That’s all true.
What’s laughable are those who may mistakenly believe this is a new development. Those murals, as local military historian Joan McKinney told The Star this week, are a “national treasure,” yet they’ve flirted with ruin for many of the years since the post closed in 1999.
Remington Hall is fortunate in that it hasn’t been totally vacant since the Army left town. The building has weathered changing ownership. It housed a restaurant for a while in the middle of the previous decade, which at least ensured that the building’s climate was maintained — a must for the survival of the hand-painted murals.
But Remington Hall is now mired in a long stretch of inactivity. Its owner is a Birmingham developer who preservationists say is doing what he can to keep the building’s climate in decent order. We pray that’s the case.
What the Remington Hall murals need is a savior — a miracle-worker with deep pockets and strong vision that other area historical landmarks such as the recently demolished Anniston City Land Co. building never truly had.
Without reason to think otherwise, we’ll assume that Mike Hopper, the Birmingham developer who owns the hall, understands the murals’ historical significance and will take whatever steps are necessary to preserve them. To do otherwise would be a flat-out shame.
If Anniston’s movers-and-shakers — and its Ward 1 councilman, Jay Jenkins — want to adopt a worthwhile cause, this would be it. Like the remaking of the Watermark Tower in downtown Anniston, Remington Hall and its irreplaceable murals need a viable future. Teamwork between Anniston’s leaders and the building’s owner should carry a single message: finding the best way to preserve the murals while also observing Hopper’s legal rights as property owner.
Anything less would be yet another dark day for Calhoun County’s record of preserving its inimitable places.