Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Amy's Extraordinary Alabama: Fort McClellan

By Amy

"Why is it I only realize how much I miss the foothills of my childhood when I return for a visit?" I posted this question on twitter and Facebook during a recent visit to my parents'. To which a dear friend replied: "that's why they call it home."

I travel ninety miles to visit my parents every couple of months. A few weeks ago when I went I took a new route for part of the journey. One that took me through an old military base that closed in 1999. As I drove through an area of Fort McClellan I had never seen I was struck by how time had changed the area surrounding my childhood home.

I visited the base as a child. My dad as a member of the National Guard had privileges on base, but my visual knowledge of the base was limited. Driving along an area in the eastern part I realized the government owned some of the most beautiful land in our county. Untouched by habitation or development.

When it was announced in 1997 that Fort McClellan would close everyone worried what impact it would have economically. I haven't studied the economic impact now twelve years later, but it seems that the county is doing as well as any other area in the country considering all things. While a portion of the base belongs to the Alabama National Guard the majority of it has been given to the city. Many of the homes are being remodeled. Businesses are moving in.

I saw signs of growth. Base homes remodeled and sold. The senior officers area known as Buckner Circle showing signs of life. These more upscale homes of the base restored and now home to civilian families. Bicycles and swing sets dot the back yards.

Time has transformed these areas.

Yet other areas remain abandoned. As the detour wound me through the base I was struck by the dichotomy, the juxtaposition of it all. Vines overgrown, grass too high around buildings now empty with stories untold.

Time transformed. Time abandoned.

To view more of these photos visit the set on my Flickr here. I'll also be sharing more photos I took from other areas of the county in the coming days.

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1 comment:

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

How incredible. My husband was stationed there a short time long ago and will be fascinated by your story and photos. I've visited Fort McClellan in the past and cannot imagine it in a state of disrepair, but clearly it is. Great photos - well done!

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