Friday, April 15, 2016

Florence Alabama 1

I bought an extended warranty last December on my RV. My two year manufacture's warranty was almost up andeven though I'm not a fan of extended warranties, I just felt with something as complex as this RV, with all it's multiple systems, rattling down the road, it might be prudent to have one. Since I bought the warranty in December, they could not do an inspection on the water systems because I was all winterized. I've been wanting to get the water inspection down but it has been hard to get it scheduled since I seem to move quite a bit. Finally, I am staying someplace long enough to get inspected and today was the day. Ralph, the inspector, drove two hours from Birmingham north to Florence Alabama to get the inspection done. I am pleased to say that my RV is now completely under warranty.

Florence Alabama is in the northwestern part of the state and there are a ton of sights to see. I am staying in McFarland Park which is a city owned park right on the Tennessee River. I can watch the barges going up and down the river. On my back side, there is a fishing pond and down the road a piece a fishing pier. Lots of gold finches and cardinals.

I started off going to the W.C. Handy home and museum.

From the brochure:

“...known as the Father of the Blues, and this museum houses the most complete collection of his personal papers and artifacts in the world. It includes his famous trumpet, his personal piano, handwritten sheet music, photographs, household furnishings and a wealth of memorabilia.”

Ephretta was my personal tour guide. The front part of the building was Handy's two room log cabin that he grew up in. The back part of the building was a combination museum and community meeting place. I think what I found most interesting was the cast list for the movie 'St. Louis Blues'. It seemed like they had cast most of the predominant black stars of the day in the movie. Notice Billy Preston is in the cast. He was only about two years old and in later years went on to play with the Rolling Stones.

The House
The Cast List
A nice note from Mr. Gershwin which says "Mr. Handy,  whose early 'blues' songs are the fore fathers of this work  With admiration and best wishes.   George Gershwin Aug 30, 1926 "

This was a quilt in the house - I thought it was rather a unique quilting style

I then visited the 'Wright-Rosenbaum house.

From the brochure:

“In 1939, Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design their home, the only Writght-designed structure in Alabama. One of the earliest Usonian designs, the house has been called one of the purest examples of Wright's unique style.”

This house was a little different from other FLW houses. Usually, Wright would design for very wealthy clients. Startng in the late thirties, he started designing “starter” homes, even though his starter homes did not really have starter house prices. Wright not only designed the house, but he also designed the furniture. Wright was known to be rather a prima donna with his homes. He expected you to live in the house exactly as he designed it. He was known to drop in on some of his houses and make a big scene if things were out of place. Mildred, this house's owner, lived in terror of Wright dropping in and did not change a single thing in the house until after Wright died. Sadly, Wright never dropped in. Garrett was my personal tour guide here. The nice thing about being the only one on a tour is that you get very personalized attention. We explored every nook and cranny of the house.

They built the house around the piano because it wouldn't fit through any of the doors or windows

Onward to the Pope's Tavern Museum.

From the brochure:

“One of the oldest structures in Florence, Pop's Tavern was used as a stagecoach stop, a tavern and inn, and as a hospital during the Civil War. “

The tour guide here was a history professor from the University of North Alabama and boy, did he have stories. This time there were three others on the tour with me. I became quite the star as Wayne (tour guide) would pick up all these weird artifacts in the house and ask us what they were. I knew them all because my parents who are antique nuts, had them in our house as I was growing up. Butter churns, candle molds, etc. As the only Yankee on the tour, I also got an earful about the Southern Cause and learned a bit about current day southern attitudes.
1903 Edison Phonograph that used cartridge recordings.  Tour guide actually played it for us

This statute is very similar to one my mother has in her house.  It is Carlota, wife of Maximillian, emperor of Mexico

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