One day, I was on a road trip to see a friend graduate from a military school. I have always enjoyed a good meandering in a car. Well, that is assuming I have the leisure time to enjoy the ride. On this particular day I did. So, I allotted for some extra time both before and after my event. I didn’t plan anything other than my route from point A to B. So whatever caught my eye, I stopped to photograph.
Being that I was in the rural Alabama back roads, history is what I found.
This shop looks like it had seen better days. However, I imagine it was a good place to get supplies as it was on the corner of two main routes. Clearly though, times have changed.
Nearby, there was historical marker naming the county, Perote County.
According to Wikipedia (and the other side of the sign I failed to photograph), the county was established back in 1830.
This community, settled during the mid-1830s, was first called Fulford’s Cross Roads, then Missouri Cross Roads when a post office was established here in 1846. The name Perote, adopted in 1850, was suggested by veterans returning from the Mexican War (1846-48), who remembered a citadel in Mexico by that name. Incorporation followed in 1858. Early settlers in the area, who came primarily from the Carolinas and Georgia, included the following families: Boykin, Reeves, Sellers, Crossley, Blue, Harp, Locke, Peach, Hixon, Culver, Johnson, Adair, Ardis, McCall, Rumph, Brabham, Miles, Cameron, Starke, Wilson, Walker and Ivey. Methodist and Baptist churches were among the first structures in the community, around which much of the social life centered, including “protracted meetings” – revivals.
The 1850s were the counties big time for growth though according to the sign pictured above.
Perote grew rapidly in the 1850s so that by 1860 the community was thriving with several doctors, stores, a carriage factory, a Masonic lodge, and a school. At the beginning of the War Between the States (1861–65), the school numbered about 150 students. Many of the young men from the school served in the Perote Guards, organized in 1859 as war clouds gathered. They went off to war as part of the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment with uniforms and a flag handmade by the women they left behind.
The community’s fortunes fell following the war as cotton cultivation, the area’s traditional leading economic pursuit, receded in importance. By-passed by the railroad and experiencing several disastrous fires, Perote suffered a steady decline in business activity and population.
Progress brought change to the state and country, but apparently that change didn’t help this county at all. Now it remains, locked in history and looking quite abandoned.
As I continued to drive, I found some more old structures, and a little town (which I will share later). However, I cannot confirm or deny what county they are in. But if I recall correctly, they were not that far away from the store above. So, I believe they would still be in the Perote. Either way, they clearly suffered the same changes from progress.
Let’s hope the progress of our tomorrows don’t leave too many of us like this area.