Recent Entries


July 12, 2004


Mason's Bend Community Center, Hale County, Alabama

The reason for a trip to Alabama was to see Auburn University's Rural Studio's works. It turned out to be a real adventure.

akron boys and girls club.jpg

Akron Boys and Girls Club, above
Akron's works and many other sites of the late Samuel Mockbee's brainchild Rural Studio are located in Hale County, Alabama, about 30 minutes' drive south of Tuskeegee. You can get a map of their projects from Rural Studio's World Headquarters in Newbern, Hale County. Newbern is about a 30-minute drive from Selma, beginning of the famous civil rights march terminating in Montgomery. The map includes many private properties, and the owners rights must be respected. We took photos only of the public spaces. Akron was blip of a town on the Black Warrior River, and when we showed up taking pictures we were quite the curiosity. It became apparent that everyone in the town waves at everyone else when passing, whether by car, tractor, or foot, even if you are standing catty corner 50 yards away. We went to the local town hall to find the location of the third, mystery building Rural Studio had worked on in the town (this was before we picked up the map in Newbern). Everyone was kind, a little bemused, and perhaps getting used to strangers showing up asking where the Pavilion was. The town hallers sent us to the grocery store who sent us to the dam but the trail went cold. Turns out it's out in the woods in someone's field and we'd have to trespass to see it. So we moved on.


1. boysdorm.newbern.jpg

The nice lady at the Magnolia Grove Mansion in Greensboro told us where we could get a map. After seeing what Greensboro had, (to come) we made it down to Newbern to pick one up and see where the Auburn architecture undergrads live and work, in their own creations. Above is one of the dorms the boys stay in out back underneath the Supershed, designed and built by previous years' students. They also have a brilliant outdoor shower and lavatory. The girls stay in the big grey victorian mansion that houses the administrative offices and kitchen.



The Hero Knowledge Cafe is a job clearing house where people can do their own research. The inside is here: View image. Behind the cafe is the Childrens center also designed and built by Rural Studio students.

Masons Bend Community Center


Masons Bend is a community that has a cluster of houses built by Rural studio. The closest town is Sawyerville. While we were there, a guy drove up and said he grew up nearby, went to college at Brown, saw our Rhode Island plates and had to say something. He was home and checking out this Rural Studio phenomenon. We told him to get a map and pointed him around. Above is the community center.

Perry Lakes Park Pavilion and Restrooms, Perry County


This pavilion in a rural park is built using cedar accents as are the restrooms, something that becomes very helpful with pit toilets. The toilets were individually designed and brilliant, cleverly integrating the open space of the park while affording differing degrees of privacy. Outside view View image and inside view from the sitting position: View image

Posted by Lauraleigh on July 12, 2004 02:36 AM
Category: States

Thanks for the travelog (big improvement over post cards). The highlights seem fun. I think a door with a crescent moon cut-out would add a lot to the Perry Lakes Park Pavilion. Adventure on!

Posted by: e-Mom on July 13, 2004 02:59 PM

so as you go about your business of looking what else do you do??

thanks for doing this i realize it takes time to put together something like this and it can get in the way of fishing and the like.

Posted by: ddavis on July 20, 2004 01:27 PM

this is great! thanks for posting the pictures and words. i'm inspired to do a similar trip!!

Posted by: jayma on July 20, 2004 09:04 PM
Email this page
Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Designed & Hosted by the BootsnAll Travel Network