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Battle for St. Clair High School

1908 battle for location of county high school lands in Odenville Story by Joe Whitten Photos by Graham Hadley Submitted Photos When Braxton Bragg Comer was elected governor in 1906, among his goals was upgrading Alabama schools. In 1907, legislation passed to establish county high schools in counties where there was not already a state-supported […]

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Saving the Old Rock School

A valiant effort and noble cause Story and Photos by Jerry C. Smith Submitted Photos When Springville Preservation Society’s Frank Waid escorted me into the upper level of an old rock school building on Pine Street, I was immediately struck with its ambience of antiquity. Even by flashlight, I could easily discern beautiful hardwood floors which […]

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Steel Magnolia

Ashville’s Mattie Lou Teague Crow Story and photos by Jerry Smith Submitted photos Those of us who work with history sometimes stand on broad shoulders as we search for every pertinent detail, no matter how obscure, to ensure the veracity of our offerings. Accurate, comprehensive input is as vital to us as a blueprint is […]

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Joe Whitten

Historian, storyteller, teacher: A life well lived Story and photos by Jerry C. Smith Submitted photos The usual love triangles pale in comparison with Odenville educator and historian Joe Whitten’s quadrangle of passions. In no particular order, they are St. Clair County history, Gail Elaine McGeoch, hundreds of grateful students and the Lord, whom he […]

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Ragland

A good-hearted town Story and photos by Jerry C. Smith Submitted Photos Tucked unobtrusively between Shoal Creek Mountain and the Coosa River, the St. Clair County town of Ragland does little to pique the attention of passers-through. It’s like the town is taking a well-earned furlough from the generic commerce and sprawl that makes other […]

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Locks of the Coosa

Steamboat A-Comin’ Captain Lay raises the bar Story by Jerry C. Smith Photos by Jerry C. Smith Submitted photos In the two years surrounding the end of the Civil War, Capt. Cummins Lay set a Coosa River record that remains unbroken today; he’s the only river pilot to navigate a steamboat over the Coosa’s entire […]

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