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.
The Hotel Magnolia was purchased in 1967 by the late John Snook who was the owner of Gulf Telephone. His wife Marjorie Snook as a young girl had always dreamed of rocking in one of the hotel's rocking chairs on the front porch. 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 Hotel Magnolia was completely renovated in 2005, hosting its first guest in 30 years! The hotel closed in 2012, and was reopened in August 2014. Known for its charm and sophistication, The Hotel Magnolia now offers the latest comforts and amenities.
To check room availability, make a reservation, or to request a printed brochure, please call 251-943-5297.