Recreating image from Gadsden’s past

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 By Donna Thornton/News Editor

A photo taken 100 years ago on Broad Street in Gadsden inspired some local motorcycle riders to launch their planned charity ride with a unique event.

The photo features members of what was probably Gadsden’s first motorcycle club – the Gadsden Bunch – who ran the streets of Gadsden on their Indian motorcycles around 1912.

Their modern day counterparts have a more intimidating name – the Deviants – but Ron Presley said the group he rides with is a good bunch of guys.
 On Saturday (Sept. 29) they will kick off a charity ride to raise money for their “Secret Santa” campaign, Presley said, and they plan to start with a recreation of this old photo shot on Broad Street.

Downtown Gadsden, Inc., Director Kay Moore said the street will be closed for a while Saturday morning to allow for the shooting of the photo.

According to “Images of Etowah County,” the book that published the photograph, it is part of the Adolph Lebourg Collection. Lebourg, the book recounts, was a French immigrant who came to Gadsden with a circus. He later owned a sporting goods store on Broad Street and repaired radios.

More significantly in the history of Etowah County, Lebourg was fascinated with photography and he documented many images of Gadsden about a century ago in still and motion pictures. According to the book, Gadsden City of Champions, by Mike Goodson, Lebourg had a photography studio and re-corded many images and events in Gadsden.

Another fascination of Lebourg’s was motorcycles, which led to the notable photo of the “Gadsden Bunch,” a group of his friends and motorcycle enthusiasts who were seen around town back in the day, riding their iconic Indians.

The group stopped long enough to be captured in the photo, posing with their Indians on Broad Street.

The Gadsden Bunch, as pictured in “Images of Etowah County,” included, Joe Lumpkin, Adolph Le-bourg, Fred Pruitt, Ernest Phillips, Audie King, Bill Sexton and G.E. Gay.

The “Gadsden Bunch” participated in endurance races and “were seen everywhere on their Indians,” according to the book.

Lebourg, the book states, was killed in a boating accident on Lake Guntersville on Easter Sunday, 1958.

Presley said a few of the motorcycle riders will be involved in recreating the 1912 photo, but he hopes to get a photo of all the riders who will be involved in the charity ride.

He said in addition to the Deviants, some of the Drifters and the One Way Outers will participate.

The group wants to raise money through this ride and other efforts to supply Christmas for several needy families in the area. Presley said the plan is to arrange for a holiday meal, a Christmas tree and presents for the families to be assisted, so that they can have a complete Christmas. Presley said the Deviants the ride is the first of several fundraising efforts.

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