Very early settlers of Etowah County, part one of two

January 3, 2014 chris

One of the largest families represented in early Etowah County was the Whitt family. The first of this name to come to the area was William Whitt, born in circa 1775, and his wife Feroba Middleton, born in 1786.

William’s father was Shadrack Whitt, born in 1741 and married to Mary Rogers. The couple lived in Virginia. Shadrack served with Washington’s

Read More

Old Stone Fort, Tenn. and its connection with Gadsden

December 27, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond is in Manchester, Tenn., for Christmas to see family and decided to go by the Stone Fort Archaelogical Park.

Believe or not there is a connection between Stone Fort Archaelogical Park and a shelter hole on the side of the Noccalula Falls gorge wall.

This deep hole afforded protection from anyone. All a person had to do was

Read More

Gadsden: the original City of Champions - with copyright

December 13, 2013 chris
Gadsden has been known as the City of Champions for many years. But do you know that other cities also share the name? The only different is that Gadsden was the first to have it trademarked. Some of the others are: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: so named for the city’s response to the tornado of July
Read More

History of Noccalula’s Christmas Lighting

December 6, 2013 chris

In 2007, the City of Gadsden took over the Noccalula Falls Christmas lighting. The work for the last few years has been very impressive and city employees under Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Payne have done outstanding work.

Attempts in the past for making the mountain a special place have come and gone. Back in the 1980s, local historian Joe Barnes

Read More

Historical items in downtown Gadsden

November 27, 2013 chris

  The Vagabond is back with two little-known historical items of national interest in downtown Gadsden.

The old Post Office building, now known as the Federal Building, is located at the southwest corner of Broad and Sixth streets. The building was designed by a famous national architect and contains a very rare work of art by a national painter.

During

Read More

The Green Valley Cave and old Charlie Cline

November 22, 2013 chris

Last week, an article was written in this space about a cave and silver mine located in the Country Club Hills area in Gadsden. The Vagabond recently got to thinking about the nearby Green Valley Cave. Also known as Indian Springs Cave, the cave is part of several caves found along the mountains running pa-rallel to the Etowah/Calhoun County line

Read More

Silver mine in the Country Club Hills area

November 15, 2013 chris

When many people think of the natural beauty of Alabama, their minds’ eye imagines beautiful verdant forests, rivers and lakes teeming with wildlife, or perhaps a favorite white-sanded beach. However, Alabama has another tremendous natural resource - the world underground with its caves and karst systems. Karst refers to a landscape pockmarked with sinkholes, caves and underground streams.

Alabama has one

Read More

Fond memories of Granny

November 8, 2013 chris

Many of us share precious memories of our grandparents and the many things we’ve done with them.

The Vagabond has been blessed in so many ways growing up with his Granny.

Granny was a part of the old ways. She lived a very simple life in middle Tennessee.

She was a tough old lady and lived to be nearly 100 years old. She

Read More

Street Cars in the City of Gadsden

November 1, 2013 chris

On Aug. 8, 1889, Obal Christopher, J. S. Stewart and T. W. Gilmore of Attalla filed incorporation papers for the Alabama Street Car Company with an authorized capitalization of $25,000.

On the same date, the Attalla Board of Aldermen granted the company the right to lay its tracks through the streets.

The plan was to connect with the steam dummy’s line that

Read More

A Haunted Organ in Gadsden: Psychic phenomenon…real or not?

October 25, 2013 chris

The supernatural is defined as things that defy scientific explanation, such as ghosts, ghouls, goblins, wizards, druids and Stonehenge.

What we can touch, and feel is much more real to us, as humans, but what of the physical apparitions? Are they any less a reality?

So many of us, as physically unimpaired humans, rely so stringently upon the basic senses. Yet, what

Read More

Happenings: Things that move and make noise

October 18, 2013 chris

Halloween is coming up and the Vagabond thought he would share some happenings posted on the Facebook group “Welcome to Haunted Etowah County.”    It is located on the Internet at:   https://www.facebook.com/

Submitted by Shelia Freeman:

I will share with you some things that have happened in our family/homes. I live in a home that was built in 1939. I moved here about

Read More

The Kyle Opera House

October 11, 2013 chris

 Robert Benjamin Kyle, businessman, was born May 24, 1826, at Leakesville, Rockingham County, N.C.
    In 1845, Kyle was engaged as clerk in the dry goods store of J&J Kyle, and in 1846 was taken into co-partnership.
    He sold his interest in that business in 1850 and entered the wholesale grocery business under the firm name of Grimes, Kyle and Thornton.
  

Read More

Which Indian tribes resided in Etowah County?

October 4, 2013 chris

 For several years, the Vagabond has been asked where was the Cherokee tribe and the Creek tribe in Etowah County.
    On top of that, it is heard all the times that the Creek tribe held the area south of Wills and Line Creeks. This area would include the area south of Gadsden and Attalla.
    It is amazing that there has

Read More

Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100th Anniversary - Final

September 27, 2013 chris

For the last few weeks the Messenger and the Vagabond have been doing a partnership with Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the Gadsden steam plant. The Vagabond contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information. Leah wrote a very thick book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago  called Developed for the Service

Read More

Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100th anniverary - Part 3

September 20, 2013 chris

For the next few weeks the Messenger and the Vagabond will be doing a partnership with Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the Gadsden steam plant.

The Vagabond has contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information.

Leah wrote a very thick book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago  called Developed for the Service of

Read More

Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100th anniversary, Part 2

September 13, 2013 chris

For the next few weeks, the Messenger and The Vagabond are partnering with Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the Gadsden steam plant. The Vagabond has contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information. Leah wrote a comprehensive book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago called Developed for the Service of Alabama - the

Read More

Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100-year anniverary, Part 1

September 6, 2013 chris

For the next few weeks the Messenger and The Vagabond will partner with the Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the company’s Gadsden steam plant.
    The Vagabond contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information.
    Leah wrote a very thick book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago called Developed for the Service of

Read More

Ferries on the Coosa River

August 30, 2013 chris

The Vagabond remembers driving over the old Hokes Bluff Ferry years ago and got to thinking about the different ferries that used to operate in Etowah County.

The first ferryboat operated across the Coosa River in Gadsden was known as Walker Ferry, later known as the Ewing Ferry.

The landing was on the west bank of the river at the

Read More

Early baseball in Gadsden

August 23, 2013 chris

The Vagabond is a member and administrator of the Facebook group, “Welcome to Gadsden.” The group has over 4,000 members and anyone is able to join.

The page includes several historical postings each day. 

If you are a Facebook member, you can find it at www.facebook.com/groups/Gadsden/

Recently, group member Robert Elton submitted the following post:

“[This is] From my old school buddy,

Read More

Etowah County’s first courthouse

August 16, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond will venture around some history books and talk about the first courthouse in Etowah County. Many people have told me that they remember the courthouse that existed through 1950. Some folks even have argued that it was the first courthouse built for the county, but little do they know!

Back when the Vagabond was attending high school,

Read More

Gadsden’s Tunnel Block

August 9, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond visits the greatest eyesore Gadsden ever had.

Called the “Tunnel Block,” the area consisted of a group of about six or eight frame storehouses built over a creek on the north side of Broad Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. This was way back in the 1870’s and 1880’s.

A young friend of the Vagabond recently told

Read More

Along the lower Black Creek Trail

August 2, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond goes down the Black Creek for an adventure. The sites he passes by include the old Clayton’s gristmill, coal mines and nearby Sulphur Springs. These locations can be reached by the new Black Creek Trail that extends from the back of the Noccalula Falls campground to the Tuscaloosa Avenue/Black Creek Bridge near the Etowah County Rescue

Read More

Company 167 Infantry, Gadsden Part Four

July 26, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Gadsden Alabama 167th Infantry known as the Rainbow Division, a unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, donated a yearbook and the crest of the 1938 Alabama 167th Infantry to the Etowah Historical Society.

Next week a new Vagabond

Read More

1938 Co. 167 Infantry, Gadsden Part three

July 19, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Gadsden Alabama 167th Infantry. Known as the Rainbow Division, it was the unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, recently donated to the Etowah Historical Society a yearbook about the Alabama 167th Infantry during 1938. We will be showing this

Read More

Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton Part Two

July 12, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Alabama 167th Infantry known as the Rainbow Division, a unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, donated a yearbook about the Alabama 167th Infantry during 1938 to the Etowah Historical Society. We will be showing this yearbook and more about

Read More

Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton Part One

July 5, 2013 chris

Some time ago, the Messenger published a photo of the Gadsden National Guard band at Camp Blanding in Florida, which is located west of Jacksonville. The photo also appeared on Facebook some time back. Bill Elton was one of the few people who had his own car at Blanding, so he would sometimes loan the car to some of the

Read More

How did Gadsden get started? Part Six

June 28, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times about how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

Chapter VI—And Still More Pioneers

“No history of Gadsden would be complete without a record of Col. R. B. Kyle who since he

Read More

The Vagabond - How did Gadsden get started? Part 5

June 21, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:
 
Chapter V - Some more pioneers
“Well, we finished the roll call of the Christophers last week. That is, if any of

Read More

How did Gadsden get started? Part Four

June 14, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:
 
Chapter IV - Gadsden in the ‘Sixties

“During the week, I had a most pleasant and most profitable interview with those grand

Read More

How did Gadsden get started? Part 3

June 7, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and information about the city’s early years. One of Gadsden’s early historians and mayors, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929), wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

“Westward Ho! The star of the Empire takes its course, so Gadsden began to grow west from the

Read More