A new chapter is being written in the life of a historic Mentone building, as renovations begin at the Hitching Post.
For more than a century, the Hitching Post has stood at the corner of Alabama Highway 117 and Scenic Drive/DeSoto Parkway. It’s also stood at the heart of this mountain community, housing everything from the post office to a general store to various food and retail businesses through the years.
Many people share memories of the community dances that were held in the building’s upstairs area.
DeKalb County native Jerry Clifton purchased the building in June. His first action will be to replace the septic system. “The existing system is inadequate for that size building, so that has to be addressed first,” Clifton says. “An expanded septic system will open up a lot of possibilities for this beautiful old building.”
Clifton is no stranger to historic preservation. He has renovated several buildings in the historic downtown area of Fort Payne, including space that became The Lofts on Gault. He is currently working on the iconic Leath House on Forest Avenue in Fort Payne, which dates back to the city’s boom town era.
Clifton has also renovated several homes in the Mentone area and across Lookout Mountain through the years. “I enjoy going into older homes and envisioning what they can become when updated,” he says. “I love bringing new life to older homes and buildings, and seeing how people create their own stories from these new beginnings.”
The story is still being written for the Hitching Post. As basic renovation work begins, Clifton is gathering input and looking for the right partners. “I want to see the Hitching Post return to its place as a real hub for this community,” he says. “We’re going to find the right people to help bring that vision to life.”