‘The Pond’ a source of pride for Jim Jackson

Published 7:56 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

Jim Jackson of Luverne cares desperately about saving and preserving old buildings.

Around 1980, Jackson realized that the number of farms in and around Pike County was decreasing as farming was moving more in the direction of poultry and pines.

As Jackson of Petrey Wholesale traveled around the area, he realized that weather and time were taking a devastating toll on forgotten farm structures. Tenant houses were standing vacant and farm buildings were empty and beginning to lean.  Property owners were reluctant to sell the structures until the kitchen flues had pulled loose and the porch shelters had collapsed rendering the structures of no use to them or of any value.

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However, Jackson realized the potential value of the dilapidated structures. He purchased as many as possible some as “costly” as $300.

Working with those who knew about salvaging aging buildings, Jackson understood the value of the rafters and beams, the plank flooring and the wood walls. The nails were pulled out and the boards were stored until Jackson’s vision for The Pond began to become a reality.

When Carter Sanders of Goshen recently visited The Pond at Petrey, he was amazed at what Jim Jackson had done with the beams and boards salvaged from fading farm homesteads.

“In time, Mr. Jim’s vision for a family retreat had become a reality,” Sanders said. “In doing so, he has preserved what could have—would have been- lost.”

Sanders realized that The Pond was a Pike County best kept secret, a treasure, that others should have an opportunity to visit. So, with Jackson’s permission, he planned a picnic, A Picnic at the Pond.

“I knew that others with interest in the farm history of Pike County, in forestry and in the beauty of the outdoors would be as impressed with what Mr. Jim has done as I am,” Sanders said.

Members of the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association, the Woodmen of the World/Troy, the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Pike County Salvation Army were among those who were excited to have the opportunity to visit The Pond.

On Thursday afternoon, Jim Jackson, Virginia Bush and his sons, Warren and William Jackson, Jr. welcomed guests from Crenshaw and Pike counties to The Pond.

Jackson led a wagon tour of his woodlands while other guests enjoyed visiting the main house and hunters’ cabin. The Jackson’s family’s house (main house) features log walls, repurposed floors, doors and mantels from tenant houses and cribs and wood for cabinets and shelving from a variety of farm structures. The main house features trophy mounts and artwork from different countries and cultures.

The hunters’ cabin is “hunter rustic and comfortable, with a small kitchen and cots for sleeping.

Both house and cabin have restrooms and television service.

In time, the guests began to gather on the front porch of the family house to enjoy the view and the fellowship of those with like-interest.

Jackson expressed appreciation for the interest shown in The Pond and thanked everyone for making the picnic such an enjoyable occasion.

Sanders thanked everyone for coming and being a part of such a memorable.

The proceeds from Picnic at the Pond were designated to benefit the Pike County Salvation Army. Sanders presented a donation of $1,200 to Donna Kidd, director of the local Salvation Army.

Kidd thanked the those who contributed and pledged that the dollars will be designated “where they will do the most good.”

The Pond is a private retreat and not open to the public.