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History of Magnolia Springs
Nestled within the undulating curves of the Magnolia River, the beautiful town of Magnolia Springs developed from a Spanish land grant in the year 1800 and, by the end of the War Between the States, rapidly became a primary destination for the families and descendants of many of the soldiers who had fought on both sides. Families from Vermont, Chicago, St. Louis and other points north built homes, inns, and businesses along the river’s edge and were joined by native Alabamians and transplants from other Southern locations.
At the turn of the century, the water from the many natural springs along both sides of the river was declared “the purest in the world” by several chemical companies in Chicago. The community’s name comes from the ever-flowing springs and the abundance of aged magnolia trees that grace every residential garden. A majestic canopy of giant oak trees lines the hamlet’s streets as well as a variety of exquisite camellias, and, in spring, the highways and byways of Magnolia Springs become a bower of azalea, wisteria, dogwood, and magnolia blossoms.
Central to this community is the river — today the Magnolia River remains the only river route mail delivery in the continental United States. Quaint boathouses grace each shore, water birds swoop and dive, and the river banks are lush with wildlife and greenery. In decades past, the river was the “highway” for all commerce and communication, with steamers, sailboats and paddle wheelers connecting the river’s residents with the outside world.
For over one hundred years, the Springs has maintained a Community Association, housed in the historic Association Building, adjacent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Chapel, also more than 100 years of age. At the Association, community members meet once a month to share food, fun, facts, and camaraderie — keeping everyone abreast of the news and needs of the various residents and providing yet another link in the bonds of friendship and fellowship that are truly peculiar to Magnolia Springs.
Despite the delightful and unassuming “small town” ambience of Magnolia Springs, the additional advantages of metropolitan living are only minutes away — both Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, lie less than an hour’s drive from the quiet, tree-lined byways of the Springs. Opera, symphonies, theatre, and cultural activities are abundant, both in Mobile and Pensacola and in Baldwin County — opportunities for cultural enrichment and diverting entertainment are everywhere.
Magnolia Springs, a successful mix of Southern and Northern, of native-born and transplant, epitomizes the “New South” yet, at the same time, glories in the true application of the phrase “Southern hospitality.” The narrow lanes and shaded streets, lined with gracious homes and well-tended gardens, present an appealing presentation of life at a slightly more relaxed pace but with limitless possibilities.