LOXLEY, Alabama — Owners of the historic Loxley Hotel property have until February to present plans and a timeline to save the structure to the Loxley Town Council.
Judith Wilkins addressed the Loxley Town Council at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Dec. 9 on behalf of the property’s owners, Pygmalion Properties LLC, asking permission to demolish part of the structure that has fallen into disrepair.
According to records, the Old Loxley Hotel was built around 1905 by John Marold and his wife Ephrium, just before the railroad was constructed from Bay Minette to Foley. The hotel was located in front of the railroad, opposite the railroad depot.
Marold became a widower and married two other women. The last, Nanny Stapleton, became the owner after Marold died in 1934. Stapleton ran the hotel until her death in 1946.
Her daughter, Mable Stapleton Rossing, took over running the hotel, but following her unexpected death, also in 1946, Jake Jacobs who owned a dry goods store next door, bought the hotel.
He added on a side room with a door as a little apartment to live in while running the store. He also enclosed the wrap-around porch on the south side of the building on both floors which has no siding to date, increasing the size of the building from 4,176 square feet to 5,828 square feet.
The building was abandoned somewhere in the late 1970s and has sat empty ever since. Wilkins bought the hotel around 2000 and made a few repairs.
“We had to abandon the project to work on the North Baldwin Animal Shelter, but since that project is now up an running, we are able to devote more time to this project,” Wilkins said. “We believe the original structure is still sound and we still want to try and save it.”
Another attempt to restore the old structure was begun in 2012 but has since been abandoned.
Wilkins said the current plan is to turn the refurbished structure into office space.
Another resident spoke during the public hearing, saying that he had gone through the building and felt that the basic framework of the structure was sound.
“I own another historic property in town that I have restored and wanted to buy this property too,” he said. “This is part of the history of our town and needs to be preserved before it’s too late.”
Wilkins said the plan was to keep the main part of the original structure and to demolish an addition that was made to the structure, probably sometime in the 1920s.
Council member Katherine Breeden said she was all for saving the structure, but that the council needs assurances that the work will be done in a timely manner.
“We don’t need to wait another 20 years before this gets done,” she said.
The council voted to allow Wilkins to proceed with the demolition on the unsafe part of the structure and set a public hearing for February 2020, at which time they requested that Wilkins present concrete plans for saving the structure.
“I’m 55 years old and have lived in Loxley all my life. That building has been sitting there empty for as long as I can remember,” said Loxley Mayor Richard Teal. “If you’re going to save the structure, we need to know what your plans are and you need to give us a good idea of how long it’s going to take.”
In other business Dec. 9, the council:
•Adopted amendments to the town’s Zoning Ordinance.
•Renewed the town’s advertisement for the 2020 Robertsdale High School baseball season at a cost of $400.
•Approved a parade permit application for the Martin Luther King Jr. march to be held Jan. 20 beginning at 9 a.m.
•Postponed the town’s Dec. 30 work session. The council will hold a work session beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 13.