The Vagabond - Gadsden’s early electricity

November 13, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover From the day in 1879 when the Sells Brothers Circus exhibited an electric light in Gadsden as a feature attraction to the present electricity has played an important role in the region’s growth. In 1887, the first steam powered electric plant was built in this area when such things were still in
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The Vagabond - Gadsden incorporated in 1867

October 30, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Soon after Baine County was created in the fall of 1866, a number of Gadsden citizens petitioned Probate Judge L.E. Hamlin to call an election to determine whether the town should be incorporated. Under the old village code of Alabama, communities of not less than 150 and not over 2,000 population could
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The Vagabond – An early developer of Etowah County

October 23, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover One of the most interesting of the old timers who contributed much to the early development of Gadsden and Attalla was Rufus B. Rhea. He was born in the Cherokee Nation near Attalla on August 26, 1832 and died on Jan. 4, 1908. Rhea operated a fine and prosperous farm near what
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The Vagabond – Hogs and cows once wandered downtown

October 16, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Back when it was a small village, Gadsden had a few citizens protesting against the idea of allowing stock, particularly hogs and cows, to roam the streets at will, and those complaints became vociferous enough to attract the attention of local authorities. There was no serious attempt to remedy the situation until
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The Vagabond – How some local streets got their names

October 9, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Streets in Gadsden often were named for a certain person or thing connected to the site. For example, Walnut Street received its name because it once was lined with the many beautiful walnut trees. Chestnut Street was named for the groves of American Chestnut trees. Another street name that comes to The
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The Vagabond – Gadsden’s most colorful citizen

October 2, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Albert E. Paschal came to Gadsden in 1879. At about that same time, he bought the lot and built the home that he was to occupy for many years. For a long time, the residence was used as a club house by the Elks. The lodge moved out when it built its
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The Vagabond - Gadsden’s first bakery

September 25, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover J.J. Blanchart established the first bakery in Gadsden in 1868 in a frame building occupying the western half of the site of the old woman’s department of the Hagedorn department store located on the north side of Broad Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. Blanchart was born around 1819 in France. He
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The Vagabond: Drilling for oil and gas in Owl’s Valley

September 18, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Back in 1868, Gadsden was excited over an effort to bore an oil well in Owl Valley, located just on the northern edge of the city. A Mr. Rogers of Pennsylvania came to the area and leased a large acreage of land entitling him to bore for oil on a royalty basis.
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The Vagabond – 1960 Boy Scout Fair

September 11, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Back in 1961, The Vagabond was just six years old. It seems that his father had to go to East Gadsden for errands. Coming back, Little Vagabond noticed a boy scout fair along First Street. Tents and stations were lined up all the way from the amphitheater to the old armory next
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The Vagabond Growing up in Gadsden, Part 9

September 4, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Author’s note: Robert Elton recently sent The Vagabond his memoirs of growing up in Gadsden. Robert is originally from Gadsden and graduated from Gadsden High School. He studied broadcast production at Auburn University and went on to work for South Carolina Educational Television Network. Robert and his wife Jean Pearce Elton live
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The Vagabond – Growing up in Gadsden, Part 8

August 28, 2020 chris
Author’s note: Robert Elton recently sent The Vagabond his memoirs of growing up in Gadsden. Robert is originally from Gadsden and graduated from Gadsden High School. He studied broadcast production at Auburn University and went on to work for South Carolina Educational Television Network. Robert and his wife Jean Pearce Elton live in Orangeburg, South
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The Vagabond – Growing up in Gadsden, Part 7

August 21, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Episode 13 : 1950’s dance bands This episode is a portion of my late brother Bill’s memoir. Bill wrote his memoir for the family only, but I include this story in this series because it is a part of Gadsden’s unwritten history. The following are Bill’s comments about one of Gadsden’s best but
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The Vagabond

August 14, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Not long ago a student asked The Vagabond how, why and when the federal government took over control of all navigable streams in the United States. From 1790 to 1810, the improvements of the rivers and harbors were made by states with the consent of U.S. Congress. From 1810 to 1852, these
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The Vagabond - Growing up in Gadsden, Part 6

August 7, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Author’s note: Robert Elton recently sent The Vagabond his memoirs of growing up in Gadsden. Robert is originally from Gadsden and graduated from Gadsden High School. He studied broadcast production at Auburn University and went on to work for South Carolina Educational Television Network. Robert and his wife Jean Pearce Elton live
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The Vagabond - Growing up in Gadsden, Part V

July 31, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Episode 9: Gadsden Pilots baseball The following is a piece written by my old school buddy, Ben Barnes. The Gadsden Pilots were a mid-20th-century minor league professional baseball team. In the late 1940s, the Pilots were one of eight teams in the Class B Southeastern League. The Pensacola Flyers were from Florida and
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The Vagabond - Growing up in Gadsden, Part IV

July 24, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Author’s note: Robert Elton recently sent The Vagabond his memoirs of growing up in Gadsden. Robert is originally from Gadsden and graduated from Gadsden High School. He studied broadcast production at Auburn University and went on to work for South Caro-lina Educational Television Network. Robert and his wife Jean Pearce Elton live
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The Vagabond: Growing up in Gadsden, Part II

July 10, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Robert Elton recently sent The Vagabond his memoirs of growing up in Gadsden, and I’d to share his story. Robert is originally from Gadsden and graduated from Gadsden High School. He studied broadcast production at Auburn University and went on to work for South Carolina Educational Television Network. Robert and his wife
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The Vagabond – Chavez the Giant visits Gadsden

June 26, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover One of the funniest things to happen in Gadsden during the 1890s was the purchase of a “dead man” by four of the leading farmers of Etowah County after having reached a decision to go into the show business. It was no fun for the farmers and even less fun to put
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The Vagabond - Gadsden’s Architect was from Scotland

June 19, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Gadsden’s very first architect was W. H. Willett, who located here around 1887. One of his big jobs was the new Episcopal Church in West Gadsden, which, it was claimed, took on the aspect of an English cathedral. That was quite natural, for Mr. Willett came from England where he attained distinction
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The Vagabond - Local illuminated highway was first of its kind in South

June 12, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover In 1939, a tourist passing through Gadsden on his way home to Kentucky from a brief stay in Florida wanted to know if the locals really appreciated the wonderful white way of the Gadsden-Atalla Boulevard, for he said that it was the longest and most beautiful he had ever seen. The passerby
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The Vagabond - A history of streetlights in Gadsden, Part I

June 5, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover  In the beginning of the 20th century, gas lamps were being used as streetlights. Architects realized that the safer electric light bulb had enormous advertising potential. As early as 1910, streetlights dazzled visitors around the U.S. This type of street soon became known as a White Way, defined as “a brilliantly lighted
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The Vagabond - Etowah Rifles and the July 4th fire of 1883

May 29, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover The Vagabond often is asked about the big fire Gadsden experienced on July 4, 1883. This question always leads to a discussion of the many curious things seen on that memorable day. Gadsden had advertised a great holiday celebration and offered numerous attractions, which drew a very large crowd. Col. W.H. Denson
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The Vagabond - The old Rossiere Garden/Skyline Club in Rainbow City

May 29, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Gadsden attorney Gregory Cusimano recently posted a photo on the “Welcome to Gadsden & Etowah County” Facebook page. The photo included many people from the mid-1930s in front of a building called the Rossiere Garden, or an Italian beer club. It was built on Rainbow Drive near Highway 77 by Cusimano’s uncle
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The Vagabond - from Greece to Gadsden: story of the Likos family

May 15, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Part III Many people in Etowah County do not realize that many of the hard-working citizens of the area were from other countries. Two of those early citizens were Greek emigrants George and Domina Likos. The Vagabond recently spoke to a former classmate, Tina Likos Wilson, the couple’s granddaughter. Tina’s aunt put
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The Vagabond - The Likos family: from Greece to Gadsden

May 15, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Part II Many people in Etowah County do not realize that many of the hard-working citizens of the area were from other countries. Two of those early citizens were Greek emigrants George and Domina Likos. The Vagabond recently spoke to a former classmate, Tina Likos Wilson, the couple’s granddaughter. Tina’s aunt put
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The Vagabond - story of the Likos family

May 1, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Part I Many people in Etowah County do not realize that many of the hard-working citizens of the area were from other countries. Two of those early citizens were George and Domina Likos. The Vagabond recently spoke to a former classmate of his, Tina Likos Wilson, on her grandparents, who came from
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The Vagabond - the lost art of blacksmithing

April 24, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover You don’t find any old-time village blacksmith shops that used to dot the local landscape. Back in the 1870s and 1880s, Gadsden had several such businesses located close to the county courthouse. William Christopher operated a blacksmith shop at the southwest corner of Chestnut and Fourth streets. Christopher raised a large family,
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The Vagabond - local egg tales

April 17, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover During Easter last week, The Vagabond recalled how he went eggs hunting as a youth. Few people in this area realize how much trouble it was years ago just to obtain or sell eggs, much less decorating them. Back in the day, eggs were collected and marketed in a primitive way. There
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The Vagabond - Alabama Power saved steel plant, helped bring Goodyear to Gadsden

April 10, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Last week, The Vagabond discussed the Alabama Steel and Wire Company. This week, we add more to it and discuss how the Alabama Power Company helped bring the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to the area. Gadsden owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Alabama Power. But for the company’s financial and
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The Vagabond - John Coffee’s adventures in Attalla

March 16, 2020 chris
By Danny Crownover Last week the Vagabond wrote about Davey Crockett passing through the Attalla area. This week, another famous man, John Coffee also came through the same area. On Oct. 4, 1815, Coffee (pictured at right) was appointed by U.S. President James Madison to survey the boundaries created by the Treaty of Fort Jackson,
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