30 June 2024

Campus No. 805, Huntsville, AL

 An extant asset

I know that this place isn’t technically a mall.  Even though it has a common corridor with different places of business that can only be accessed from this indoor corridor, it’s not a mall in the traditional sense, but this is really a pretty cool place in Huntsville’s quickly gentrifying Westside.  In fact, Campus # 805 along with Lowe Mill Arts Center jumps started this renaissance in West Huntsville.

1- Map of Campus No. 805.  2 & 3- Yellowhammer Brewing Company.  4- Butler Green, the athletic fields of the former school turned into a park.  5 to 8- Straight to Ale Brewing, located primarily in the former school’s gym.

Campus No. 805 now serves as the home to Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer Brewing, two local microbreweries.  The setting for this home is a former Huntsville city public school, shuttered as enrollment dropped due to the deteriorating neighborhood surrounding it.  But they saw the potential in both the building and the neighborhood.

1-2- Straight to Ale’s front exterior.  3 to 5- The refurbished exterior of the former Butler High School/ Stone Middle School.  6- Hops and Guac on the facility’s western end.

The main building, now called the Stone Center, opened as S.R. Butler High School in 1951, the second of the then emerging town’s high schools.  It served this role until 1967 when the building became outsized for the number of students moving into the area.  It became Roy L. Stone Middle School when a newer and larger campus for Butler was built nearby.

1 to 4- The bottom level interior of Campus No. 805.  5 & 6- The “secret entrance” to Straight to Ale’s speakeasy behind the lockers.

Stone Middle School closed in 2009 and sat empty for more than half a decade before being purchased by developer Randy Schrimsher.  His vision was something unique to the region and would become in lynchpin in the city’s coming explosive growth. Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer were the first to join, and the place has seen much success since.

1 to 4- Stairwells and hallways at Campus No. 805.  5- Monkeynaut!  6- The entrance to Hops and Guac.

Straight to Ale settled into the gymnasium, where squeaky shoes have been replaced with brewing equipment.  Much of the memorabilia marking the place as a former school remains, including the green and gold basketball court.  Yellowhammer made their home across the school’s athletic field to what is now called the Student Union Building.  The old athletic fields were developed into a city park, which ties the entire campus together.

Campus No. 805’s upper level.

Walking the white cinder block halls certainly can bring one back to their own school days.  Orange lockers still line the hallways, though behind the classroom doors lie art studios, dance halls and even axe throwing.  Bars such as Hops n Guac, Lone Goose Saloon and even a speakeasy whose doorway is hidden behind unassuming lockers can be found throughout.

1 to 3- Straight to Ale’s brewery equipment in the former gym.  4- Beer and video games.  5 & 6- Regalia from the building that was once a middle school.

These days, there has been much successive development behind Campus No. 805.  Along what was once a depressed stretch of Governor’s Drive, new development has exploded.  New apartments are being built while the entire Mill Creek neighborhood is being redeveloped.  Just a block away, another entertainment venue, Stovehouse, has opened in a repurposed oven factory.  It’s exciting to see, and none has been built out yet to its full capacity.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Campus # 805 lease plan ca. 2021.  View the full PDF version here.

No comments:

Post a Comment