Endangered places in area

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature reporter
Somehow I have begun receiving several publications in the past couple of months. I don't know why they are being sent here but I am glad that they are. They give me an insight into what is going on in the rest of the state.
One of the publications is the Preservation Report from the Alabama Historical Commission. This is a monthly (I think) report that is very interesting. One of the features is the list of endangered sites around the state. Each and every one of them is interesting. I am one of those who believes that we are tearing down historical places in the name of progress and it burns me up. These endangered places have history that are in danger of being either torn down of falling down. If something isn't done, it will soon be too late for so many places that deserve a place in history. Another feature of the publication for August is the story of the "dig" at Fort Toulouse and nominations for the National Register.
After looking at the places that are endangered I couldn't help but think of a couple of places here in Brewton that look to me as if they are worthy of being preserved.
There is a building in the forks of Hwy. 31 and Persimmon Street that is run-down and looking pretty bad. But, did you know that it was once a service station? I don't know a great deal about it but I am told that it has the classic design that the Pure Oil Company once used for its stations. I have not done any investigation of who it belongs to, but it could be turned into something useful, maybe a welcome center for Brewton. It's in a good place, right downtown.
I know, it's in a flood zone, but what else is new? Most of the rest of downtown Brewton is in a flood zone, but we have learned to live with it.
The other place I mentioned is the Blacksher house in Alco. I have written about this place before when I told you a little bit about the Blacksher family, but the house just cries out for some attention.
I do know that it is owned by a Dr. Conner who is a dentist in Birmingham. His mother was a Blacksher. The house was built about 1911 and features Italian tiles in the porches that surround the house and inside in the kitchen. Every window in it is broken, and it is falling down. It is in very bad shape but can still be saved if someone will take it on.
I emailed the Alabama Historical Commission and received an answer a few days ago. The Commission is very interested in the two buildings so I will send them photographs of both places.
Maybe someone will have the inclination to try and save these old buildings. I will let you know what else I hear.
Don't think about tearing something down if there is a history there. Save them. Old places have so much more character than a new box made of concrete and steel.