Goldwater Sweep 1

Goldwater Sweep

This Frank Lockwood design at 3230 Thomas Avenue was built ca 1930 by Alphonse Levy, who was founder and president of the highly regarded Al Levy’s, a ladies apparel store on Montgomery Street downtown.  The house is a good example of Lockwood’s penchant for “drunken brickwork”, and lends veracity to Jeff Benton’s claim that the architect would ply the masons with drink to increase their enthusiasm for the task. Keen visitors will note that several years later Sam Schloss (Schloss & Kahn, remember) so admired this house that he built its mirror image directly across the street.

But the best story of this house has to be the Goldwater Sweep. Back in the early 1960s, our few local Republicans had a club and met in one another’s living rooms. They all ran for office just to be good sports. None of them ever expected to serve, because they never won. Back then, this was the home of William “Bill” Joseph Jr, and it’s a safe bet that much Repub plotting went on in this house. Bill was persuaded to run for the County Commission in 1963, and was carried into office by the 1964 Alabama Goldwater Sweep. Astoundingly, every Repub on the ticket won. That year my friend Bill became the consummate commissioner and went on to serve in that office for the next 40-odd years. And just think, it all started right here.

-Charles Humphries

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