Monthly Archives: May 2017

Foster Hall – An Event in Alabama’s History

If you know us at Southern Accents, you know how much we love a good story. When a story comes along that is attached to a piece of architecture and is documented, it’s story is not only validated in written form but helps in preserving a piece of our history. Such is the case with two windows that we recently acquired that has a semi-circular design that once graced the front of Foster Hall Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. If you study Alabama History, then you are familiar with the event that took place at the entrance to Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963. If not, then a short history lesson is in order. On this date, then Governor George C. Wallace, who opposed integration, stood at the entrance of the auditorium in an attempt to block two black students from registering at the University. Governor Wallace was unsuccessful in his attempt and that same day the first two black students enrolled at the University of Alabama. Two years later, one of the students, Vivian Malone, became the first black to receive a degree from UA. Years later, George Wallace apologized for his segregationist views and in October 1996, Vivian Malone Jones was chosen by the George Wallace Family Foundation to be the first recipient of its Lurleen B. Wallace Award of Courage. At the ceremony, Wallace said, “Vivian Malone Jones was at the center of the fight over states’ rights and conducted herself with grace, strength and, above all, courage.” In 2000, the University of Alabama bestowed on Vivian a doctorate of humane letters.

fosterhallwindows-blog

The large windows, which can be seen in photos dated at the time of this event, were later removed from the building to make way for a window air conditioning unit. The windows were crated and stored in a storage building on campus. Years later, that storage area, which was shared by faculty member George Hodgson, along with some of the University carpenters, was scheduled for demolition and had to be cleaned out. It was during this process that the crated windows (shown above) were removed by one of the carpenters and placed at the dumpster. George inquired about the windows and was given permission to take them. The windows were moved to his home garage where they sat for years.

In 2009, renovation of Foster Auditorium began. At that time, Mr. Hodgson offered the windows back to the University. The University turned down the offer stating that all of the units were being replaced with newer, maintenance free windows. Not wanting the windows to end up back in the dumpster, George continued to keep them crated and stored in his garage until a few weeks ago when he approached Southern Accents and asked if we would be interested in them. George offered a letter of authenticity that stated how the windows came to be in his possession along with a copy of the email exchange from 2009 offering the windows back to the University.

The Foster Auditorium event, albeit an ugly part of our history, is history none the less. One of the most important aspects of accurately recording historical events is so we can learn from past mistakes. Having written documentation on any historical item not only preserves the provenance of that item, but transforms a story into fact. We gladly accepted the windows and will use these historical architectural elements to serve as a reminder of an event that eventually lead, not to block entrances, but to open doors.

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This photo was taken after 1963 but prior to the renovations of 2009. Air conditioning units can be seen where the arch top windows once were.

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Foster Auditorium after the 2009 renovations which included the addition of the Malone-Hood Plaza and Autherine Lucy Clock Tower. The University of Alabama paid tribute to Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and the late Vivian Malone Jones, the three African-American students whose enrollment represented UA’s first steps toward desegregation, at the dedication which was held November 3, 2010.

FosterHallNewspaper-blog

The Crimson White newspaper from 2009 highlights the planned renovations of Foster Auditorium. In the photo you can see the air conditioner units that replaced the windows.


Which Wood Would You Choose?

We were doing a little spring cleaning at the Wood Showroom this week and ran across several stacks of unique wood. Webster’s dictionary defines unique as something unusual or distinctively characteristic. At Southern Accents, unique could be anything from a piece of double beaded shiplap to an unusual color or pattern in the wood. Sorting through the stacks usually starts a conversation about the variety and history of reclaimed wood. Walking through our wood showroom, it is quite interesting to take note of the uniqueness and character of each stack.

Unlike visiting a lumber yard or local DIY store with stacks of raw lumber, looking around our large showroom, filled with salvaged wood, there is so much beauty to behold.  There is a kaleidoscope of color found in the salvaged lumber. Shades of weathered browns and greys mixed with reds, blues and greens from layers of old paint or stain can be seen throughout the showroom. There is a character in reclaimed wood that can only be added with age. Old knots, nail holes, and occasionally small carvings are like battle wounds that help tell it’s story.Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This photo perfectly demonstrates how we used salvaged wood in a variety of colors to create these accent walls in Garden & Guns Artist Tent at Slossfest.

From barn wood, bead board, reclaimed flooring and large beams, how do you choose which wood is right for your project? While some projects may require certain size or thickness specifications, we like to encourage our customers to browse our selection of salvaged wood and see which stack “speaks” to them. The painted shiplap and colored bead-board have been very popular as wall and ceiling coverings. Salvaged flooring is readily sought after to be reused as it was originally intended. Mantel shelves and matching corbels are cut from old hand hewn beams. Our customers show up looking for the perfect wood, with all it’s wonderful imperfections, to use on an endless list of projects. It doesn’t matter the size of the project, whether you need a single board to build a picture frame or several hundred square feet for a larger project, come pay us a visit! Seeing, touching, even smelling the old wood will lead you to the perfect choice for your job!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

These beautiful heart pine skins have an oil stain that have created a richness to the wood over time. 7″ wide, 1/2″ thick and an average length of 10′, these boards are $5.75 per sq ft.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This bead board is covered with a variety of pastel colored, chippy paint. 3/4″ wide and 3/4″ thick, this stack of double bead pine wood is available in 6′ and 10′ lengths for $5.75 per sq ft.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Oak skins cut from reclaimed beams. 5 3/4″ wide x 1/2″ thick x 8′ long, $5.75 per sq ft. The boards can be gang ripped to 5″ for an additional $0.25 per sq ft.


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