The Vagabond – Springs in Gadsden

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By Danny Crownover

Two springs are located in Gadsden at Third Street and Tuscaloosa Avenue (also known as Ewing Avenue) that are of historical interest, but it is doubtful if many citizens know of the springs’ existence.

The springs inspired the first name of this community, Double Springs. Gabriel Hughes, one of the founders of Gadsden, settled in that area when he purchased the log home of William Walker, who in 1836 purchased the home from John Riley.

The larger spring furnishes much water for ice making. Both springs are always flowing and at the present time flow under a parking lot and empty into a ditch.

Just behind what was known as the Morris Hotel at Third and Bay streets is the old Katy Hughes spring, which was the scene of many picnics back in the day. It furnished drinking water for many families in that part of town for many years.

The Standifer Spring located at Tuscaloosa Avenue and Fifth Street was in great use during the early days of Gadsden and was the scene of many picnics and barbeques. Spoon Motlow, who opened a saloon and distillery over 100 years ago, operated a distillery at Lynchburg, Tenn., and became a millionaire.

Sulphur Spring located on Mineral Avenue on the west bank of Black Creek was famous in the early days of Gadsden, as its water was as strongly impregnated with sulfur as any to be found in the state. Unfortunately, Sulphur Spring disappeared years ago through non-use and neglect.

Chalybeate Spring is located in the gorge below Noccalula Falls and is still in use, although not a popular as it was a century ago when water from this spring and Sulphur Spring was hauled into town and sold in gallon jugs to many families and stores. Several boys re-ceived a university education through hauling water from these two springs.

Gum Spring, later known as Barrel Spring, is located at the extreme south end of Fourth Street where it becomes Old South 4th Street. Nearby was located a straightaway racetrack that was an attraction in the 1860s through the early 1880s. Many political gatherings took place there and Sunday schools used the old spring for picnics.

In the rural section of the county there are many fine springs, especially in the valleys. Most churches in the country were built near springs.

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