FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — A downtown Fairhope home that once belonged to a freed slave over 100 years ago will likely be torn down later this year to make way for a 14-unit townhome with restaurants and shops, changing the landscape at the corner of Nichols Avenue and Ingleside Street in Fairhope.
“You’ll have residential and retail. Usually residential is up top and retail is down below,” said City of Fairhope councilman Corey Martin.
A 14-unit townhome development is set to be approved in the coming weeks with a restaurant and shops on site. Martin says even though the home will be demolished, the developer wants to make sure history isn’t lost.
“This house has been given to the state to preserve at the state level. They came down and that will be on the state’s agenda in August,” he explained.
The goal is to have the property recognized as an historic site with some type of marker or memorial included in the developer’s design. That’s because it’s the former home of Nancy Lewis, a freed slave who was pushed off of her land where downtown Fairhope stands today when the Single Tax Colony was created. She wasn’t able to become part of the colony because of her skin color, but the property east of downtown was given to her in the early 1900’s.
“The kids need to know this history because it shows where we were and where we are today,” said Martin.
The final plans and vote will come during the July 25th or August 8th city council meeting.