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By John Underwood / firstname.lastname@example.org
LOXLEY, Alabama — The town of Loxley celebrated its founders with a day full of events on Saturday, November 9.
The day began with the dedication of two historic markers on Alabama 59, one commemorating the founding of the town located at Loxley Municipal Park; while the other, located north of Interstate 10, commemorating the Loxley POW Camp.
Officials with the town, Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County Historic Development Commission, attended the dedications. The POW Camp dedication also included veterans from the town.
The ceremonies were followed by a program at the Loxley Civic Center, which featured a slide-show presentation, several booths and displays featuring Loxley’s history, the AL200 Quilt and Ruth Elder of Troy University with the Wade Hall Postcard Exhibit.
“Those who know me know how hard this is for me to say, but ‘Roll Tide!’ That’s for Billy Middleton (longtime Loxley mayor who died in May), my mentor and friend,” said Mayor Richard Teal. “He would have loved all of this and I don’t want anybody to forget that.”
Also on hand with a display was Arthur Carlson, a Baldwin County native and Robertsdale resident who was a member of President John F. Kennedy’s security detail.
There was also book signings from local authors Mike Bunn, T. Jensen Lacey, Glenn Willis, Jeanette Dyas Ryan and Ashton Wilson, live music from Jimmy Lee Hannaford; a children’s village featuring face painting, Alabama coloring pages, games and book reading by Ashton Wilson.
The Loxley Volunteer Fire Department also provided free hamburgers and hot dogs, along with food trucks from Buster’s BBQ, Kona Ice, Salty Dog Coffee Company and Tom Ellison Ice Cream Truck.
The day also honored founder John Loxley’s great-great grandson, Robert Scott Loxley, his wife Robyn and their 5-year-old son Alryk, who flew in from Prineville, Oregon, for the event.
“This means so much to me and my family to be a part of this day,” Loxley said. “Everyone has been so nice and welcoming, especially Joan (event coordinator Joan Richardson). She made it impossible for us to say no.”
Growing up in Oregon, Loxley said he had heard stories about John Loxley and about the community in south Alabama that bears his name, but he had never had the chance to visit.
Richardson was able to find the family through an Internet search, reached out and contacted them about being a part of the Founder’s Day event, which was a part of Alabama’s 200th birthday celebration.
“In doing research of our own, we found that John Loxley had a daughter who moved to Oregon,” Loxley said, “and later in life John Loxley and his wife moved to Oregon and are both buried there. We found his graves ite and a lot of family that we didn’t know we had, and it’s all because this community reached out to us. We are forever grateful, and we will be back.”
Both veterans of the Iraq War, Loxley and his wife were both presented with Quilts of Valor by Robertsdale Stitch-n-Friends member Phyllis Beam.
Richardson also thanked all of the volunteers who worked to organize the event.
“It’s not just me,” Richardson said. “There are so many people who helped make this happen, from town employees, to church members of the various churches, to the people who grew up here. This was truly a community-wide effort.”
Photography Courtland Richards.