The house dates to before World War II and began as the beach house of Valerie Cole’s family from Mobile. Originally located on West Beach, it was donated to the city following Hurricane Frederic in 1979. The building has been in use by the city since 1982, first as the library, then as the youth center. The site chosen for the building was made possible by a generous donation of land by Claude O’Connor, and Wade and Pat Ward. To top it all off, Oyster Bay Baptist Church donated their steeple in 1999 to watch over the garden.
Historic Building Donations
The steeple, built in 1953 by Jack Gates and John Quates, housed the very necessary attic fan for the church. A 40-foot mast donated by Walter Nelson and Jimmy Nelson of Nelson’s Boat Yard is used as a flag display. This mast built in 1940, served proudly on the Sea Biscuit Shrimp Boat, who’s first owner was John Calloway. It was made from one giant southern pine harvested in Louisiana. “The Sea Biscuit won first place for decorated boats, in its category, at the very first Shrimp Festival in 1971”, says Walter Nelson. These wonderful donations are only a part of the rich nature history of the Gulf Shores community.
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