This photograph was taken about 1910 in downtown Marianna from a high point of the bank building, looking east. We can establish the approximate date it was taken by the few very new automobiles. A photo we have which was taken about five years earlier, has no cars in the photograph. This area is now the Confederate Memorial Park where the Confederate monument and the gazebo are located.
This photograph has written on it: "Main Street Marianna, Sat a busy day."
Saturday was the day the farmers came to town from their farms throughout the area, some from miles away, by-way-of their only means of transportation, horses and buggies or wagons. Their families often came with them to purchase food items they could not raise themselves, medical supplies and dry goods which they needed for making their clothes and for other household items.
Trees were planted from the corner of the property in the middle of town to the Courthouse, with hitching posts all along the area. The trees provided shade in the hot weather and water was furnished in the area for watering the horses. A great deal of the area shown is covered with horses and buggies or wagons on this particular day.
You can see the fire bell on a tower with a weather vane on the top of it to determine the wind direction. This bell was rung when there was a fire, but, the fire wagons were located down the hill near the railroad. The fire wagons were pulled by men holding onto a long rope, the length of which was determined by how many men showed up to pull the fire wagon. We are told that there was a piece of metal on the back wheel of the fire wagon which clanged every time the wheel turned. That let people know that the fire wagon was coming! Oftentimes, they said that the clanging noise got less and less often as the men tired of pulling the wagon and began to go slower and slower. We have no records of how many fires were extinguished by whatever method they had available, but we do know that there was a very bad fire in downtown Marianna in the late 1800's or early 1900's and it was determined that there would never be any more wooden buildings built in downtown. Many of the buildings standing today were actually built in the early 1900's, as is obvious in this photo.
Directly in front of the area where the horses are tied, you will note those buildings also look very much as they do today. The west most two story building has the same sign on the top of it today as it did in this photograph. It was found in the attic when Main Street Marianna was encouraging renovation of the downtown buildings in the early 1990's. It was returned to the front of the building. It was, and still is known as The Russ Building. Yes, the same family who owned The Russ House.
You can see The Daffin Building, and all the buildings east of there, looking very much as they do today....105 years or so later!
Back to the photograph, you will note all the dirt streets. We are told by old-timers that it was either dusty or muddy, not much in between. The trash blew from inside the open doors and windows of the stores, and garbage collection was not a high City priority item, according to reports we have been given. You can see evidence of the trash in the photograph.
You will also note that electric wires are running through the area, and underneath, on the same poles, sagging very low, are the telephone lines which are furnishing a very new service to town. We don't know exactly where the electricity was being generated at this point in time, but we do know that the dam at US 90 on the Merritt's Mill Pond did generate electricity at one time.
On the upper right of the photo, the further-most building showing is the front facade of the original Citizen State Bank which burned some years ago. It was located on the corner of Lafayette and Jefferson Streets. On the corner of Lafayette and Green Streets you see the four-storied Liddon Building, torn down to build the SunTrust Bank, formerly Citizen Bank. On the right side of the photograph there are buildings along where the cars are parked, one of which is a boarding house. The original Chipola Hotel would be on the extreme right of the photograph, though not shown here.
Two very interesting things are shown in the lower right hand of the scene. There is a 3-sided box full of sand, and another crude contraption with a tin roof. These two facilities were for storing the "droppings" of the horses, and the sand was used to spread over the area to help with the "stench" that occurred when it was hot and/or wet. These were essential services for the "clientele". The livery stable was near the bank building immediately west of the area, so all of that "service" for the horses worked well together with their business.
We are indebted to Floye Brewton who found this photo at Sadie's Flea Market near Dothan some years ago and brought it back to Marianna. Pat Crisp bought it from the estate sate held after Floye's death.