Then and Now
March 4, 1997
by Tom McGehee
The north side of Government Street, just east of Ann, held this view in the late 1950's. The house dated from 1908 and had been designed by C.L. Hutchisson, Sr. for James O. Dickens. Mr. Dickens was president of English Manufacturing Co., "Dealers in Vehicle and Manufacturer of Harnesses and Saddles."
Architecturally the house was notable for its use of stucco and shingles.
Dickens' widow in 1922 had moved to Dauphin Street and the home had a succession of occupants until the early 1950's when it was bought by Fred Wright, an engineer with A.W. Williams Inspection Co.
By the time of this photo the lot to the west has been subdivided for a commercial building facing Ann Street and Smith's Service Station operating on the corner. Both are quite visible through the row of trees and did little for the property's appeal.
Fred Wright's widow lived in the house until the early 1980's. The house was eventually sold to owners who wanted to move the house to a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Government and South Georgia Avenue. The move would require permission from the Steak and Egg Restaurant whose property would have to be crossed to reach the lot. Permission was refused.
The house has since been demolished. The Steak and Egg Restaurant has since closed.
Above Left: Photo courtesy of University of South Alabama Archives, Marx Collection. Above Right: Photo by Kevin Marston