Old book talks about early Gadsden – final part


  This article was taken out of an old book called Northern Alabama, 1888. In it is much information about Gadsden and Etowah County. Let’s finish up our story for the week.

“The society of Gadsden is refined and cultivated.

“The healthfulness of the place, and the beauty of its surroundings, have conspired to draw to it the best class of population, and in a few years no doubt its society will rival in culture some of the older cities of the New England States.

“Fine private schools, a graded public institute, with excellent churches of all denominations, leave nothing to be desired to those seeking a beautiful home with nice surroundings.

“The First National Bank of Gadsden was established April 1, 1887. Its cash capital is $50,000. It has an extensive line of deposits, aggregating over $100,000.

“The president, Mr. A. L. Glenn, is known in financial circles; while its popular cashier, Mr. W. G. Brockway, was in a manner born to the business, having from his earliest boyhood been trained to banking.

“The vice-president is Major E. 0. Randall, a man of large experience and fine success in business matters. The directors are among the best men of Gadsden and men who own large interests in the city.

“The bank has done a fine business, and its future is very bright. The probability is that the capital will be increased to $100,000 this fall (1888).

“Gadsden up to a year ago had two weekly papers, the Times and the News. On February 1, 1887, these two weeklies consolidated for the purpose of running a daily at a very early period. 

“The consolidated paper is known as the Gadsden Times and News, and is regarded as one of the best weeklies published in the state.

“Meeks and Johnson, the editors and proprietors, are lifelong newspaper men, and have succeeded always in furnishing a good paper to the people.

“The Times and News will merge into a daily as soon as the railroads now in process of construction to Gadsden are completed. At present it is a weekly devoted to agriculture, politics, general literature and the news of the day. Its politics are Democratic. The Times before its consolidation with the News was one of the oldest papers in the state, having been established in 1867. They were consolidated in 1887. The News was established in 1880.

“Three miles northwest of Gadsden are situated the beautiful and picturesque Noccalula Falls.

“Black Creek flows along the summit of the southern spur of Lookout Mountain, for some distance, until it abruptly widens over a vast ledge of rock, falling one hundred feet into a whirlpool below.

“Like nearly all fine scenes in nature, it is impossible to give such a description as would convey to the mind of the reader an accurate idea of the beauty to be seen here.

“While not so grand as Niagara Falls, they exceed them in beauty and picturesque appearance. It is all nature’s work, as art has done nothing to change or modify their appearance, but they possess all the wild beauty that they had in days of yore, when the Indian legend tells us, that the beautiful Star, Alivilda, of the Cherokee tribe, leaped over them to avoid going with the Creek chief to his distant wigwam.

“Five miles west of the City of Gadsden is the thriving little City of Attalla. It is situated right in the middle of the mineral wealth of the county.

“Its present railroad facilities are superior to those of Gadsden. It is immediately on the line of the great Queen & Crescent Route, which is one of the finest and longest railroad lines in the South.

“Besides the Queen & Crescent Route, Attalla has all the other railroads of the county centering and crossing there. The Anniston & Cincinnati Railroad, the Rome & Decatur, and the Tennessee & Coosa Railroads, all center in Attalla.

“This little city, like many other towns in the mineral belt, for a number of years has relied on agriculture for its support. Attalla has awakened from its slumber, and its enterprising citizens are now bending their energies toward the development of her great mineral wealth. Her population is increasing very rapidly, and it numbers now over 1,200. 

“The city is improving quite rapidly, and in a short while several furnaces, which are now in process of erection, will be converting the fine iron ores around her doors into merchantable pig-iron. 

“The society of this little city is very good, having excellent churches and fine schools. “The location of the city is indeed fine and attractive, being surrounded on two sides by high hills, with two beautiful valleys coming together right above it. 

“Attalla has a bright future before her, and her enterprising citizens are exerting themselves for her growth and prosperity.

“Attalla is largely engaged in the mercantile business, besides mining large quantities of iron ore, which is shipped to farmers in Tennessee and Georgia.

“The city has two newspapers, the New Age, published and edited by A. G. Lee, and the Attalla Herald, published and edited by T. J. Watkins. Both of these papers are Democratic in politics, and are working for the development and prosperity of Attalla and Etowah County. 

“In addition to the cities of Gadsden and Attalla the county of Etowah has several other prosperous villages, among which we mention Walnut Grove, as remarkable for its good society, excellent churches and fine schools.”

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