Airport Inn was once the place to be in Troy

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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In 1971, Keith Roling wrote an article about the Old Airport Inn and how it was “repurposed..”

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

The name Old Airport Inn usually brings back memories to the older residents of Troy and Pike County.  Located three miles north of Troy on the old 231 highway, and sitting quietly by the side of the deserted highway is the Regional center, once the Airport Inn, once a “swinging place” in Pike County.

     The small two story building rests on one acre of land, boasting two gas pumps, steaks, whiskey, beer, girls, and two juke-boxes attracted crowds from Ft. Rucker, Phenix City, and all over South Alabama.

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     The Inn was having its heyday in the 40’s and fifties.  Out of  police jurisdiction and only looked in upon very infrequently by straying law enforcement officials, it would bring in large and rough crowds.  Perhaps it remains a fond memory in the minds of many of the patrons but quite a different song is sung by the local residents who as it seem would just as soon forget the “nightmare of blaring music, guns, knives and the smell of whiskey.”

     Next door stands a large brick and block structure.  It was hoped at one time  that this structure would help accommodate the overflowing customers of the Inn.  Built by a jack-leg carpenter, the structure was closed by the Federal government before it’s completion in World War II because of the lack of a building permit.  Equipped with  three floors housing twelve upstairs rooms and baths and an equal number downstairs; the middle floor was to be used as a dining and dance floor, and it was expected to bring in much business.

But it was closed before a roof could be built.  No one could touch the structure for ten years and it began to rot.  The building is now being used as a wood products company owned and operated by Fred Hunt.  The smell of glue and sawdust drift through the building which was never opened.

The end was in sight as Wilmer Furlough began his campaign for Sheriff of Pike County.  One of Furloughs promised of election was his vow to padlock the doors of this honky tonk.  His efforts combined with the Oak Grove Methodist Church and local citizens proved overpowering and the doors were locked.

Now many years later, the Revival Center is opening in the same building once occupied by the Inn.  Rev. Embry Hester and his congregation are remodeling the shaky structure by the now silent 231 Highway and perhaps once again the bullet ridden walls will vibrate with the sound of music.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.