For former students, Dothan’s old Howell School evokes sentimental memories of childhood and days gone by. But it is also an architectural landmark—an eclectic mixture of arched windows and ornate classical cornices dating from 1902. The city’s main grammar school until 1942, the building later reopened as a pajama manufacturing company. Now vacant, it is owned by the Downtown Dothan Redevelopment Authority.
The first public grammar school in Dothan was built in 1889, but it later burned. The Howell School, named for a prominent local educator, was designed by J. W. Baughman, who topped the building with a central tower—later removed—complete with a spiral fire escape slide. A developer’s recent proposal to convert the old school into low-income senior housing raises new hope. But the substantial funding needed has yet to be put in place, and uncertainty hangs over the Howell School’s future.
Alabama's Endangered Historic Landmarks
Each year since 1994, Alabama Heritage has highlighted threatened historic sites throughout Alabama. The “Places in Peril” list has identified more than 215 imperiled historic resources throughout the state, and is compiled by the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. The locations highlight the results of deferred maintenance, perceived obsolescence, development pressures, and lack of funding—forces that now more than ever threaten our cultural legacy. But awareness is a powerful force, too, and can cultivate a renewed determination to be responsible stewards of our heritage. For more information, visit the AHC or the ATHP websites. Alabama Heritage is proud to bring to you a selection of the places designated as perilous. Please keep your comments to information relevant to the featured place in peril. Alabama Heritage reserves the right to delete any comment that we deem inappropriate.