For whom does the bell toll?

Published 3:22 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018

It was kind of sad seeing the Taco Bell come down in Valley this week. Just as I was getting used to its drive-in window, picking out the best value on the menu board and then risking my life getting back onto the Highway 29 Super Speedway though Shawmut.

Then BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! With a few licks from a super-sized trackhoe and one of my favorite drive-in places was nothing more than a pile of rubble.

Machine operator Tim Brinson of Forsyth, Ga., took pride in telling me that in just a few minutes he and his big machine could take down a building it had taken many months to get just right for the public.

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I saw a similar thing on Sunday when Roy Granger and his guys from Tallapoosa Heart Pine made quick work of what was left of the five-story warehouse on the Lanett Bleachery & Dye Works site.

Taco Bell will have a happy ending. They will be building back a bigger and better Taco Bell on the same site. It should be open in 90 days, or just about the time folks will be looking for fast food joints after graduation ceremonies at local schools. I’m hoping that it will be bigger and better. The way it’s been described to me it sounds more like a Viking long ship than a restaurant. It’s not going to be as wide as the store that came down on Wednesday but it’s going to be a good bit longer. So much longer it fact that they’re going to have to cut down trees in the back to build a new drive-in lane to loop around it.

I can’t help but wonder if the long ship look is in and if they’re going to start putting their tacos in long, skinny boxes rather than the square ones.

There’s some more interesting stuff going on in Shawmut these days. The Shawmut boat landing is now open in its regular daylight hours. The work hasn’t been completed there, and people driving down to the boat landing are being asked to be careful and to stay on the new black top. It’s a really smooth ride right now, and we don’t need anyone messing with the shoulder areas that need to be backfilled.

The old airport site has lots of potential to be developed into a park. First of all, it’s an absolutely beautiful place in a big bend of the Chattahoochee River. If there are some fun things to do there, it won’t take much coaxing to get people to come.

It’s our understanding that the graves located in the Hickory Nut Hill Cemetery are going to be relocated. There’s an unknown number of them just off Highway 29 next to the Pizza Hut. The only grave with a legible marker is that of David Dunlap (1790-1852). According to oral tradition that’s been handed down through the years. other graves on the site are the final resting places for members of Mr. Dunlap’s family and his slaves. Moving one grave is one thing but moving a bunch of them will be quite a trick.

According to Grover Leak’s excellent work, “Shawmut, Alabama: My Hometown,” Mr. Dunlap built a home in this area in 1840. It had two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. It had wide central walls and stacked chimneys on each side. The Dunlap house was located where the Circle K store now stands in Shawmut. The road that’s now Highway 29 ran in front of it. In the old days it was called the Berlin (pronounced BURR-lin) Road and connected early West Point with a ferry on the river in what’s now northeast Lee County. A ferry that was located in what’s now River View was then called the Terry Collins Ferry and was a very busy place in those days.

I’ve often wondered why 30th Street is so catty cornered. Years ago, why didn’t they have a road that went straight across. It would make it a lot easier to go from Todd Addition to Double Drive if it had been built that way.

The funny thing is that old maps have it the same way. Even in the horse and buggy days, people had to make really wide turns to get from one side to the other.