John Burton Foley, the man most responsible for the early development of South Baldwin County was a Chicago businessman who learned of the opportunities in south Alabama from a man on a train while on his way to the funeral of President William McKinley.
A manufacturer of Foley’s Pine Tar and Honey, a patent medicine designed as a cough remedy, Foley soon turned land developer, laying out lots, which he sold for fifty dollars an acre. He also built sawmills, a grist mill and hundreds of miles of roads at his own expense.
Foley soon realized that the rather rustic lodge he had built to house visiting prospects was inadequate and, in 1908, he built Hotel Magnolia.
John Lehr was Hotel Magnolia’s first manager and, by all accounts, a busy man. He had to pump and carry the water, fill the lamps, clean the lamp chimneys, do the laundry in a big tub, and fix three square meals a day for guests. Lehr later became manager of the First State Bank of Foley.
Soon Foley was a growing and thriving town, with a telephone exchange where Stacey Drug Store still stands, and electric lights.
Today Hotel Magnolia is owned and operated by Mrs. Marjorie Snook, who, as a young girl, dreamed of rocking on the front porch. Mrs. Snook’s late husband, John, bought the hotel after WWII and refurbished it. The glass in the front door of the Hotel was taken from John Snook’s grandfather’s home in Ohio. Five U.S. Presidents have passed through the door.
The last guest at Hotel Magnolia, prior to its thorough renovation completed in early 2005, checked out more than thirty years prior.
Following a thorough renovation, Hotel Magnolia is now a modern inn, offering the charm and sophistication of an elegant hotel, plus the latest comforts and amenities.
To check room availability, make a reservation, or to request a printed brochure, please call 251-943-5297.
For Magnolia Court Restaurant, please dial 251-970-5400.