Orange Beach Bay Circle Historic Marker

 

BAY CIRCLE (back side - facing east)

Elsie E. Diehl was the Postmaster of the first Orange Beach Post Office in 1901, and at a second location in 1921. Just to the west, the Orange Beach Hotel was built in 1923 by Hilda Callaway Dietz. She operated the hotel until the war began in 1941 when the coast was essentially closed to tourists and fishing.

Just east of here, Captain Dan Callaway’s c. 1907 home and summer kitchen are still in use. The kitchen was a store in the 1930s, operated by Emmons Brown. It had gas pumps serving boats and the few cars in the area. In 1937, this became the third post office with Minnie Lee Callaway Brown as Postmaster.

In 1971, Capt. Dan’s home became the retirement home of David DeJarnette, Father of Alabama Archaeology. The Orange Beach Hotel was demolished in 2015 with a new building of similar design built in its place to operate as the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach.

Bay Circle historical marker 1

“I don’t need to tell you how much I love history and I look forward to our next four markers,” Childress-Long said. “Bay Circle, this is the fourth one on the Alabama 200. But I’m also wanting one on the Backcountry Trail, Caswell, Bear Point and then one for the Intracoastal Canal. And that will give Orange Beach 10 markers. We also hope to be able to have a little brochure with the markers on it and all of these people who are biking and walking around they can [stop] at City Hall or over at the museum and we can tell them, ‘Hey if you want to know something about Orange Beach, go look for these markers.’”

DeJarnette thanked everyone who was involved with getting the marker put in place. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “I also want to thank my parents for having the good judgement to retire here and finding us a wonderful place to come. When they passed away Jim and I said well, maybe we better just go on down and take care of the home place. So we did. I brought with me copies of my father’s book. It’s his World War II journal and photography. He was an archaeologist but he was also a terrific photographer.”

Harms shared a story about her family history and her ties to Orange Beach. “My father came with one of the dredges that dredged the canal,” she said. “And my great aunt who owned the hotel at that time had a party. And he and some of the other workers were staying at the hotel and my mother who lived over here [on Bay Circle] went over there and they ended up getting married. So if it hadn’t been for that hotel, I don’t know who my father would’ve been.”

Those in attendance enjoyed the story, and the public is invited to enjoy all of the stories and history depicted on the six markers around the city.

For more information about ALABAMA200, visit www.alabama200.org. To see a video of the unveiling, visit the City of Orange Beach Facebook page