It’s easy to step back in time when you step into historic downtown Foley. Even walking into Stacey’s Rexall Drugs & Old Tyme Soda Fountain opens a door to an earlier era.
At the opposite end of the block, at the corner of Highway 59 and U.S. 98, is the Holmes Medical Museum. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and admission is free; call 251-970-1818 to verify hours. Drop in to see artifacts and equipment from the days of the county’s first hospital, which operated at the site from 1936 to 1958. Many items on display are original surgical instruments and operating room machinery, and there’s even a human skeleton. The interior of the museum is practically unchanged from the time it served as the area’s first hospital. It will certainly make you appreciate how far medicine has come!
Across the intersection is the old L & N Railroad Depot, now home to Foley’s Museum Archives. The first depot was built in 1905 when John B. Foley of Chicago used some of his own money to bring the railroad to the southern part of Baldwin County. That first depot burned to the ground, and a second station took its place in 1908. It was instrumental in the growth of early Foley, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015.
The railroad line was a spur from Bay Minette and ended approximately a mile south of Foley. At that end, there was a wye (a triangular junction with a switch at each corner) where the train could turn around.
In 1971, the L & N Railroad discontinued their services to Foley and the building was moved to Magnolia Springs. In 1995, the depot was returned to Foley and placed back in its original location.
The railroad museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.; admission is free. Children are welcome to climb aboard the old caboose, engine and boxcars outside the museum.
Other architectural and historic gems in downtown Foley include the Hotel Magnolia, Gift Horse Restaurant and Foley Welcome Center.
Spend a day in yesteryear to gain a new perspective on life in this Southern community.