(ODD)yssey, Blog Post

Andalusia: Home to yummy cakes, giant white shirts and Ward’s store

Sweetums and I were on one of our road trips last month when he saw a billboard that read: “Dean’s Cake House.” He noted the billboard but kept driving. It’s like he doesn’t even know me, y’all.

Do I look like the type who’s going to bypass something called a “cake house?” We turned into town to take a photo of one of the roadside giants we’d never seen in person: the Giant White Dress Shirt. Yep, the starched shirt on a pole stands in front of the Chamber of Commerce to honor the city’s past as a major textile hub.

Thankfully (for Sweetums), we had to drive right past Dean’s Cake House. Although it was a modest building, what was inside was pure scrumptiousness. Ms. Dean (Dean Jacobs) is the baker and she specializes in old-fashioned seven-layer cakes, just like grandma used to make. Cakes lined the shelves but, since we were staying in a hotel, I didn’t plan to buy a whole one. Instead, I looked in the cooler where cake was offered by the slice. But it was too difficult to choose between them so …. I left the store with a slice each of lemon, chocolate and caramel.

They were all slices of grandma’s love and yumminess but the caramel, y’all. Omigosh.

Then we took a tour of Andalusia, a small south Alabama town where I’d never spent any time. It was so quaint, with a pioneer village, historic depot and museum, a historic theater and an amazing store with a collection of old-fashioned toys on display. We also loved the many murals painted on downtown businesses by artist Wes Hardin, including one marking the site where Hank Williams Sr. married his wife Audrey in 1944.

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Hank Williams Sr. and Audrey Sheppard were married in Andalusia in 1944. This mural is painted on the side of the building where they were married. It was a garage at the time and they were married by a justice of the peace. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)

I also adored the Dairy Queen, which is unusual in that it is made up of two buildings — the original walk-up dairy bar and the building next door, which includes indoor seating. Click here to see my post about it.

Andalusia began as a trading post called Montezuma along the Conecuh River. The city’s website says:

“After the Creek Indian War of 1812, legend has it that Andrew Jackson traveled through this area marching troops en route to New Orleans initially marking a ‘Three-Notch Trail’ through this wilderness enabling him and his troops to find their way back. It is believed that he or some of his troops camped just north of the present Andalusia city limits near the Heath Community at Soldier’s Head Creek. …. Since the Three-Notch passed through the area of Andalusia and Troy, streets in both of these towns have been named ‘Three-Notch’ to commemorate the road.”

To celebrate the town’s textile history, a giant white dress shirt was erected outside the Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps it’s the World’s Largest … I’ve never come across any others.

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This giant white dress shirt at the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce commemorates the city’s textile-manufacturing past. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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This giant white dress shirt at the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce commemorates the city’s textile-manufacturing past. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Mosaics at the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)

 

A really nice pioneer village was created at the depot, which houses the Three-Notch Museum.

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The old River Falls Post Office located on the ground of the historic depot in Andalusia, AL. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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The old River Falls Post Office located on the ground of the historic depot in Andalusia, AL. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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The old River Falls Post Office located on the ground of the historic depot in Andalusia, AL. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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An old store and service station near the depot in Andalusia. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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An old store and service station near the depot in Andalusia. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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The historic depot in Andalusia, AL, houses the Three-Notch Museum. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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Me at the old River Falls Post Office located on the ground of the historic depot in Andalusia, AL. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)
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This was the most amazing store! It sells high-end men’s clothing and watches and it’s decorated with the owner’s collection of antique toys, including cars and trucks and all kinds of tin toys. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)

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The Commercial Bank clock. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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The Commercial Bank clock. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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An old vintage ad painted in downtown Andalusia. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Faded vintage ad. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Mural in Andalusia. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Courthouse in Andalusia. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Inside the Surly Mermaid Deli. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Outisde the Surly Mermaid Deli. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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The Clark Theater in Andalusia. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
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Another historic depot in Andalusia. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)

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