opelika, Fort Rucker 

Satellite Branch Camps: Abbeville, Andalusia, Chatom, Clanton, Clio, Dothan, Elba, Evergreen, Foley, Geneva, Greenville, Huntsville, Jackson, Loxley, Luverne, Montgomery, Oneonta, Northington General Hospital [Tuscaloosa], Sibert, Troy


Article 3: Taken from a map. Date: 1997

John Loxley came to this area at the turn of the century (1900) to establish a lumbercamp that included a commisary and a sawmill. A large number of men came with him, then stayed to settle and marry here. John Loxley is considered the founder of Loxley. There was a small village named Bennet here when Mr. Loxley arrived.

In 1920 the businesses in Loxley were an egg store, grocery store, two general merchandise stores, a train depot, drug store, telegraph office, land office, repair garage, post office, bank, hotel, butcher shop, orange packing shed, cement block plant, a blacksmith, a feed and lumber store. The main road was Highway 90; it was not paved then. Walter "Pop" Hammond had a grocery in the George Marinos building.

The only church in town was the Methodist Church. The Baptist Church had burned down and everyone went to the Methodist. It stood where the new one stands today. There was one other church but it was out in the woods. That was the Episcopal Church located north-west of town.

The railroad first opened on May 5, 1906. The only roads were the wagon roads to Bay Minette. The railroad was called the Fort Morgan Line, as it originally intended to go that far.

The present post office was officially opened in 1906 by Octavia Sauer. She was the official postmistress and depot agent combined.

The grammar school was built in 1925.

After the timber had been cut, Mr Loxley returned to Chicago. Real estate men tried to sell the land for $0.25 an acre,but people declined rather than pay taxes on it.

The town incorporated in March 1957.

...the article goes on to list the politicians that were present at the writing of this article.

Current officials are: Mayor - Billy Middleton, Clerk - Carol Middleton, Supt. of Utilities - James E. Wilson, Police Chief - Ed Vaughn, Librarian - Ann Kuklo, Councilmen - Richard Teal, Barbara Black-Owen, Lloyd Keuler, Katherine Breeden, Frela Wojciechowski; Clubs: Garden Club President - Barbara Bozeman, Optimist - Bill Waite.


Historical Information about John Loxley (by one of the daughters of Leonore).

John Edward Loxley was born in London, Ontario, Canada on February 25, 1841. He moved to Michigan as a young man and on December 21, 1863 married Mary Jeanette Cameron in Saginaw, Michigan. Mary was born on April 7, 1843 in East Pembroke, New York. They had three children: Fred, born January 18, 1871; Leonore born April 21, 1872; and Ted born December 27, 1879.

Army records show that Mr. Loxley was enrolled on December 15, 1863 and mustered into service on December 24 as a second class private, Company L, First Regiment Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. He was wounded in battle and honorably dischared as a first class private, July 3, 1865 at Harper U. S. General Hospital, Detroit, Michigan on a surgeons certificate of disability. By virtue of this service in the Civil War he became a U. S. Citizen.

Upon discharge he entered the lumber business where, at one point, he had charge of all the horses used by his company in operation. His love of horses and horse trading endured throughout his life. One early memory is of rides in his buggy drawn by "Dandy" an animal that in his youth was a racehorse and who on occasion would revert to those younger days rounding into the stretch going flat out with my grandfather straining to regain control.

Virgin timber was rapidly disappearing from Michigan and around 1880 he was given a contract by the Bradley Ramsey Lumber Company to start lumbering operations in the virtually untouched pine forests of the South. Eventually, his operations at various times covered Western Florida, Alabama, and as far west as Texas. A number of factors, not the least of which was the mild climate, made the contract a very lucrative one and he was soon able to start his own business. His operation was fully integrated, for addtion to cutting trees, he also owned his own sawmills and built reailroads to move the logs from one state to another.

During one period he was operating in South Western Alabama and constructed a line from Mobile Bay to the logging operation. This was around 1990 - 1995. The railroad was mostly one track but included a siding in order that eastbound and westbound trains could pass. Eventually, some of the business came into being in this area and became the Town of Loxley. "J. E." as he was known by his employees was loved and respected by all who knew him. He was a kind and generous man with a great sense of humor and was a truly fine gentleman.

Leonore Loxley eventually moved to Oregon where she married and upon his retirement was joined by her father and mother. Mary Loxley died in Hillsborough, Oregon on May 14, 1916 and John Loxley at the same place July 28, 1919.


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Businessman's Gift: $400,000 Civic Center

Anonymous benefactor is funding 7,800 square foot building near Alabama 59 and US 90

By J. Pepper Bryars - Staff Reporter

LOXLEY - A businessman with ties to the Baldwin County farming industry decided last spring to pay for all of Loxley's new $400,000 civic center set to open in late February, town records show.

But there is nobody to personally thank for the generous deed because the humble donor has asked to remain anonymous, said Loxley Mayor Billy Middleton.

"They did it out of the kindness and goodness of their heart," he said, adding that the new building "is going to be gorgeous."

The 7,800 square-foot civic center is being built on the site of Loxley's new 40 acre recreation park west of Alabama 59 and just south of US 90.

Construction on the yet-un-named civic center began about two months ago, Middleton said. It has a stage, two dressing rooms, two restrooms, a kitchen, meeting rooms and a large banquet hall with enough space for 200 people at tables or 500 people in an audience setting, he added.

"We designed it for everybody, but we'll have planned activities for kids, especially during summer months and after school," he said, adding that most senior citizen and youth programs will be free.

Although the center is being privately funded, Middleton explained that Loxley holds the deed to the building and owes nothing but gratitude to their generous benefactor.

The mayor wouldn't say how much the civic center costs or who was building the facility. However, town records indicate that general contractor Adrian L. Johnson of Fairhope, is building the facility for $380,000. In addition, James H. Clarke of Daphne, the architect who designed the facility, said that figure should climb to about $400,000 before the job's completed. He also added that in recent years the anonymous benefactor has funded several other similar projects throughout Baldwin County.

Middleton said the public will be able to rent the center for birthday parties, wedding receptions, and meetings but that people should call the town hall at 964-5162 if they have other suggestions.

"We're already getting requests for next summer's family reunions," Middleton said.

Town officials will meet in the coming weeks to create and appoint members to a Parks and Recreation Board that will oversee the new park and civic center.

Among other duties, Middleton said that the board will set rental fees for the building while one full-time city employee will run the park from an office inside the center.

The number of positions of the new board and the park supervisor's salary haven't been decided, Middleton said.

Bobby McClure, a project manager with Goddwyn, Mills and Cawood, the Montgomery based architectural and engineering firm hired to design the unnamed recreation park, said it's currently expected to cost around $750,000.

"It could easily go over $1 million before we're finished," McClure said Wednesday, adding that the park should be ready for batting practice some time early next year.

The first phase of the park project, which began in February, includes three baseball fields, a concession stand, press and score boxes and the 200-car parking lot, McClure added.

Once that phase is complete, tennis courts, a playground and a walking trail will be added as funds become available, pushing the cost to around $1 million, he said.

Loxley secured the initial funds through a construction loan from a local bank, but will pay that loan off with an impending bond issue, Loxley Councilman Richard L. Teal said Wednesday. The amount and length of the issue haven't been decided he added.

"Loxley's never had a field of their own," Middleton said. Currently, both youth and adult teams are forced to use two fields at Loxley Elementary School.

The new ball fields will also be equipped with an adjustable outfield so that little-leaguers and their parents can play in the same park.

-------------------- NOTE---------------------

Most of the citizens of Loxley now know that Lawrence Schmieding of Schmieding Prduce in Loxley, AL and Springdale, Arkansas used his foundation, The Schmieding Foundation, to fund the civic center project. To this day the park and civic center are vital recreational areas for the Town of Loxley and surrounding communities.

The above article had no date but officially the building was dedicated in June 1999. This article was either published in the Mobile Press Register Baldwin Edition or the Baldwin Times around February 1998. There is another article written by Bruce Sims who was a staff writer and editor of the Independent that might suggest that this article appeared in the Mobile Press Register.

A TRIP BACK: Writer reviews Loxley's birth
Reprinted from The Independent, Wednesday, November 10, 1982

Editor's Note: Nancy Jack, a free-lance writer who splits her residence between Loxley and California, recently researched the history of Loxley. The result was an article on the town's establishment and highlights of its development through the years. She has given her work to the Town of Loxley, and visitors to the town and local students now have quick access to a brief account of Loxley's past. The article is being reprinted in two parts in the Independent.

The first signs of commerce in the Loxley area seem to have been on well traveled roadways, north and south.

Just to the south of our present day town, the famous "Old Spanish Trail" has run from the days of foot traffic and horseback riders to today's speeding cars and trucks along Highway 64, that same trail.

To the north, form the early 1800s was a large stage coach line which traversed a "corduroy road," a log and mud road built by man and maintained mostly by nature. This surprisingly smooth highway was also later known as the "Wired Road" as it followed the first telegraph line from Pensacola to Blakely to Mobile.

In the late 1890s, the small village of Benet (sp.), in Central Baldwin County, saw the arrival of John Loxley and a large group of men from Michigan. Mr. Loxley built a camp for his crew and a sawmill approximately four miles north of the village He also established a small gaufe railroad to haul his cut timber.

His men created commerce in the area and the tiny town began to grow. After completing his task of cutting and processing the local timber, Mr. Loxley returned to his home state but most of his crew remained to marry and settle here. Others moved into the area, attracted by its thriving nature. Thus began the town of Loxley.

The Loxley residents of the first decade of this century did not have an easy task when it came to family shopping. A trip to the grocery store consisted of: first a wagon ride over the "Spanish Trail" to Daphne 11 miles away, a layover at the hotel there, then a ferry boat ride to Mobile. There, the purchases were in quantity: 10, 25, amd 50 pound bags of coffee, sugar, meal, etc. for a lengthy period of use. All were loaded aboard the ferry for a return trup to Daphne, to wagon, to home again. Dry goods, shoes and such were purchased south of Loxley in Silverhill at the People's Supply Store, which is still in business.

In the very earliest days of this century, a man named R. M. Mahler began his influence of our budding community. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad had made its plans to lay tracks through Loxley, but in which direction? This became a matter of controversy.

Mr. Mahler had made plans for the railroad. He had gathered a sizable amount of acreage northwest of town where he established the first hotel, donated land for public use, and had built his own home there. He had then laid out the streets, one of which bares his name, backwards, spelling out Relham Street. His intention was to lay out the route the railroad would take as well, right past his estate and hotel.

There were two other men in th area of considerable influence who had other ideas, Mr. Hammond and Mr. Roberts. Their intention was to have the tracks run more north and south from Loxley to Robertsdale. The matter was settled when these two men offered every other section of land along their chosen route to the railroad.

One fellow near Robertsdale did not care for the outcome and tried to prevent progress from crossing his farm land. He nor his shotgun were able to succeed against the tracks, engines and money.

An so, in 1905, the first commercial railroad began its passage through Loxley. It was known at that time as the Fort Morgan Line as a sign of unfulfilled intention. The line never succeeded in running as far south as Fort Morgan.

By the 1920s, the line was in lively use, even by high school students who, having no local classes in the higher grades to attend, rode the train daily to Bay Minette school. It was then known as the Pine Knot Special.

Every few miles the train would stop long enough for the workers and passengers alike to step down and gather pine knots for stoking the engines. The L&N built the first packing and loading shed in Loxley. Many followed.

The railroad made possible a lively farm industry in the area for a number of years. Around 1965, a fire broke out in the vicinity of the depot, and sheds. Most of those well-used structures burned down, precipitationg the end of the railroad era, the beginning of trucking as a major local industry.

The several means of livlihood in those early years included employment at the Barnhill Turpentine Still, Dean Comstock's cement block plant, and the creamery. Stapleton's boarding house, the post office, a saloon and several stores made up the commerce.

The first drug store was established by Mr. John Saxe, husband of another local pioneer, the first school teacher. In 1910, Mrs. Saxe began the education of Loxley children. She started with an educational system that consisted of a one-room building and has moved forward to include a fine brick elementary school and a modern junior high.

The first school was replaced by a three room building on the west side of Highway 90. This was later moved across the road and, when too crowded, an enterprising teacher made use of an old packing shed as a spare classroom. The present elementary school is built on the site of the last three room structure.

That same shed that so well served the requirements of education had once played another important role in our community. In the 1920s, two crops enjoyed great prosperity. Oranges and satsumas were a major part of Loxley agriculture from 1920 until around 1927. The trees grew and produced bountifully during what must have been a weather cycle that has yet to return.

Other businesses at that time included an egg store, telegraph office, repair garage, blacksmith and land office. Highway 90 was not yet paved but was well used by wagon and automobile alike.

Webmaster's Note: Many of the details of this article have changed. For instance, the Baldwin newspapers of the time spelled Benet, "Bennitt." John Loxley left his son, Fred, in charge of the logging industry. Fred lived in Daphne. The article says that John Loxley moved back to Chicago. He, and his wife, however, lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana until 1911. The Loxley Elementary School referenced in the article has once again moved to a new structure built where the junior high school was located. The addition of several classrooms and activity rooms makes the building a state of the art educational facility.


LOXLEY: "The Heart of Baldwin County"

Below is an image of an advertisement that was used by the Loxley Commercial Club and printed in The Advocate of Greenville, AL. A similar brochure was used and sent all over the country. Since it advertises satsumas and oranges, it is believed this advertisement/brochure was used during the 1920s when the satsuma and orange businesses were at their height. Notice the information the authors of this advertisement/brochure used to try to draw people into the area.

Select the above image for a larger version.
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An Entire Lifetime of Loxley Memories

From horse-drawn carriages to 50-cent-an-acre homesteads, Ada Ellison has witnessed many changes in Baldwin County.

by: Bob Morgan - Staff Writer - The Onlooker - Saturday, September 5, 1998







Ada Ellison recalls nearly a century in Loxley, which was once known as Bennett.

LOXLEY - From the Old Spanish Trail that wound its way from Mobile to Pensacola, to the stagecoach stop that served travel-weary settlers journeying to and from nearby Blakely, the town of Loxley has served as an important crossroads since colonial times.

Today, as motorists pass through the municipaliity along Alabama Highway 59, to its juncture with Interstate 10 and beyond, many will find it hard to believe that "downtown" once ran in an east-west direction along Relham Drive, rather than the north-south direction of today's four lane.

"There's a lot of history to be found in this area," said Ada Ellison, 93, who was born on May 5, 1905, the same day the railroad from Bay Minette to Loxley was completed.

Ellison said in the early years the hamlet, that would grow to become incorporated as Loxley in 1957, was once known as Bennitt.

"That was before the Loxley family set up a sawmill near where D'Olive Cemetery is today and people began to refer to the area by that name," she said. "In those days three sawmills were located near here."

Despite the sounds emanating from the local sawmills, Ellison said things were so quiet that local farmers could often hear the sound of ship's whistles and horns from Mobile Bay, 10 to 12 miles away.

Prior to the construction of a one room schoolhouse around 1908 near the now-abandoned St. Alban's Episcopal Church, the first church to be built in Loxley around 1914, children were oftened tutored at home.

"Rex D'Olive was the first baby to be baptized at St. Alban's," she said. "The Baptist Church was built in 1916, but it was flattened by the hurricane of that year. It was later rebuilt."

A three-teacher school, that ran through the 10th grade, was constructed in 1911, said Ellison, with the old brick school, that houses a number of the Baldwin County School System's admisistrative offices today, being built between 1925-27.

"When I grew older I had to catch the Pine Knot Special, that's what they called the train then, and ride for an hour to Bay Minetee in order to attend hight school," Ellison said. "I still have a book of tickets around here someplace that I used to ride the train."

"It didn't do to get sick back then," she said, "as it might take the doctor three days to get to your house, riding on his horse and buggy."

Land,however, was dirt cheap by today's standards, she said, often going for 50-cents an acre for 100-acre homestead plots.

Families had gardens and grew their own livestock in order to have food, she said, and horses and oxen were used to till the ground for crops.

"Things like coffee, sugar, rice, salt and flour were bought once or twice a year by taking the boat from Daphne to Mobile and buying these items by the barrel," she said. "When I was a child I sometimes got to ride in the wagon down to People's Supply store in Silverhill to buy other things.

An early Loxley Elementary class Photo

Ellison said Loxley's first general merchandise store was owned by the Davidson family, and later by M. B. Dewey, Walter Hammond, and George Marenio (Marenos).

Occasionally, hogs and cattle would be slaughtered and the meat passed around to various friends and neighbors, Ellison said.

"That was before the days of refrigeration," she said. "So when a neighbor would slaughter a cow or pig they would share with our family as well. Loxley use to be where the annual roundup would be held where cows would be branded."

For entertainment, Ellison said there was an amazing number of books in the community that could be borrowed and lent out, plus there were always plenty of school activities such as plays and dances.

"My daddy would hunt quail and dove for us to eat," she said. "I remember that I hated having to pluck feathers from the doves. Quail wasn't so bad because you could skin them."

Children did a lot of exploring in their spare time, and Ellison well remembers the reaction her mother had when her 10-year old brother killed an alligator near the present-day location of the Loxley Post Office.

"She about had a fit," she said.

The old town hall, once located where Regions bank is today, served as both a movied theater and a skating rink at one time.

"Amazingly enough there weren't that many house fires back then," she said. "With everyone having to cook by a wood burning stove, and having to heat their houses that way it's a miracle."

The railroad depot was a social hub of sorts for those coming to town to get their mail, to arrange the shipment of crops and so forth.

"There use to be a lot of satsuma orchards around here," she said, "and local farmers would ship carload after carload of satsumas north during the harvest, but the freeze in 1924 wiped them out."

In 1945 Flowerwood Nursery began shipping a lot its small shrubbery orders by train, she said.

A hotel near the railroad depot, served the sleeping needs of all the "drummers," as traveling salesmen were called.

During the years of World War II, Loxley was home to several hundred German prisoners of war.

"The POW camp was located about a half mile north of I-10 in that open field on the left," she said. "I remember seeing prisoners being taken to work on local farms and produce sheds because most of our local boys were in the service."

Ellison's husband, Roy, served as the town's postmaster for 30 years before retiring in 1967.

"In the early years of the town we would receive mail by the Pony Express from Daphne, and by the railroad," she said. "Up near where I-10 is today there was even a mail stop called Peadro."

Ellison said she believes that the generation of today will see even more changes.

"I love Loxley," she said. "It has been a great place to live and raise a family."

Note: There is some question about the first church in Loxley. Most people consider the Methodist Church the first church built. It is said it was built in 1906 and served as the combined church, especially until the Baptist church was rebuilt. Also, there is a corner stone on the old brick elementary school that lists 1937 as the date of construction. Finally, records indicate that the freeze that ruined the citrus industry in the area occurred in 1927, not 1924. Additional research will be carried out to clarify these discrepancies.



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