Magnolia Springs, Alabama, is located on the Magnolia River in Baldwin County. The headwaters for the river comes from the many springs in the area. It was established due due a Spanish land grant in the 1800s. After the Civil War, many families and descendants of soldiers on both sides moved to the area. During the 19th Century, many Creoles from the Mobile area also came to the area as their own community started to fail.
With so many pine forests, Magnolia Springs became known for the production of turpentine. In 1865 during the Civil War, the owners actually burned down the stills to prevent them from being confiscated by the Union Army. Around the beginning of the 20th Century, chemical firms from Chicago came down and took water samples around the town. In their opinion, the springs around Magnolia Springs were deemed to be the purest in the world.
The town still boasts the only river postal delivery system in the United States, and you can find many boathouses along the banks. It also has a number of houses that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was finally incorporated in 2006.
Historical Marker Inscription
Settlement of this area began in the early 1700’s and was expedited by a series of Spanish land grants in the early 1800’s. During the 1819-33 time period a brick factory along the south river bank supplied brick for construction of Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay. In 1891 the community of Magnolia Springs was established when the first subdivision was platted. The village’s name was a combination of two local assets – the ever-flowing springs and the towering canopy of magnolia trees. Nestled along the banks of the Magnolia River, the village drew residents from Alabama, Vermont, Illinois, and Missouri. Those early settlers built homes and businesses along the main transportation artery, the Magnolia River. Early businesses included turpentine, lumber, and mercantile operations. Inns and hotels were established for the growing tourist trade. Steamers, such as “The Magnolia” brought supplies and passengers to the area. Today, mail is still delivered by boat, as it has been since 1916. It is the last year-round river mail delivery in the U.S.
For more than 100 years, the Magnolia Springs Community Association, with monthly potlucks, kept people abreast of local events. The Community Hall erected in 1894 still provides a meeting place for residents. A volunteer fire department established in 1961 serves the safety needs of the community. It was housed in a small cinder block structure behind the historic Community Hall and adjacent to Saint Paul’s Chapel (erected in 1902). Today, the Magnolia Springs Volunteer Fire Department has its own modern facility on the former grounds of the old Magnolia Springs School (the school was erected in 1927 and destroyed by fire in 1985). By the turn of the 21st century, residents of the little unincorporated village moved into a new historical phase when the Town of Magnolia Springs was incorporated in 2006. Magnolia Springs, a successful blend of natives and transplants, continue to offer the warmth of the traditional southern hospitality and the appeal of treasured historic heritage.
Magnolia Springs, Alabama
N 30° 24.086, W 087° 46.266