White Avenue Historic District
200 Fels Ave, Fairhope, AL
The White Avenue Historic District is part of the first and largest single-tax enclave in the United States. The City of Fairhope was founded in 1894 as a single-tax colony, meaning that the value of land was created by the community, not the individual.
The district illustrates the Fairhoper’s practical attempts to realize a utopian society through an economic philosophy. Its residential buildings respond to Fairhope’s egalitarian layout, planned to give each resident a view of the bay. Water oaks and magnolias line the street, which were planted shortly after the lots were drawn off, illustrating the Fairhoper’s provision for an aesthetically pleasing townscape.
White Avenue, known in the beginning as the “White Avenue Tract,” was named for Mr. A. White of Vallejo, California. He purchased the 40 acres as an investment and never saw the property he once owned.
White was a member of the Fairhope Industrial Association, which later became the Single Tax Corporation. Early Fairhope leaders were very aware that more property, especially land contiguous to the original land purchase, needed to be secured for the success of the Colony.
But they were constitutionally forbidden to go into debt. Colony leaders petitioned several individuals like White to buy land, withn the option to purchase the land back with interest within a specific time frame.
White bought the property in 1900, giving the Association a period of five years at six percent interest to buy the land from him. The purchase was complete in 1906 and the deed was transferred. White never visited Fairhope and died in 1923.
The district became significant as one of the earlier sections of Fairhope and part of a geographical focus for a utopian experiment.
The White Avenue Historic District was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in July 1988.