Bay Minette adds to iconic birdhouse collection

Baldwin County

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — If you look around Bay Minette, you’ll likely find replica birdhouses that also reflect the city’s historic landmarks as the city continues to add to its collection of artwork.

The city’s community coordinator issued the news release below.

  1. This birdhouse is a replica of the Baldwin County Courthouse in its current design, which includes a clock tower bearing the closing time of 4:30 p.m. The courthouse has undergone transformations through the years but the latest design is a nod to the original courthouse that featured the clock tower. 
  1. This birdhouse pays homage to the Little Red Schoolhouse which served students for many years. The Blakely School was built in 1920 on Magnolia Church Road in Bromley where it served students until 1950. It was abandoned until 1979, when it was moved and used as kindergarten classroom for the White House Fork School. After that school closed, the structure was eventually moved to School Board property and used as a museum. It was moved in 2016 to Bicentennial Park where it is part of a historical display. 
  1. This birdhouse is a replica of the old Scout Cabin that once stood at what is now the Splash Pad at Kids Park. The Bay Minette Scout Cabin was a popular summer hang out for the kids and served as the backdrop of many pep rallies and bonfires for Baldwin County High School football games in the 1960s through the 1980s.  

BAY MINETTE, Alabama – Three new birdhouses have been installed in Bay Minette to join a collection of others installed in the past year. Sponsored by the Committee on Public Arts (COPA), the eight birdhouses are mini replicas of some of the most iconic structures in the city. 
Five were installed last fall and three more were added in April. The newest ones include the Baldwin County Courthouse, Scout Cabin and the Little Red Schoolhouse. Another one is currently in the works and will pay homage to the old Bay Minette Elementary School. 

The birdhouses were commissioned by COPA and then designed and built by Grant and Cassie Berryhill, owners of Berryhill Co. in Bay Minette. 

Mayor Robert A. “Bob” Wills said the birdhouses have been a creative addition to the city’s landscape. Her praised COPA and all the volunteers involved in these artistic endeavors.   

“Our citizens continue to find ways to beautify our city. The customized birdhouses are a really unique way to not only add beauty but also incorporate history to our landscape. They are truly works of art,” he said.  

Most of replica birdhouses were placed near its inspiration. In some cases, the old structures are no longer standing or have moved outside Bay Minette. Two are located in Blackburn Park and two are set up in Kids Park. 

“It has been a treat to see the overwhelming response to the birdhouses around town,” said COPA member Martha Ryan. “COPA has found a way to add a pop of art to our City. The birdhouses are beautiful, amazing and unique and they are not just for show, they are fully functional for our local birds.”  

Ryan said she COPA provides an opportunity to serve her community and “be involved in preserving and making lasting additions to its charm and beauty now and for the future.”  

The largest of the collection is the birdhouse which replicates the courthouse and includes a clock tower bearing the closing time of 4:30 p.m. The Baldwin County Courthouse has undergone transformations through the years but the latest design is a nod to the original structure that featured the clock tower. 

The Little Red Schoolhouse (formerly known as the Blakely School) was built in 1920 on Magnolia Church Road in Bromley where it served students until 1950. It was abandoned until 1979, when it was moved and used as kindergarten classroom for the White House Fork Elementary School. After that school closed, the structure was eventually moved to School Board property in Bay Minette and used as a museum and was moved again in 2016 to Bicentennial Park where it is part of a historical display. 

The old Scout Cabin once stood at what is now the Splash Pad at Kids Park and its replica birdhouse is placed near that location. The Bay Minette Scout Cabin was a popular summer hang out for the kids and served as the backdrop of many pep rallies and bonfires for Baldwin County High School football games in the 1960s through the 1980s.  
The library birdhouse pays homage to the stained-glass windows found at the historic building, which once served as a church. The stately birdhouse also features white columns, hand-painted lettering and tiny shingles to mimic the building’s roofline. 
Each of the designs highlights significant details of the subject. The mini-North Baldwin Utilities, which once served as the city’s post office, includes the grand front columns and the gas burning lanterns are painted on the birdhouse as well. The intricate roof-line is also reproduced in painstaking detail. 
The North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce structure features both a birdhouse and bird feeder in one. The birdhouse side is a replica of the historic train depot, which now serves as the chamber building. On its side is a red birdfeeder that resembles the old caboose that sits adjacent to the real structure on McMeans Avenue. 
For the railroad platform, the hand-painted “Bay Minette” sign has been replicated to perfection. This birdfeeder is set up at Blackburn Park, along with a birdhouse replica of the little white house located at the park. 
The purpose of COPA is to promote art in public spaces and enhance the visual experience through various mediums like environmental displays, murals or sculptures. The local group has already added a butterfly sculpture to downtown Bay Minette and local artists have painted murals downtown and at local parks. 
One of the group’s goal is finding ways to create art from everyday objects, such as the birdhouses, painted garbage barrels and even fire hydrants have gotten an overhaul. All three art forms can now be seen in various parks and public spaces.  

COPA member Joanna Bailey said these projects have certainly added to the overall charm of Bay Minette and hopefully serves as an inspiration to others.  

“The little pockets of art popping up all over town, the birdhouses, the painted fire hydrants, the murals are all to add a little joy into everyone’s lives. Art is important. It helps people see the beauty that surrounds us despite these uncertain times,” Bailey said. “I hope it inspires others to be creative at home and to encourage their children to explore their own creativity.” 

COPA is currently working on its second art sculpture and its installation is expected sometime this summer. 

To learn more about completed projects and plans, visit the group’s Facebook page at Committee on Public Art-Bay Minette. Donations can be sent to City of Bay Minette, Attn.: COPA, 301 D’Olive Street, Bay Minette, AL 36507. 

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