A New York Times article called Fairhope “a small southern town that’s been holding on to its charm for more than a century.”
Fairhope is about to get a bit more charming – if that’s at all possible – with the development of a plaza where the city’s clock is located at the corner of Section Street and Fairhope Avenue.
Fairhope-based Christian Preus Landscape Architecture developed the plan for the new plaza which is expected to be completed by the end of year. In the coming months, an official name will be designated for the property, which is approximately 77.5 feet by 26 feet, or 2,015 square feet.
Mayor Sherry Sullivan said the Council will approve an official name in the coming months and have talked of naming it for someone with historical significance to Fairhope. Sullivan said the work is scheduled to be completed by November, and she envisions the plaza becoming a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors.
The project will include a gathering space with raised seating, planters and shade trees throughout, said Paige Crawford, Fairhope’s Director of Community Affairs.
“If visitors are looking for a quick spot to stop and take a break from site seeing and shopping this will be a great area right in the center of town,” Crawford observes. “We will be incorporating a lot of the landscaping that you already see throughout town including seasonal flowers and shade trees. These selections will be made by our horticulture supervisor in the Public Works Department.”
Flower beds and carefully designed landscaping abounds in downtown Fairhope, and the new plaza will harmonize with its surroundings. Flowers beds and other plantings are a hallmark of Fairhope, so much so that the city was one of the first in the Southeast to hire a horticulturist.
The plaza’s focal point is the pole clock that has stood on this corner since 1989, the year the family of a Fairhope man donated it to the city in his memory. The clock will be set off with a brick base surrounded by a flower bed. The plaza’s cement pavers will create a circular pattern.
“The radial nature of the site design is reflective of the circular forms of the intersections throughout downtown Fairhope,” notes Crawford, “and pays homage to the Fairhope clock.”
A street clock, or post clock, was once used as the town clock, and was typically installed by jewelers who also used it as signage. These distinctive clocks were often a beloved landmark, as Fairhope’s has become.
*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of the City of Fairhope