Loss of namesake bar and grill hits small Alabama community
With fewer than 100 residents and only a handful of buildings, this western Alabama community has little but an old water tower and the Faunsdale Bar and Grill, which bears the same name. which attracts visitors and locals alike with live music, boiled crawfish and good times. .
It’s unclear what might happen next now that a possible tornado has wiped out the bar.
The Faunsdale Music Festival, a community fundraiser scheduled for Saturday at the site, had to be postponed due to damage including a missing roof, bricks thrown like bullets and overturned tables. Robert McKee, president of a foundation that promotes community, told WBRC-TV he was saddened to see the damage but hoped the city could return.
“With 98 people, it’s definitely a tight-knit community. Everyone knows everyone. We all need to step up and clean up and look forward to the next chapter. We just have to figure out where it is and how to get there, but we’re heading in that direction,” McKee said.
The National Weather Service has yet to determine whether a tornado or straight-line winds hit Faunsdale, but forecasters determined that at least 11 tornadoes touched down in the state on Wednesday.
Located in Marengo County about 80 miles west of Montgomery, Faunsdale was a thriving town in the heart of the state’s cotton belt in the 1800s. There were two cotton gins, a mill of cottonseed, five stores, a bank, a pharmacy and more, according to the Faunsdale Foundation.
All that remains are houses and a few businesses inside the shells of old red brick buildings. One housed the Faunsdale Bar and Grill, a popular stop for University of Alabama football fans traveling to Tuscaloosa from southern Alabama.
Jennifer Cassity, who worked at the bar for more than two decades before buying it seven years ago, said other places in town were also damaged, including the post office and a grocery store .
“It wasn’t just me, it was all of us,” she said in an interview on Friday.
But the bar and grill was town for passersby. Cassity said it was unclear whether it could be repaired or had to be completely rebuilt.
“It’s like a loss in the family. In the community, everyone knows it. You say ‘Faunsdale’ and everyone says ‘the bar and grill,'” she said.