View full sizeThe Robinson family, including three daughters and a niece, are shown at their home on Hillwood Road. Front row, from left: cousin Emilia Milling, 11; Lizzie Robinson, 10; Annah Robinson, 12; back row: Callie Robinson, 16; mother Aimee Robinson; and father Lee Robinson. (Maurice Gandy/Press-Register Correspondent)
The Robinsons and their three daughters had just moved in shortly before Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, but were invited to stay the night with neighbors, who had 14 people in their home, to share their generator power, she said.
Robinson discovered both Mobile and family tradition in the vintage 1937 home on the lane when he thoroughly renovated it in 2007-08.
The home had original hardwood floors, a double coincidence, because Robinson is president of Overseas Hardwoods Co., and his grandfather was in the hardwood flooring business with the family-owned Mobile River Sawmill in Mount Vernon, Robinson said.
Mobile River Sawmill first made hardwood flooring in the early 1930s — the mill was sold to Scott Paper Co. in 1963. The flooring was used in homes all over Mobile and could be identified beginning in 1937 by “MRS” and the grade of the flooring indented on the back of every strip of flooring, Robinson said.
Every piece of flooring taken up during the 2007-08 renovation bore the “MRS” insignia. Robinson left some of the original flooring upstairs and replaced the 1937 flooring downstairs with fresh 2007-08 hardwood from his own hardwoods company.
“We have flooring from our family, commemorating a century in the lumber business, from past and present, in the home,” said Robinson, who is also a branch director on the board of the New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
“I like this location better than where we were before. I am closer to my friends. The swimming pool is right up the street. I hope we stay here all the way through school,” said daughter Annah Robinson, 12, who attends St. Ignatius Catholic School.
‘Very nice folks’
West Coast natives Walt and Marcia Hayes, of Washington and California, respectively, found their way to Drury Lane through transfers during Walt’s career with Scott Paper Co. Their travels took them from Everett, Wash., through Philadelphia to Mobile 38 years ago.
After six months in Mobile, the family decided to stay, because people were receptive to the newcomers and the church-oriented community seemed a good place to raise a son and two daughters, said Hayes, a decorated combat Army infantry lieutenant from the Korean War.