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Will Stone Store donated to town of Lowndesboro

Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate recognizes Reg and Lila Dryer for the donation, deeding and dedication of the historic Will Stone Store, which dates back to 1820 and is the last remaining building of the Lowndesboro business district, to the Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation. Among those looking on are the Rev. Gary Burton, past president of the Alabama Historical Association, Wayne Taylor, president of the Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation and Lowndes County Commission Robert Harris.

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

“I hope we realize what we have here is unique,” said Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate of his historic town.

On the heels of the donation of the Lowndesboro School, which dates from 1883, by owners Lucius and Myrtle Evans to The Elmore Bolling Foundation, Reg and Lila Dryer donated and deeded the historic Will Stone Store, which dates to 1820, to Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation last Monday.

The store, which is the last standing building of the Lowndesboro Business District, was donated in memory of “Miss Dot” (Dorothy J. Dickson), who served as president of the Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation when she died.

The Rev. Gary Burton, past president of the Alabama Historical Association, said the town was thankful to Miss Dot Dickson “for her influence in the preservation and history of this wonderful town.”

He also said, “We are grateful today for the generosity of Reg and Lila (Dryer) and the transfer of this property to the faithful stewardship of the Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation.”

“It is a real pleasure to be able to give this store to the, I want to say, the rightful owners after a long period,” said Reg Dryer.

He also acknowledged Miss Dot Dickson, “who gave so much of her time and efforts to Landmarks she needed to be remembered.”

“Landmarks accepts your generous gift you have given to this community. Landmarks also accepts the responsibility to make every effort to preserve this old building for the future,” Wayne Taylor, current president of the Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation said. “We will work with you, the community and others to make it something we can all be proud of.”

He said a bronze plaque was ordered in memory of Miss Dot.

“Miss Dot certainly was an inspiration to a lot of us. And she would be very happy, I know today, to see that this store wound up in the hands of the community,” said Taylor.

“Reg and Lila, let me say to you, you are also an inspiration us as wonderful neighbors, friends and an integral part of this community,” he added.

Lowndes County Commissioner Robert Harris said this was another great date for the history of the county and town of Lowndesboro.

“On behalf of the Lowndes County Commission anything we can do to further this group. We are glad to do what we can,” Harris said.

Pate read a proclamation from the town praising Reg Dryer for his work with the town.

By way of history, Taylor said the Will Stone Store is commonly thought to be the oldest building in town and is often called “The Indian Trading Post,” which possibly goes back to the 1820’s.

He said, “It is the last standing building of the old Lowndesboro business district” which burned in 1927. He also said a study being made to track the early days of the building.

Taylor announced that the Lowndesboro Landmarks Foundation is sponsoring a symposium now under a grant request through the Alabama Humanities Foundation, which he said it hoped will be approved next month.

He said if all goes well, in the spring of next year there will be three presentations in Lowndesboro free to the public at CME Church in March, April and May with a reception at Marengo House on the Creek Indians of this area.

Dottie Dickson Skipper, daughter of Miss Dot, said she remembered coming to the Jimmy Crum Store as the Will Stone Store was called in her childhood to purchase ice cream cones for a nickel.