FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – It’s an update to a story we’ve been following closely this year. New owners have taken over an important piece of property east of downtown Fairhope. All that’s left standing Monday are two brick columns that used to lead to the home of Nancy Lewis, one of the first African Americans to live in the city.
“She was a slave and then freed. She had a piece of property close to the bay downtown where Coastal Community College is and they did not let her be a part of the single tax colony,” said Fairhope City Councilman Corey Martin.
She wasn’t able to become part of the colony because of her skin color, but the property at the corner of Ingleside St. and Nichols Ave. became her home in the early 1900’s.
The home was demolished last week, but plans for the property haven’t been finalized now that new owners have purchased the site.
In July, the Fairhope Planning Commission was set to approve a 14-unit townhome and retail development. Part of the design included a memorial to remember Lewis and the property’s history, but since then the owner of the property sold the acreage and home to another developer. Now, city councilman Corey Martin is asking the new owner to include a marker on the site as they draw up future plans.
“If you don’t know where you come from it’s hard to know where you’re going. That’s an old cliche I know, but as I get older it means so much and we want the kids to understand that,” he explained.
Martin says the new owner is willing to work with the city and include some sort of signage on the land. He expects a new design to be submitted early next year, but he says it’s too soon to know what the owner plans to build.