The 2017 Alabama Historical Association (AHA) fall pilgrimage will be later this month, centering on Abbeville, Alabama, which is just ripe to be the setting for a mid-century period film. Jimmy Rane, the ‘Yella Fella’ (if you’ve ever been to a lumber yard or just watched an Auburn game on tv, you likely know his Great Southern Wood Co) is responsible for so much of the preservation here: what would be vacant storefronts become throwback shop windows to when kids wore Buster Brown or Red Goose shoes and one bought Philco radios.
I’m going to miss meeting Jimmy (it’s during my birthday weekend and we have other plans) and getting to tour more of the town, but we were there this summer and got to walk around with the boys, including a lunch at Huggin’ Molly’s, a restaurant and soda fountain that is now the home to the fixtures from a 1926 drugstore shop in Pittsburgh. Also: the place is named after a town legend:
…a giant of a woman, maybe 7 feet tall and as big around as a bale of cotton.
Some say her ghost still walks the streets of Abbeville late in the night, sweeping her black skirt as she goes. If she happens upon you, she chases you down, gives you a huge hug and screams in your ear.
While the food is what it is: easy lunch food, the people are friendly. The manager came around and was explaining that the Coca-Cola sign hanging here is worth as much or more than everything else in the building put together, as it’s one of only a very few still extant:
As cute as the downtown area is during the day, it’s even more impressive at night when the signs are lit and the neon is going.