Remington Hall, a former officers club at Fort McClellan, made the annual Places in Peril list put together by The Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation.
A press release from the organizations said the 76-year-old building is most famous for its murals painted by German prisoners of war.
“Depicting family and everyday life in the artists’ native countries, these murals offer a rare glimpse of European culture and history during the 1940s,” the release said.
Joan McKinney, a retired public affairs officer for Fort McClellan, said the murals are a one-of-a-kind artifact in need of preservation. During the base’s 1999 closing, she was able to find historical documents linking the murals to Albin Sagadin, a former German painter who had studied at the Dresden Institute of Art (refuting previously published speculations that an Italian POW artist had also been involved).
“There’s nothing out there like what we have here,” McKinney said about the murals. “They’re a national treasure.”
David Schneider, an Anniston resident and member of the Trust for Historic Preservation, said the building is in good condition and the murals have been maintained, but without a conscientious owner, they could easily fall into disrepair.
“The bugaboo with this is that it’s a 30,000-square-foot building,” Schneider said. “That’s a big thing to maintain, a vacant building that you don’t have a use for.”
Schneider said the hope is the listing will generate interest for a potential buyer. Currently, Remington Hall is owned by Mike Hopper, a developer from Birmingham. Schneider said Hopper inherited the building and has installed climate control units to protect the murals, but does not have the means to regularly maintain the building.
Attempts to reach Hopper late Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
The Historical Commission and Trust for Historic Preservation have published an annual Places in Peril list since 1994. Other Calhoun County landmarks that have been on the list include Davis Farm in Oxford, Hobson City and the Gateway to Anniston, which included the Anniston City Land Company building, torn down earlier this year to make way for the new Anniston justice center.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.