POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVELING EXHIBITS
Historical "Streets" of North Central Alabama
as displayed through the Traveling Exhibits
S E E F U L L I T I N E R A R I E S
—Anniston, incorporated in 1883, is the county seat of Calhoun County. In 1872, the proprietors of the Woodstock Iron Company sought to create “The Model City” so they meticulously planned and constructed their ideal company town here. They also hand selected residents, paid them above-average wages, housed them in tidy four-room cottages, and banned alcohol. The town was originally known as Woodstock, but since that name was taken, it was changed to Anniston in 1873 in honor of Daniel Tyler's daughter-in-law, Annie. In 1883, the founders opened the town to the public. This postcard shows Noble Street, Anniston in the early 1900s.
—Birmingham is the county seat of Jefferson County. It was founded in 1871 by investors of the Elyton Land Company who envisioned a New South iron industry near abundant deposits of iron-ore, coal, and limestone. They bought land in Jones Valley, speculating that they could build a boom town. Railroad surveyor John Milner, tasked with deciding where two railways would intersect, ran the tracks along the southern boundary of the company’s holdings. The city was named for Birmingham, England, the center of that country's iron industry. Between 1902 and 1912 downtown Birmingham developed from a low-rise commercial and residential district into a busy grid of high-rise buildings and busy streetcar lines. This postcard depicts the beginning of that transformation.
—By the 1890s, Birmingham had evolved from a rough and tumble “boom town” to a civilized city with paved streets, gaslights, and telephone service. This postcard shows the intersection of Third Avenue and 20th Avenue in Birmingham. This is typical scene of a business district in early 1900s. The building on the corner is Blach’s, a family-owned department store chain founded in 1885 by German immigrant Julius Blach. The store was located in downtown Birmingham until it closed in 1988.
—Carbon Hill, a city in Walker County, was first settled in the 1820s. The railroad and coal mining brought more people to the area. The town was incorporated on February 14, 1891. The founding fathers specifically chose Valentine's Day because they wanted the tiny town to be known as The Village of Love and Luck. The notion of coal as luck derives from the cultural traditions of Scotland.
—Jacksonville, in Calhoun County, was founded in 1833 on land purchased from a Creek Indian Chief. The town was first called Drayton and then Madison, but renamed in honor of President Andrew Jackson in 1835 and incorporated in 1836. A fire in 1883 destroyed much of the town surrounding the square and was followed by a building boom that included an opera house. This postcard shows the Jacksonville Public Square in the 1930s. This downtown historic district and gathering place is at the heart of the city.
—Jasper is the county seat of Walker County. Jasper was settled in the early 1800s and named after Revolutionary War hero Sergeant William Jasper. Its first settler, E. D. Musgrove, donated land to the county for the establishment of the city with the stipulation that it be designated as the county seat. The city was incorporated in 1887. This postcard shows the Jasper Business district in the early 1900s.
—Sylacauga is a city in Talladega County and the center of Alabama’s marble industry. The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga. The commercial marble quarries began to appear a few years later. Broadway Avenue is Sylacauga's main thoroughfare. This is a postcard of how the town looked in the 1920s.
—Tuscaloosa is the seat of Tuscaloosa County. It was founded in 1819 and named after an Indian chieftain named Tascaluza. Tuscaloosa was incorporated on December 13, 1819, a day before Alabama was admitted to the Union. From 1826 to 1846, it was the state capital of Alabama. During this period, in 1831, the University of Alabama was established. Greensboro Avenue was the main street of Tuscaloosa when this postcard was published.