Willie's offers step back in time

Published 3:15 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2006

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
As many of you read in the Sunday issue of The Brewton Standard, Willie's is going to reopen soon. As I walked into the building Friday to take a picture for the Sunday paper, I got my first good look at what is surely a part of history.
Oh, I have been in there many times in the past to get a good meal, but this was the first time I have ever seen it looking quite this way. No one was there, and it seemed to be just waiting for the first customer to walk through the door. Tables were placed with their chairs turned upside down on the top, and glasses were gleaming from their place on the shelf behind the bar. I noticed things I have never noticed before, such as the beautiful wrought iron railings, the polished bar and, who can forget, the metal ceiling plates.
I thought it might be interesting to tell you a little bit about the history of the building. I know some, but if anyone can fill me in on some more, that would be great. Just contact me at The Brewton Standard at 867-4876, e-mail at lydia.grimes@brewtonstandard.com or mail to P.O. Box 887, Brewton, AL 36427.
The address of Willie's in the telephone book is 204 Belleville Ave., but it was once listed as 200-208 Belleville Ave. It sits on the corner of St. Joseph and Belleville and is unique in its shape and design.
It was built in 1900, a two-story rusticated cement block structure with a trapezoid shape. It has a flat parapet with plain molding. The second floor has two windows on the corner and eight windows along the two sides. The first floor has most bays filled in with paneling and the building has been used by several businesses, ranging from the post office to drug stores. There have been many owners of the drug stores that have been there.
It was first known as Star Pharmacy, then the Palace Pharmacy, Brannon Pharmacy, Holman Pharmacy, Sowell Drugs and Mason Drug Company until October 1977. It was known for many years as the Mason Drug building. It became the home of Ole Willie's Place, a restaurant, in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and when it closed last year, it was the end of an era.
It's good to know the old place will soon be open again.
Through the years many photographs have been made of the building. I thought I would share with you some of those that were taken in good times and bad.ation who supported publication of the book.

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