Here is another old schoolhouse that I regularly pass in my travels to Alabama. It is in one of my favorite little towns to shoot, Oak Hill, Alabama. It is what my parent’s generation called a Sears school. More specifically, it is one of the Rosenwald schools, a two-teacher community school.
Julias Rosenwald was the president of Sears. In 1917, he endowed a $20,000,000 (1/3 of a billion in today’s dollars) fund to support the construction of rural schools in largely African American communities in the south. With community donations of labor and land, matching funds from the foundation and the Sears home construction industry resources, almost 5,000 schools and some 400 shop buildings and teacher’s homes were built in over 800 counties in 15 southern states before the end of the program in 1932.(1)
Two Teacher Community School Floor Plan(2)The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a program for the preservation of extant Rosenwald structures(3), this one appears to be owned by a local church.
Just a short distance down the road from the schoolhouse, helicopter, and red flowering weed photo location, I passed this roadside establishment. I almost didn’t stop after having just taken some time out of my already long drive for the previous photos, but stopped the car and turned around anyway. The sign says:
“Note” Get what you want, put money or check in box…Wilson Meadows…Honor System, Thank You and God Bless you and yours
How refreshing it is to see something that honest and trusting in this day and time.
Not too long after getting out with my camera, this nice elderly gentleman came out to greet me. He was more interested in talking than selling birdhouses. I enjoyed a delightful visit with him. He is 88 years old and a retired Baptist pastor. Convincing him I knew Jesus made it a little easier to get away when I was ready to go. I was born and reared in the middle of the Bible Belt, we’ve met.
Retired Reverend Wilson Meadows, proprietor
Rev. Meadows proudly showing me one of his popular models, a double birdhouse fashioned after ‘dogtrot’ type shacks of yesteryear. I reckon this would be a ‘birdtrot’ model.
After picking out a couple of bluebird houses for my parents place, I said my goodbyes and he cranked up the Craftsman to haul it all in the barn for the night. I don’t think I have ever regretted the extra time taken to stop the car, turn around and go get the picture. I didn’t this time either. Thank you and God bless you and yours, Rev. Meadows.
While I was shooting the old schoolhouse in my last post, a pair of Russian made MI-8 choppers came in right over the school.
This area is not far from the U.S. Army’s Ft. Rucker in Dale County, Alabama, where both the Army and Air Force have helicopter training squadrons.
They were passing fairly slowly and gave me time to get several good shots.
One was green and the other desert sand. Both models have some sort of box on the roof of the cabin in front of the turbine intakes that I can only assume is an air intake filter for operating in sandy environments.
A few minutes later, while taking the photo of the nearby red weed field, the pair came back around for another practice pass at whatever they were targeting for the day just south of Andalusia, Alabama.
It’s always nice to have your camera in your hand when a shot comes along.
At the I-10 rest stops on the east and west sides of Pensacola, Florida, the location of the Pensacola Naval Air Station and home of the Blue Angles, there are these cantilever mounted jets with Blue Angles’ designations. At the westbound stop on the east side of the city is this McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk (top, 1974-86). At the eastbound stop on the west side of town this Grumman F9f Cougar(bottom, 1955-57) can be found heading off into the wild blue yonder.