An Alabama treasure is the 1902 one room Semmes School that was designated by the Alabama Historical Commission and added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on August 25, 1994.
Education has always been an important part of Semmes. The first formal school in Semmes was a one room log cabin built in 1872 located on the sixteenth section of land of township 3.
Before the Alabama Territory could become a state in the United States, it was required to set aside in each township the sixteenth section of land to be used for educational purposes (Enabling Act). Semmes sixteenth section is where Semmes Elementary, Semmes Middle, and MGM High Schools (Mobile County Public School System ) (MCPSS) are located today. The land across from MGM is part of the sixteenth section and is where the 1872 log cabin school was located. The log cabin school also served as Mt. Pleasant Church.
The first shoolmaster was a pioneer of Semmes, James Aplin McCrary. Thomas Jefferson Howell another pioneer of Semmes saw that the town center was now close to the railroad instead of Moffett Rd, (Hwy 98). He donated land to build a school and a church with the stipulation that a school always be on the property or the property would revert back to the Howell Family. This property is now known as Semmes Heritage Park.
Students and Adults on field trip and tours experience a living educational history lesson in the 1902 School. The park contains a replica of Mt. Pleasant Church,now known as Malone Chapel, A log cabin replica that contains a rope bed, 1900's pump organ and other artifacts from yesteryears.
COME AND CELEBRATE WITH US SEMMES HERITAGE DAY MAY 6TH 10 AM TILL 2 PM.
A Family Fun Day celebrating Semmes History with open house of the original 1902 School, Mt. Pleasant church replica, and the Log cabin replica.
There will be old fashion entertainment, children's activities, Demonstrations of yesteryears, spinning, loom weaving, basket making, handcrafts, carpenter tools, grinding corn meal, childrens old fashion games, music, food open house in school, church and cabin. The City of Semmes will be celebrating Arbor Day as part of Heritage Day, giving away seedlings. Semmes has a great Nursery History, being known as The Nursery Center of the South. The Mobile Camellia Society will share its History.
Arts & Craft vendors, and BBQ Plates will be available.
Do you have family history in Semmes Community? We are still gathering information for the second addition of Scrapbook of Memories to be available for the 200th birthday of Alabama. 2019! ( 1-251-649-0270 Jeanette)
pioneers of semmes- The Mc Crary's Edward P. homesteaded in 1879;Henry 1879; James A.1898, 1904,1919.
Pauline Pound Dodd (Mrs. Tom Dodd, Sr,) grandfather was James Aplin McCrary. Under the Homestead Act of 1862 the McCrary's homesteaded in Albritton Precinct that was later named Semmes after the famed Adm. Raphael Semmes, a southern naval hero.
A group of Northerners led by August Pickus formed Semmes Land Company, Inc. (book 3 page 484) and bought a section of land fifteen miles northwest of Mobile and laid out the Town of Semmes lots and streets close to the railroad. Pickus and the other fellows boarded with the McCrary Family.
In an interview that was published August 4, 1978 by Lolo Pendergrast a city writer with the Port City, Pauline talked of life in Semmes.
" We had no electricity, no running water, but we had fireplaces and a hand pump near our back steps for all our water."
"A "wood cook stove" warmed country fresh meals, as well as chilled bodies of inhabitants and passersby alike."
"Moffett Road, now known as Hwy 98, was a sandy dirt road. Cars were few and far between. Mr. Funk who built the Funk Hotel had a car he used as a taxi to take people to Mobile. He went early in the morning and returned around 5 o'clock."
"Mr. Luce drove a Stutz from Lucedale at the top speed of 30 miles per hour going to Mobile once a week. Mama would say, don't get near that road-Mr. Luce will be flying by here in a minute."
"By 1903 the train service was twice a day, morning and evening. Somewhere around 1918 bus service began. The most reliable transportation was horse and wagon, or you just walked"
Fill'er Up! 1920's. The first gas station in Semmes was located on the corner of highway 98 and Wulff Road. Hand pumps were used to sell Badger Brand Gas and Tires. Inside the gas station you could buy a hot lunch. It was a gathering place for Semmes Residents. The fence post in front of the gas station served as a bulletin board.
Four Generations of Wilton Francis (Phil) Lowery's Family.
Andrew Jackson & Mary Jane Powell Lowery (1930) John A. Lowery