Barnes School For Boys

Barnes School for Boys

Now at 512 South Court Street, was a desperate salvage of the Montgomery County Historical Society, and now serves as Society headquarters. In 1996 that group moved the landmark from Catoma Street, where it had been evicted by GSA’s Federal Courthouse project. The Barnes School closed in 1942, and the structure endured many uses after that, finally becoming a paint store that painted it white. The Historical Society, determined to make the building look authentic, but unable to remove the paint, chose to repaint the walls brick-red, and then hand paint the mortar joints.

Barnes School PriorThis dwelling, shown where it was originally built on Clayton Street, close to Court Street, was the oldest surviving brick building in Montgomery; it was built by John Figh around 1837. Figh was a member of First Pres, and was one of the contractors that built the first State Capitol in Montgomery. He also built the pre-war University of Alabama; when the Yankees burned the UA in 1865, Figh’s son built it back. This house served as the headquarters of the Army of Occupation in 1865. In 1906 it became the Barnes School for Boys, which imparted a solid conservative outlook to several generations of Alabama leaders. This picture shows the school in operation ca 1922; my wife’s uncle Frank Parker is one of the Platoon Leaders in this view.  Frank’s older brother Charlie had been battalion commander a few years before.


-Charles Humphries

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