Thursday, January 18, 2018

Foley Model Train Museum and Holmes Medical Museum - Free!

It continues to be a crazy, unusually cold winter here at the coast. On Tuesday, it warms up a bit. We jump on the bike and zoom over to Foley.
We get a nice surprise when we arrive. The city has a welcome event going on for snowbirds, and are handing out free coffee and doughnuts. Yes!!
 Foley was founded in 1901, when John Foley arrived from Chicago and bought up 40,000 acres. 
John was an interesting character. He created and sold Foley’s Pine Tar and Honey, a 'cough syrup', while developing Foley into a town. 
John divided and sold lots, built sawmills and a grist mill. He also convinced the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to expand a line to Foley, by promising to pay for the cross ties.
John built the Magnolia Inn in 1908. Yes, I know, we posted this picture of the Magnolia Inn before - but we found out something very interesting about this building. There is a secret tunnel underneath it! You can watch a short youtube video about it - and John Snook. John Snook took the cold war seriously, and built the tunnel to double as an air raid shelter. He also trained the women employees of his phone company to be sharp shooters!
Our first stop is the Foley Railroad Museum.
The museum is open from 10am to 2 pm, and admission is free.
 The museum is housed in the old train depot, and has a small collection of railroad equipment and other artifacts from Foley's early days. 
It also has a 24 x 60  "O" gauge model railroad layout. Alan Goldman donated his model railroad to Foley in 2004. 
The Caboose Club went to Montgomery, dis-assembled the tracks, and then erected it in a custom built annex.
 The track is huge; it's 24' X 60' and has over a quarter mile of track. 
When we visited, there was 6 model trains running, plus a smaller train running around the city park. There are also several buildings that are animated as well. 
Next, we visited the Holmes Medical Museum. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 10am to 2pm. Admission is free.

I am going to take a moment to digress, because there is a great story about the Baldwin County seat.  In 1900, the state legislature ordered the seat be changed from Daphne to Bay Minette. When Daphne resisted, the people in Bay Minette made up a fictitious murder. While the sheriff of Daphne was out chasing a killer that didn't exist, the citizens of Bay Minette seized the county records and moved the county seat. Ingenious!
Early Centrifuge

This was Baldwin County's first hospital. Dr. Sibley Holmes opened the hospital in 1936. He and, later, his son Dr. William Holmes, operated the hospital on the second floor. In 1958, the new county hospital was built and the Holmes family locked up the old hospital and walked away.  
Exam Room

Although some changes were made when it was converted into a museum, it is still very much a time capsule. The door, above, led to the roof where a lab used to exist. The lab was built on stilts to help keep down the risk of fire.

Dr. Holmes wanted to be a surgeon, but he never had time to take the extra training. The hospital was mainly used for births. The museum has documented 300 Holmes babies, but there are probably many more.
Dr. Holme's Office

Dr. William Holmes was known fondly as Dr. Buddy and his wife, Philomene, was a nurse.
Disinfecting Station for the Operating Room

Since the doctor made house calls, Philomene often had to provide medical care on her own and people often said she was just as good of a doctor as her husband.
Blood Transfusion Stand

Dr. Holmes and his father used the operating room to deliver babies, but would also schedule minor surgeries like tonsillectomies and appendectomies.
Operating Room

Surgeons would drive in from Mobile to do these surgeries. If you look in the back right hand corner, you can see the sponge stand, which they would use to count sponges after a surgery.
Anesthesia Machine

Some say the old hospital has ghosts, but sadly, we didn't see anything.
After a fun day exploring these two museums (and eating free doughnuts!) we decide to try a local place we had heard of - Gooroo's. I try the fried fish po' boy and the Biker orders the Adam Bomb, a hamburger stuffed with jalapenos and cheese. The fish batter needs a little more seasoning, but that is a small quibble with what was otherwise an excellent meal.


Post a Comment