Cat Alley & John McClure Snook
John McClure Snook was a southern gentleman, community service-oriented leader and a visionary. John McClure Snook also had a love for cats. At the Hotel Magnolia, there were cat doors for the cats to come and go as they please. Mr. Snook’s love for cats extended into his businesses where cats were free to roam in certain areas and he even had a house downtown that was just for the cats!
When he owned the Hotel Magnolia and the Gulf Telephone Company, Mr. Snook built an underground tunnel between the two buildings to keep the rain off - this tunnel goes right under our Cat Alley. The tunnel was also built for another reason: part of the GulfTel building was built as a civil defense shelter and the tunnel was part of that
He was ahead of his time with women’s liberation, he trained his female employees to defend themselves as well as their home during the Cold War and they were also trained in the jobs that the men did at GulfTel. John Snook became known worldwide for his “Nylon Army”. He even allowed his women sharpshooters to shoot cigarillos that he held between his lips for publicity stunts.
We have many cats in Foley and we like to think they are the many descendants of John Snook’s cats. It seemed only fitting to name the alley between the Hotel Magnolia and one of the buildings he used to house GulfTel – Cat Alley.
Cats have whiskers and our cat's whiskers will reach out to all parts of Downtown Foley. Come back often to see what is next!