Hank Aaron remembers construction of his childhood home

Published 1:51 pm Friday, October 31, 2008

Baseball legend Hank Aaron remembers his father building the family’s home in the 1940s in Mobile’s Toulminville neighborhood using wood from torn down houses and whatever else he could find.

The modest structure that was Aaron’s childhood home has now been moved to GasLight Park at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday. The house will be restored to look like it did when it was built in 1942 and will be turned into the Hank Aaron Museum and Learning Center.

“The more I look at it, the more I’m amazed,” Aaron said in an interview with the Press-Register.

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“Each year, (dad) added on to it. When it was first built, it was just a house,” Aaron said. “In later years, when I would come back, you knew you were coming back to something your father built, something I had a hand in helping to build. It made you feel proud.”

Aaron said his father, Herbert Aaron, spent $100 to buy the almost two acres of land for the home site.

He said the roof occasionally leaked and he recalled having to share space with seven siblings.

“The first one that got to bed was the one that got most of the cover,” Aaron said.

Aaron was joined at Thursday’s ceremony by his wife Billye, two surviving sibilings and Mobile BayBears president and general manager Bill Shanahan. It was Shanahan’s idea to move the Aaron home from the Toulminville area to the stadium and turn it into a museum.

Aaron played most of his career with the Milwaukee Braves and the Atlanta Braves. He broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1973 when he hit his 715th. Aaron went on to hit 755, which remained the record until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007.