SUMMERDALE, Alabama — Wet weather drove the festivities inside but did not dampen spirits as the Sonora Community Center was filled to capacity Sunday, April 22 for the dedication of the historic marker for the Sonora School and Community Hall.
Entertainment was provided by the Sandspur Band and community organizer Will Underwood read the history of the Sonora School and Community Hall, which will be on display at the historic site, located on County Road 32, five miles east of Alabama 59.
The event was presented by the Baldwin County Historic Development Commission and Baldwin County Commission as part of the Alabama 200, celebrating the state bicentennial. Also on hand for the ceremony was Claudia Campbell representing the Historic Commission.
The historic marker reads as follows:
Sonora School and Community Hall
“The Sonora School, located at the site of the present day Sonora Community Hall, was opened for students around 1901. The land for the school was donated by Mr. William A. Wilson. Miss Ethel Dodd was hired as the first teacher. The building also housed the Union Sunday School starting in 1912 and served as a hub of community activity. The school served children through the 7th grade until 1921 when consolidating with Summerdale School which provided classes through the 12th grade. No longer in use, the old school building was dismantled, the contents sold, and the proceeds used to construct the Sonora Community Hall. The Hall was completed in 1925 with material salvaged from the old school building. It has served as a gathering place for 4-H clubs, Ladies Aid, the Sonora Extension Homemaker’s Club, and community potluck dinners. The building is maintained by local volunteers and remains a vital center of community activity.”
“The community of Sonora was named in 1901 by the wife of the first postmaster, G.L. Sharretts. Situated near Red Hill Ford on Baker Branch and the intersection of travel routes between Silverhill, Magnolia Springs, Marlow Ferry, and Summerdale on Dixie Road, settlement of the area was promoted by the Southern Plantation Development Company. Mr. Eli A. Summers, a land agent for the company and owner of a nearby hotel, and Mr. William Wilson, who owned a livery stable, courted potential settlers who visited the area by boat via Fish River from Mobile hoping to lure them to settle here. The community was settled by a diversity of ethnic groups who engaged in a variety of agricultural ventures. Although the post office was relocated to Summerdale in 1905 with the routing of the L&N Railroad’s Bay Minette to Foley spur line, Sonora has remained an active farming community with a rich history of truck, dairy, and row-crop farming.”