Historic Fairfax home to be demolished

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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VALLEY — One of the more iconic buildings from early Fairfax is about to come down. What was once the mill superintendent’s home is now in an advanced state of deterioration. It’s a two-story building that sits on the east side of Highway 29 near the intersection with Cusseta Road. The much beloved Daniel’s Drive-In is not far away.

Some 100 years ago now, the home of the Fairfax Mill superintendent was the most impressive structure in what the mill workers called The Kingdom. Surrounding the colonial-style dwelling were the slightly smaller but still elegant homes of the mill supervisors. What was once The Kingdom no longer exists. An East Alabama fire station is on that site today.

In its heyday, Fairfax Mill was widely known as Towel City USA. It’s where the famed Martex Towels were made. Named for the Margerison brothers from Philadelphia, the Martex brand was widely known when acquired by the West Point Manufacturing Company in the 1920s. Having a towel mill in Fairfax was the fulfillment of a long-sought dream of Company President George H. Lanier.

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Towel production would remain the lifeblood of Fairfax until WestPoint Home’s domestic towel operations closed in 2009. The community has taken on new life in the form of chicken nuggets. Fairfax is now the home of the chicken processing plant, John Soules Foods.

The demolition of the mill superintendent’s house was among a six-item consent agenda approved by the Valley City Council at Monday evening’s meeting. Code Enforcement Officer Adam Roberts talked to the council about the procedure that had been involved in taking action with the declining property and another site on 16th Avenue. Roberts told the council that he had talked to the property owner weeks ago about having a plan of action to improve the former mill superintendent’s home but that nothing had been done.

A similar situation existed for the house on 16th Avenue. The owners had been contacted about making improvements. Some had been made to the roof but the house remained in bad shape.

In approving the consent agenda, the council determined the two sites to be public nuisances and authorized action to have them cleaned up.

Other items on the consent agenda included approving the public consumption of alcohol at two upcoming events at Lakeview Cabin, approving the annual Title VI program and giving its okay to the cost of building a turning lane off Fairfax Bypass to the site of where the new high school will be going up.

The events at city-owned Lakeview Cabin include a birthday party on Saturday, July 13th and a family reunion the following weekend.

The Title VI program allows the city to receive funding from the federal government to help with its recreational activities.

The new turn lane will cost a little more than $127,000.

On the regular agenda, a resolution was approved to purchase a 2.68-acre site adjacent to the city’s Public Works Department on Fairfax Bypass. It’s land the city will have should it ever decide to expand Public Works at its present site. Chris Clark has offered to sell the land for $25,000.

Mayor Leonard Riley and several members of the council expressed condolences to the city’s former planning and development director, Travis Carter, whose wife died over the weekend, Visitation for the family took place at Johnson-Brown Service Funeral Home on Monday evening.

Mayor Riley and several council members congratulated the players, coaches and parents of Valley Parks & Recreation’s 10 & Under boys baseball team that recently won the District tournament in impressive style. They now advance to the Alabama Recreation & Parks Association’s state tournament to be played in Headland, Alabama later this month.

“They remind me of the team we had several years ago that won a big tournament in North Carolina,” Council Member Jim Clark said. “They play so well and are lots of fun to watch.”

Council Member Randall Maddux thanked the city’s Public Works Department for taking care of some problems in his district.