“And your young men shall see visions…” Part V


The Vagabond recently came across a pamphlet written by the Women’s Club called A little book about Gadsden. It tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. For the last few weeks we have been reporting on this old pamphlet. It continues….

“The Agricola Furnace Company was organized in 1925. It manufactures warm air furnaces of cast iron and steel for coal, coke and wood. It puts out a complete line of heaters and ranges in both cast iron and steel. 

“The company is also at present manufacturing air conditioning units. This is one of the few establishments of its kind in the country to emerge from the depression in a healthy financial condition. This is an important industry to this region for the reason that it is owned locally and uses quantities of Alabama materials such as steel, pig iron, lime rock, sand, etc. Its products are sold in every state in the Union and are shipped as far away as New Guinea, Australia, and China.

“The Sauquoit Spinning Company began operations early in 1927. In 1930, it was sold to the Standard Coosa-Thatcher Company of Chattanooga, Tenn. This company is known as the largest manufacturer of cotton knitting yarns in the world. The Gadsden mill makes finished yarns for hosiery and underwear. In normal times, it gives employment to 450 people with a payroll of about $30,000 per month.

“The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company located in Gadsden in 1928, after having investigated some three hundred sites in the South. Since that time, the company has disbursed in payrolls approximately $10,000,000 and has employed in normal times 1,650 people. The company’s peak production is 10,000 tires and 10,000 tubes daily. 

“The Gadsden plant is modern and beautiful. In fact, it is considered one of the finest factories of any kind in the world. Its monthly bill for electricity is around $12,000 and it spends $12,000 a month for coal, both produced in Alabama.

“A list of Gadsden industries is a follows: A&J Manufacturing Co.; Agricola Brick Co.; Agricola Furnace Co.; Agricola Pipe Co.; Alabama CocaCola Bottling Co.; Alabama Power Co.; American Bakeries Co.; Alabama Gas Co.; Barnett Sausage Co.; Bell (W.A.) Lumber Co.; Birmingham Slag Co.; Christopher (A.L.) Machine Co.; Cobbs (F.A.) Dairy; Commercial Printing Co.; Goose Pipe Co.; Cosby-Hodges Milling Co.; Crossfield Ice Cream Co.; Dixon Sheet Metal Co.; Dwight Manufacturing Co.; East Quarry Co.; Electric Maid Bake Shop; Ellis Ice and Coal Co.; Etowah Lumber Co.; Etowah Observer; Gadsden Abattoir Co.; Gadsden Fertilizer & Gin Co.; Gadsden Ice & Fuel Co.; Gadsden Marble & Granite Co.; Gadsden Sand & Gravel Co.; Gadsden Times Publishing Co.; Gilmorian Hat Works; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; Haley Printing Co.; Howe Printing Co.; Jefferson Lumber Co.; Jones (Carl) Abattoir Co.; Lee Dairy Farm; Lokey Ice & Coal Co.; Lily Ice Cream Co.; Magic City Furniture Co.; Mt. Meadow Guernsey Farm; Nehi Bottling Co.; NuGrape-Dr. Pepper Bottling Co.; Nelson Machine Co.; Pioneer Fabric Co.; Price Coal & Ice Co.; Queen City Furniture Co.; Rainbow Mattress Co.; Randall Printing Co.; Republic Steel Corporation; Sauquoit Spinning Co.; Southern Manufacturing Co.; Tro-Fe Dairy; Whor-ton Pharmacal Co.; Williams (S.P.) Wholesale Meats; Wrenn Ice Cream Co.; and L.B.D. Drug Co.

Gadsden has a bright industrial future. It is situated on the banks of the third largest river in the South in the foothills of the Cumberlands, which are filled with iron and coal. It is blessed with a climate that can be matched in few places on the globe. 

“[Gadsden] is located in one of the few states that have an increasing birth rate. This insures a reserve of native labor unsurpassed in the world. It has access to unlimited electric power at the lowest rates in the country. It is also connected with the natural gas fields of Louisiana. 

“Such a combination of circumstances can insure but one thing – upon the arrival of that day when the go-ahead signal to business and industry shall invite them to further expansion, the Gadsden District will undoubtedly take its place as one of the great industrial centers of the world.  


“‘No community rises higher than the spiritual level of its citizenship.’

“Thus thought General D.C. Turrentine, affectionately known as “Uncle T” to the group of children whom he organized into the first Sunday School in the county. 

“This little band was the nucleons of all religious denominations in the hamlet destine to become the city of Gadsden. He and his wife, Caroline, were the moving factors in the organization of the First Methodist Church in 1845.

“The church first worshipped in a schoolhouse on the south side of Broad Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, but soon a building was erected between Locust and Broad, which was used as a Union Church. 

“The first church erected on the present site was begun in 1854 under the supervision of General Turrentine. James M. Christman, father of the Founder of the Women’s Club, was the architect.

Lumber was furnished by Joseph Wilson, and Gabriel Hughes donated the site that was later added to by Colonel R.B. Kyle.

“In 1869, a new house of worship was begun and finished in 1870. The following item appeared in the newspaper of May 6, 1869: ‘The M.E. Church of this place is being rapidly pushed to completion. When finished it will present a handsome appearance.’

“Again we find in April 22, 1870’s publication: ‘The work on the M.E. Church is still going on.’

“By November 18, 1870, the church must have been completed, because we find this item in the newspaper: ‘Conference is now in session in Gadsden.’

“In 1893, the present brick structure was completed.

“By 1916, the facilities had become inadequate and new Sunday School rooms were erected. 

“The whole structure was handsomely enlarged and remodeled in 1936. This historical old church is the birthplace of Methodism in North Alabama.  

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