Underpass, Not Overpass, Once Planned for Flomaton
ASHS Column for 8 24 06
Jerry Simmons

     Last week I commented on the fact this
column is generally written the previous
week. In doing so, I tried to predict the
future and hoped for the best with our
experiment in bringing a new kind of
“culture” and a portion of that “other”
state of Florida's history to light way up
here in the boonies of Northwest Florida.
     Well, heavens to Murgatroid, it seems
we had a great crowd, not only in quantity
but in quality as well. Nigh unto 55 - 60
people came to see Dr. Kelly Reynolds'
portrayal of Henry Bradley Plant, the
millionaire tycoon and carnsarn Yankee
(one 'a them Yankees what comes down
here and stays!) who made the Gulf
Coast of Florida (Tampa and below) into
a tourist Mecca.
     Dr. Reynolds was so convincing that one
of the audience thought he was really Henry
Plant. Reynolds donned his character just as
he put on his 3-piece suit, 1890s style, and
his handlebar mustache. As I introduced him, I accidentally referred to him as Dr. Reynolds instead of Plant and he corrected me. He truly was in character!
     I was amazed and got more so as he told of “his” exploits. He went on and on about all the things “he” had done through the years. For nearly 45 minutes, the audience paid rapt attention to this man who spoke so eloquently and fluidly through a memorized repartee without missing a beat! I said “memorized,” but I dare say the words were part of his being, since as his character grew on us, one might be convinced that this was indeed Henry Plant himself!
     His presentation included pictures of scenes from the period in a PowerPoint display. This made what he spoke more real and kept one's mind focused on the late 1800s rather than 2006. Maybe I am easily impressed, but even after spending the afternoon with Dr. Reynolds and Reda, his lovely wife, I can say that this fella coulda fooled me!
We certainly appreciate what the Florida Humanities Council is doing in providing Road Scholars to go around the state with programs such as this.
     I'll repeat something else I wrote for last week's column: This was an extraordinary event, to be sure, and The Alger-Sullivan Historical Society may be encouraged to participate more often in this sort of program. We do hope the attendees enjoyed it and will join us in the future for our regular meetings, which may be more down-to earth, but informative, educational, and very useful in understanding our role in the history of our home
I bet I know something you don't know! Well, at least I ran across something I bet many who may have known it had forgotten about: The OVERpass in Flomaton was once planned as an UNDERpass! Another old newspaper article from 1956 (The Flomaton Journal) had headlines that read:

“Word Received Wed. From Rep. Edwards:
“The long sought and much talked about under pass for Flomaton is in the making, according to Mayor D. D. Arrington, who states that Representative Edwards called him on Wednesday and told him that Flomaton would get the under pass at an early date.
The pass will be under the L & N Railroad on Highway 29, Pensacola Highway
This has been a sought after project for the past15 or 20 years.
Arrington stated that he and a committee has been seeking an appointment with the Governor (and) that Edwards called on Wednesday and stated that no appoint­ment was needed, that work would soon be started on this project which will take some time to com­plete.”
This goes to show you that you can't believe everything you read in the paper. Not that newspapers print errors on purpose, but sometimes the ones telling the story aren't telling all the truth, probably because they don't know all the truth. Whaddya think?
     A couple of questions for you: In retrospect, would an underpass have been better for Flomaton's businesses than an overpass? Would it have been better to have left the crossing as it was (perhaps put in a four-lane crossing instead)? Is progress always a good thing for towns?
Y'all come.

Jerry Fischer holds the first of many memorial bricks to be placed in the Historical Park. The late Gloria Briggs is the wife of Warren Briggs who has been so generous and gracious to the Society. We chose to have her name on brick number one.

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This page last modified on Saturday, September 02, 2006