Lawrence Malone was principal at Semmes School from 1948-1952. His wife Neil Malone was a teacher at the school during those years.
During Lawrence Malone time as principal a move was made by the Mobile County School Board to tear down the old Semmes One-Room Schoolhouse as new more modern buildings were added. Dr. Malone interceded with the School Board and was successful in persuading them to allow the building to remain a part of the Semmes Campus. It remained in service serving as a classroom, counselor office and the Library until 1992.
Saved from destruction the second time!
In January 1994 Robin Wulff was at the school board office and overhear that the one room Semmes school was going to be renovated or torn down. She immediately alerted Elizabeth Dodd.
Mrs. Dodd called Julane Greenlee and Rita Durant and together they went to see Mrs. Katherine Montgomery, the principal of Semmes School to present the idea of preserving the one room school. Mrs. Montgomery was very receptive, and encouraging.
Theodore had recently restored an early school, so Julane and Mrs. Dodd made an appointment with Carolyn Dumas and Kathy Nelson, who had led the restoration at Theodore school. They gave us a tour, copies of their corporation history and grant applications.
Marion Howell and Mrs. Dodd went to the Courthouse to research the original deed and found the deed in Book 102, Page 179 and obtained a copy of the deed. The deed revealed that In 1902 Thomas Jefferson Howell donated to the Mobile Co. Public School Board one-half acre of land to build a new school and one half acre to build a new church to sit beside the school.
Bobby Nelson, who was in charge of new school board construction, Mark McDonald, Director of the Mobile Historic Development Commission were contacted and asked to inspect the school to see if might be restored. " We were assured our little treasurer was well worthy of the efforts of restoration." said Elizabeth Dodd.
Julane Geenlee contacted Jay Grelan, who wrote an article on May 13, 1994 in the Mobile Press on our historic school house announcing a meeting May 22, 1994 to form a committee for the purpose of preserving the little school house.
On May 22, 1994, a group of sixty-seven citizens and former students of Semmes School met together in the Semmes School cafeteria. Donations were collected in the amount of $370.00.
May 25, 1994 an organizational meeting was held in the Semmes School Cafeteria and the name of Alumni & Friends of Semmes School was chosen. Officers elected were President Jospeh E. Shumock, Vice-President Norville H. Couey, Treasurer- Mary Waters Hopkins, Secretary Kathryn K. Shumock, and Corresponding Secretary Linda Hudson Davis. Board of Directors were Joe Shoemock, Mildred Wiggins, Sara Wilson,
On July 18, 1994 Alumni & Friends of Semmes School was incorporated as a 501 © 3 not for profit organization. August 25, 1994 the school was declared an Alabama Historical Landmark, as the oldest continuous in use school in Alabama.
In 1917 the school had been moved from its original site across the road to sit besides the new stucco building. Allentown School, Morris Hill (Crawford) & Powelltown schools were consolidated into Semmes School in 1917.
The schoolhouse was donated by the Mobile County Public School System to Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc. and returned to its original location in 1998. Restoration was completed in 1999 and a dedication ceremony took place May 5, 2001.
Source-Interview with Elizabeth P.( Lib) Dodd before her death on February 1,2018
In case you missed it, please see!
http://vimeo.com/281942738 “The History of Semmes Heritage Park”
http:// vimeo.com/221413870 “The Semmes Heritage Park”
Coming Soon! Semmes Scrapbook of Memories 2020
Advance Purchases available now $20 -Sale Price $25
The book is an updated book of the original Scrapbook of Memories, the history of Semmes by the people of Semmes looking at the past, present, and future!
The Semmes Camellia Festival that was reborn in January 2013 continues to be a celebration to honor Semmes Nursery History and still is an elegant affair as it was when it began in 1949.
The festival program included the following:
“A picture is worth a thousand words. “
Preserving our History