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About the Museum>Mission >History >Work in Progress >Milestones
The Mission of the Baldwin County Heritage Museum is to preserve the culture of the farm communities of early Baldwin County through the creation of a home for historically significant buildings, documents and artifacts from community life.
The Baldwin County Heritage Museum Association, Inc. was organized in April 1981 by a group of area residents who wished to gather artifacts, tools, machinery, the histories and ethnic cultures of the men and women who settled in the county about the turn of the century. They commited to design and build a museum in which to showcase their collections.
Understanding the importance of this project for Baldwin County, museum orignal founders and board members, John and Ruby Haupt donated five acres of land as a home for the museum. In June, 1983, the land was dedicated in a ground breaking ceremony. The site, named “Frieden Im Wald” or Peace in the Forest, provided a rural setting that realistically represented the land as it had been at the turn of the century. The conservation of this environment plays an important role in the preservation plans and activities of the museum.
The design for the grounds was done by the Landscape Architecture Program of Auburn University. There are over a hundred species of native flora and fauna growing on the grounds.
Construction on the first building began in 1984 and was opened to the public Oct. 31, 1987. It resembles a turn of the century barn with a working windmill in front. The windmill was donated by John & Ruby Haupt in memory of their parents Paul & Marie Haupt and Henry C. & Frances Vikers. The original building contained three public rooms – an all purpose classroom for lectures and meetings, an exhibit room and a large storage area for donated artifacts.
The second building is called the Haupt Building in honor of the couple who donated the land. It was completed in late 1987 and dedicated on February 28, 1998. It houses vintage farm equipment, tools and machinery. Also housed in this building is a 1911 Titan Tractor. (see Milestones)
The third edition was a working blacksmiths shop though it was not developed into a full exhibit because of the unexpected addition of the fourth building, a 1908 church moved to its new home on the museum grounds in 1998. (see Milestones) This building is now under the care of an area Blacksmith Club that is completing the structure and working their trade on the museum grounds to preserve the important history of this great skill.
In 2005 the Board of Directors voted to begin an extensive renovation of the original storage wing of the museum. This will house the Baldwin County History Walk, The Heritage Theater, and an Exhibit Hall. The History Walk opened June 8, 2008, the Exhibit Hall Aug. 31, 2008, and the Heritage Theater in January of 2009.
The fifth building is a gift from the town of Loxley. In 2006, they created a miniature Potato Shed on the grounds of the museum. During the Winter of 2007 the trunks of trees felled by Hurricane Ivan were sawed into planks and used to build seating. The structure has become a small outdoor theater which hosts special events.
2007 also brought the old Miflin School House to the Museum grounds. This sixth building is a Snook Foundation Project. They have remodeled the exterior. The interior restoration has been added to the five year plan of the museum.
Three pole barns constructed with donated telephone poles from EMC were added around the meadow in 2008.
A pole barn the length of the Haupt building is planned for 2009 as well as a general renovation of this building. The addition of insulation and circulating fans are also on the schedule.
The seventh building will be a General Mercantile Store built with private donations and furnished with items from the museum collection is scheduled for completion in 2010.
Saturday, November 26,2007 marked another milestone in the history of Baldwin County Heritage Museum. Our windmill, damaged in October of 2004 by hurricane Ivan was reassembled and is now in operating condition. The windmill is the logo and symbol of BCHM. Baldwin County Heritage Museum relies on donations, grants and gifts to operate. It is staffed entirely by volunteers. A calamity such as the damaged windmill is a major issue for this institution.
Charles Ebert , Jr., owner of Ebert Insurance Agency of Foley has worked to keep the windmill in good order over the years and he provided the funds for this newest restoration. Ralph Veller, BCHM Chair has spearheaded this project. The repair work has been done by Stacy Hussey of Elba, Alabama. John Schaff owner of Foley Implement Co. of Foley loaned the lift to raise the workers to the correct height. Lawrence Le Gault owner of Boom & Bucket Truck Crane Service of Orange Beach donated the use of his crane to lift the repaired unit to the top of the tower. BCHM is deeply grateful for these men. Without their donations of time, equipment and money the repairs could not have been made.
John & Ruby Haupt donated the funds to purchase the windmill an Aeromoter that was purchased from Mueller Pump, Conway, AR in 1985. They requested it be dedicated to their parents: Paul & Marie Haupt and Henry & Frances Vickers.
Bon Secour Fisheries brought the windmill to the museum on one of their company trucks. Southern Farm Supply provided the crane to erect the windmill tower. Alms Pump Service put the well down. Original volunteers that helped erect the windmill included Larry Engle, Steve Bailey, Richard Peterson, Joe Bouzan, Charles Koehler Jr., Charlie Ebert, Jr., Ronnie Torres & Godbee Smith.
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