Moffett Road Alabama 42 was a dirt road in 1932 and was paved in 1935. This is a view before there was a bridge built over the train tracks. The Tom Dodd, Sr. home is on the right and is still visible today. Where the trees grew on Dodd Nursery is now the new City of Semmes City Hall.
Mr. Tom, Jr. shared many stories of life in Semmes in the early days. There was not much traffic. The children often played in the road. Sound carried easily and when the children heard a car coming they would jump out of the road. A frequent traveler, about once a month, was Mr. Luce from Lucedale on his way to Mobile. Mr. Tom said at one time after the bridge was built there was a hobo who lived under the bridge.
Today U.S. Hwy 98, Moffet Rd is now four lanes with a constant flow of traffic to Mobile and to Mississippi; Numerous traffic lights have been installed.
Note the water tower on the right. Every home had a water tower if they wanted running water in their home it was gravity fed from the water tower. Water was pumped by a wind mill or a gas powered pump and rain water was collected.in the water tower.
Before water towers, water was hand pumped or gathered from a nearby creek. Electricity was first run on Moffett Rd and later on the side roads. connecting to Moffet Rd. Wulff Road did not get electricity until around 1949. I remember coming home on the school bus and discovering we now had electricity.
Semmes is a fast growing city. Where we once had farms and fields of flowers, we now have fields of houses.
The following history of Semmes First Baptist was written in 1997 by Marian Savell Howell in the first Semmes History Book the SCRAPBOOK OF MEMORIES.
A Tea was given by Semmes Heritage Park to honor the Camellia Maids for their service as good will ambassadors for Semmes Heritage Park aka as Alumni & Friends of Semmes School Inc.
CONGRATULATIONS to Camellia maid BLAIKNEY WALDROP. She was awarded a scholarship to assist with college pursuits by the Alumni & Friends of Semmes School Inc. (aka Semmes Heritage Park), Blaikney has faithfully served as a Camellia Maid for four years and has exemplified leadership, dedication, and responsibility, always going the extra mile. She also excelled academically being named #8 of the 2022 Top 10 MGM Seniors.
History of the Semmes Camellia Maids
Heritage Day began in 2003 as a community event to celebrate Semmes History. The MGM Azalea Trail Maids became a part of our celebration until 2011 when other responsibilities to Azalea Trail events limited their attendance. The Historical Mobile Preservation Society was contacted and the Mobile Belles came to act as greeters for Heritage Day in 2012. The idea was born that Semmes Heritage Park should have its own greeters. When the idea was presented to the members they agreed and the name Camellia Maids was chosen. Why?
Semmes is known for its nursery industry. In 1949 Semmes Camellia festival supported by local nurseries and Semmes School was begun. Camellia blooms were displayed along with camellia art, tablescapes, and landscapes and a play was held. The Camellia Festival was a yearly event until sometime after 1961.
The school presented a play with a royal court King and Queen, Maids, knights, pages who were selected to represent each grade. A theme was chosen for the entertainment of the court and each class participated in the play.
A fond memory that I have is the year the entertainment theme was children’s fairy tales. My class was chosen to portray the fairy tale Cinderella for the court. I was elected to be Cinderella.
In 2013 the Semmes Camellia Festival was begun again to celebrate Semmes Nursery History, present and past. There is no play, but we do have Camellia Maids.
Camellias are blooming everywhere. It is time for the Camellia Festival 2022, January 29th, 10 am till 2 pm held in the Semmes First Baptist Fellowship Hall and sponsored by Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, inc./ aka Semmes Heritage Park.
Semmes First Baptist began in the first school in Semmes , a log cabin built in 1872 on the townships sixteenth section of land.
This post is just a glimpse of the festivals of the past. Scrapbook of Memories 1997
In 1950 Jo Alice Blackwell was the queen of the Elementary Court. The King was William Brewer.
Preserving our History