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Source: Anniston, The Model City Of The South." Compiled and published by the Governing Committee Of The Bureau Of Information Of The City Of Anniston, Ala.  1887. - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney




ANNISTON is located in the Northeastern part of the State, sixty miles from Birmingham, one hundred miles from Atlanta, and is within easy reach of all the coast and Northern cities. It is situated on the main line of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad, at the crossing of the Georgia Pacific Railroad. The location is beautiful and picturesque, being in a valley at the foot of Blue mountain, a chain of the Blue Ridge. It is one of the highest points accessible to railroads in the State, commanding a view of unexcelled grandeur.
The property, prior to 1883, belonged exclusively to the Woodstock Iron Company, a corporation organized by Messrs. Samuel Noble and Daniel Tyler, and was by them held from the outside world, not through any feeling of exclusiveness nor any desire on their part to control the trade of the city and the surrounding country, but simply to lay the basis of a city in the proper way ; to so arrange its drainage that when it became a great city there would be no trouble in keeping it clean and healthy ; to lay off its streets in a manner systematic and properly proportioned, and to so macadamize them that they would afford safe and pleasant drives.
Not only was all this done but a great deal more, which could not have been accomplished in any other way. In 1883 the city was thrown open to the public, with better streets, sidewalks, parks, shade trees, water works, schools, churches, hotels, etc., than any city in the State of ten times its size. These were built by the company and did not entail one dollar of debt to the city. All the local improvements and the three railroads brought to the city, were accomplished without any expense to the present population.
At that time a number of business and residence lots were sold to parties attracted here by the beauty of the place and its promises of future greatness ; by them many improvements were made, and many business enterprises organized. But the business stagnation which was felt all over the country at that time was felt here also, and for several years the growth of the place was very slow. But as soon as trade revived and the attention of the outside world was drawn to the richness of this country, Anniston suddenly sprang into prominence, and in the race for prosperity, has left all her competitors far in the rear.
By acts of the State legislature, Anniston is an incorporated city and a separate school district. The schools are controlled by the Mayor and Common Council, and for the population are the largest and most flourishing public schools in the State. In addition there are two pay schools for boys and girls.


The climate is well balanced, and has no equal in the South for moderate temperature both in summer and winter. The highest degree of heat registered at the Inn during this last summer - the hottest known for years - was ninety-two degrees, which was ten degrees lower than that reported by any town in the State. The nights are always cool and refreshing, even during the warmest season of the year.


Anniston combines with the unexampled advantages as a manufacturing and business center, all that can be desired to make up the attractions of a delightful and healthy home. The site of the town possesses every feature that an experienced engineer would desire in selecting a perfect location. The beautiful valley in which it is situated lies 800 feet above tide water, slopes from the east and west to the center, with a gentle fall toward the south, affording the most perfect natural drainage, and the Blue mountain range towering 1,000 feet above the valley, with its picturesque slopes presents the most attractive building sites, from which the eye is delighted by long stretches of beautiful scenery and extended views of the country beyond, to a distance of thirty miles or more.
The great essentials of a good home are pure air, good water and a salubrious climate; all of these are to be found here. The air from the pine-clad mountains, sweeping over upland valleys and table lands, is pure and invigorating ; pure and sparkling water from the mountain ranges is obtained, while the climate is delicious the whole year. These advantages, with freedom from malarial influences and from mosquitoes, its equable climate, free from the rigorous winters of the North, and from the oppressive heat of less elevated localities of the South, make it in point of health and comfort, equal to any locality on the continent. In addition to the natural charms, everything that could contribute to the attractiveness of the city has been done. It was completely surveyed and laid out before a house was built, and the streets, broad and level, were planted with shade trees, and macadamized with crushed slag from the furnaces, rolled down to a perfection of hardness, splendid for riding and driving.
The city is lighted by electricity, the streets, hotels, opera house, churches, furnaces, etc., being illuminated by the Brush system. There is a fine system of public schools. There are churches of all denominations, besides those for colored persons. The stores are fine, solid, commodious brick structures, some with handsome iron fronts and large plate glass show windows. One is struck with the neat, clean, well-to-do appearance of the business houses, and the entire absence of the small wooden shed and shanty style of building so often seen in towns the size of Anniston. The merchants are brisk, live and vigorous, and are busy and prosperous.
There is an air of thrift pervading everything. The residents from one end of town to the other seem imbued with a sense of cleanliness, neatness and order. Every-body seems proud of the town and anxious to do his part toward keeping up its reputation. In and around the city are many beautiful residences, having extensive ornamented grounds, and provided with all the conveniences and luxurious appointments which wealth can command. There are suburban locations for the families of the men employed in the shops and factories, and another where the homes of the colored people are gathered - all laid out regularly and made attractive by the neat style of cottages, surrounded by grass plats and flower beds. The extremely comfortable style in which these cottages are finished, demonstrates the fact that the manufacturers are solicitous of the welfare of their employees.


A Romantic Past To Be Followed By A Glorious Future - The Solid Facts That Make Prediction Certainty.
I presume my friend and associate (Mr. Tyler) has called on me to say a few words about our beautiful city because he thinks I know, or ought to know, more about her past and her future than any one else; and not because I could say it as well as many who hear me, and are more gifted with the power of language to portray the marvelous beauty and wondrous resources which nature has lavished upon us.
As to Anniston's past, it is familiar to all of you, and I shall not dwell upon it. Our present is before you ; it can be studied each for himself ; it is of our future and its security I would speak, and what I know has been done up to this time by those who in some measure control and shape her destiny ; that I am sure will interest you most.
So far as my observation and practical experience tend- and I have traveled some, and without being egotistical I can say I have been a close observer, and during my life have obtained some knowledge of the resources of my country-- I can truly say that I know of no section from Canada to the Gulf, or from Maine to California, where nature has done so much, has been so lavish of her gifts, and placed her resources where they can be so easily commanded and made available to man. We have an invigorating climate, that for health is unequaled in the world. Water, crystal and cool, that restores the invalid and sustains the vigor and energy of the strong. We have resources in minerals the most useful of all in promoting man's civilization and comfort. Iron and coal are at our very doors, in quantity and excellence that render Anniston, in commanding these resources, peerless even in the great State of Alabama; while to support a manufacturing and business population we have tributary to our city the richest and best agricultural lands in the State.
All these are foundations of Anniston's future, her greatness and her prosperity. It has been to utilize and secure these, not for a year, decade or generation, but for generations and centuries to come, that for years a work has been quietly going on, step by step, and has now placed Anniston in a position for all time to come to command the situation and become what nature intended, and her people intend her to be, the great manufacturing, commercial, educational and social city of Alabama. There has been secured to her and placed at her command within a stretch of sixty miles nearly 50,000 acres containing the very best deposits of hematite iron ores in our section, that produce an iron, the excellence of whose quality is known in almost every State in the Union and in the Province of Canada. There has open secured in addition over thirty miles in length of the best fossiliferous iron ore in our State, while tens of thousands of acres of virgin forests are controlled for the benefit of our great car industries, and construction of business places, public buildings, and comfortable and civilized homes for our people.
To crown all, one of the largest and best coal properties that are now or have ever been operated in our State, has passed into Anniston's control, securing for her present and future industries an immediate supply of the purest and best steam and coking coal that has yet been opened in the South. To make available all these vast resources, we have the grand trunk lines of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia and Georgia Pacific railroads that open up a portion of our territory. The Anniston and Atlantic Railroad, built by Anniston capital in the interest of her business and manufactures, controls even a still greater proportion, while the Anniston and Cincinnati Railroad, which Anniston is now building and will own, gives her a grand trunk line connection to Cincinnati and Chicago and the great Northwest on the one hand, and with New Orleans, Shreveport and the great Southwest and Pacific coast on the other, and brings to our doors the vast acquisitions of coal and ore that have been acquired along the line of the Alabama and Great Southern Railroad.
All that has been done has been carefully considered, and for a purpose, not to make a speculative town ; not to boom real estate, for that will take care of itself ; not to unload on the ignorant and unsuspecting, and pocket other people's money, leaving them with exhausted resources to create an industrial community as best they can. With us it means the creation of new industries and the sustaining of the old, and making all prosperous and profitable alike. It means for all time to come, an unlimited supply of fuels and ores for four large iron furnaces in and tributary to Anniston. It means placing in the most favored position the large coke furnaces that are now building. It means cheap iron and fuel for the largest and most complete pipe foundry in America, now in course of construction.
It means the command of the finest timber in the world for car works, and cheap iron, cheap coal for our foundries, our rolling mills, our forges, our wheel foundry, steel works, and cotton factory. It means cheap transportation and easy access to all parts of our common country, for the products of our industry, and the return of commodities in exchange. It means a careful and prudent investment of capital that will yield a profitable return, and build and sustain every mercantile and business interest, add to the wealth of our State and community, and open up new markets to our merchants. It means the addition of 4,000 working men to our population within the next fifteen months, and an addition of 20,000 more to our population. It means the creation of a home market for our agriculturists, and with our diversified manufactures rendering diversified farming not only possible but profitable. It means the increase of wealth and purchasing power of all our people - farmers and artisans alike- and their ability to command what every man from youth up dreams and struggles to acquire, the greatest amount of the necessities, the comforts and the luxuries of life.
Thus, as far as possible, has the future of Anniston been secured, and it seems that nothing has been unthought-of or left undone. Its great industries located ; its means of transportation provided ; no niggard hand has cramped its new enterprise for space, but every acre that will be needed for generations to come, even under the greatest favorable development, has been given them. All this has been done, not by the expenditure of hundreds of thousands, but by many millions of dollars. It has been done without the issue of a bond or mortgage, a note or a single evidence of debt, relieving all our enterprise of all fixed charges either in times of prosperity or depression. It has been done judiciously and to make profitable the use of nature's capital in the great mineral resources with which she has surrounded us.

A Glimpse of Anniston from the Artist's Window at the Anniston Inn
View of Anniston from the Observatory at the Inn - 1887

Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney


By Edward A. Oldham.

During the year 1872, Daniel, Alfred L. and E. L. Tyler, and James, John, Samuel and William Noble, organized the Woodstock Iron Company. The history of Anniston may be said to date from this event, as this company and the furnaces subsequently built by it formed the nucleus around which has clustered an industrial community whose fame has gone abroad throughout the land and beyond the sea. 

     At Oxford, contiguous to the present site of Anniston, the Confederate Government during the war had built a furnace, which had been destroyed by a raiding party under the command of General Croxton, whose brigade had been separated from the command of General Wilson in the neighborhood of Selma. The reputation of this old plant, and the exceptional quality of its former output, reached the ears of the Nobles, then prosperous ironmongers at Rome, Ga., and Samuel Noble, imbued with a desire to become better acquainted with the mineral resources of this section, sallied forth, five years prior to the formation of the company, and visited the ruins of the old furnace and explored the red hills north of the quaint little, old-fashioned village of Oxford, where the city of Anniston now stands. He was quick to perceive the enormous quantities of ore, and his iron sense, for which he is so justly distinguished, took in at a glance the richness of the deposits. Before his English eye, accustomed to the beauty of landscape and sky, there lay spread out a lovely valley, gracefully undulating, through which, in serpentine course, wound a little stream whose waters sparkled and sang as they frolicked over rocks and pebbles. To the north rose Blue Mountain, rich in a vestment of green, while grouped around the valley ranged lesser heights, children of the Blue Ridge wandered away from their mighty parent. Mr. Noble was impressed with the natural beauty of the situation, and its fitness for the location of a great city presented itself to him, and the desire to become one of its founders filled his bosom with a proud ambition. 

     Through the assistance of the Quintards of New York, old friends, he purchased the largest and main ore deposits, and continued adding to the property until the formation of the company, which also added, by judicious purchases, from time to time, until the property became a vast territory of mineral lands, aggregating one hundred thousand acres. 

     The romantic manner in which Mr. Noble and General Tyler became interested in their subsequent enterprise, is concisely narrated in the following letter, written by Mr. Noble to Alfred L. Tyler, soon after the death of the latter's father in 1883. Mr. Noble writes: 

     "The death of the General recalls as vividly as if it were but yesterday my first meeting with him. In the spring of 1872, when you were acting vice-president of the South Carolina Railroad, I visited you at your office in Charleston on business, bearing a letter of introduction from J. M. Selkirk, superintendent of the Rome (Ga.) Railroad. While at your desk talking to you, I noticed an aged gentleman whose whole attention was fixed on the morning paper. Presently he laid it down, and went to one corner of your office and consulted a map on the wall. A few moments after he came to the desk were you and I were talking, and said to me: "When I was building the Macon & Western Railroad some thirty years ago, I heard from men who were at work for me, of large bodies of iron ore in your part of the State. Do you know anything about it?" His earnest manner, and the interest he manifested in putting the question, impressed me at once. I said to him he could not have questioned me on a subject with which I was more familiar; that there was hardly an iron property in Georgia or Alabama I did not know, he then said: 

     "When I was a young man I went into the iron business in Pennsylvania, and made one of the first attempts to make iron with anthracite coal. I went over to Wales, and brought over a founder to run the furnace, as at that time it was not supposed that there was any founder in the United States who could blow an anthracite furnace. We had trouble from the start with the founder, who dictated, and the furnace, which chilled up every time we started. The difficulties we encountered, and the disadvantages we contended against, were so great, that I resolved never to touch or become interested in any iron property that lacked a single advantage - that had not on it everything in abundance, and accessible for the cheap production of good iron. I have had the iron business burned into me, and have not forgotten my first experience; but if I can find a property that has on it every thing for making iron without buying any raw material, or bringing any to it, I might be tempted to go into the business again." 

     "I said I had been in the iron business myself, and then owned a property that combined in itself advantages over every other property I knew. I told him I believed there was no place in the South then accessible to equal it for making good and cheap iron. Nature could hardly have done more for it, and it would be real pleasure to me, I continued, if he would come to see it, as I was sure it would interest him greatly. Hesitating a moment, he said: "I will try and come up and look at it within the next two weeks."

     "I had but little idea that a man of his age would, on a second thought, take such a long and uncomfortable journey, and was surprised at his coming to Home some ten days afterward for a visit of inspection. At that time there was no railroad station, and only three old, unfinished houses at what is now the town of Anniston. So we stopped at Oxford, two miles below, where we found horses. He rode with me over the country, exploring every hill and valley, gathering information from everybody he met. and from the inmates of every house he passed, about the timber lands, limestone and rock quarries - their location and extent - and then going to the places indicated and examining them himself. 

      Familiar as I thought I was with the whole country, I found while with him how much there was I had not looked into or thought of investigating. Nothing escaped his observation. In his company I made the most thorough and exhaustive exploration of the country I ever made before or since. I was surprised at his knowledge and practical ideas concerning the requisites for iron manufacture. We rode for three days in succession, returning to the hotel in Oxford after dark, I thoroughly tired out, but the General fresh as ever. He would go down from his room, and with some choice tea - a present from an English sea captain, make a hot cup for both; the hotel people did not know how tea was 'cooked.' Sipping our Hyson, we talked over what had been seen during the day, and planned for the next. The General, I knew, was surprised and pleased with the property, although he said but little. After enquiring about the market for and price of iron, and the probable consumption at Rome, he said: 'I will go back and bring up Alfred to look at it.' 

    "The rest you know. The visit led to the organization of the Woodstock Iron Company, and shortly after the foundation of the town of Anniston. Then came the building up of a business of such magnitude and prosperity as led to a great increase of wealth and population in this section of the State. 

     "I never think of my first meeting with the General without being deeply impressed with its beneficial results to this portion of the country, a meeting which, at the time, was apparently a mere accident. From that time to my last interview with him in New York, two months before his death, his clear and active mind was always planning and suggesting something for the benefit of Anniston and its people. Plans and suggestions that to us seemed impracticable and premature, we found, from his clear reasoning and hearty co-operation, not only could be carried out, but were needed. In acting on his suggestions and plans, we found how wise he was in forethought, and wondered why we had not thought of the plans ourselves. To his earnest exertions and liberality we are indebted for the water works, the cotton factory and the car works, the promotion of immigration, the successful cultivation of the grasses, the introduction of blooded cattle and improved stock, large and more comfortable dwellings for the workingmen, the building of churches and schools for them, and facilities for the education of their children. He was a grand old man - one of the most generous and unselfish I ever knew, always interested in and planning for the welfare of others, and never so happy as when those he aided profited by his advice and assistance. I hoped he would have lived for years to come, and enjoyed the proud satisfaction of seeing the plans he had so generously and prudently formed for the welfare of the people of the town he had founded, grown to perfection. We shall miss him greatly. Who will impress us with the feeling of confidence in every new plan and undertaking that he was wont to give? To whom shall we look for the sound advice his age, experience and clear mind alone could impart? We miss him daily. We will always miss him." 

     In April, 1873, the first furnace of the company, at a cost of $100,000, was completed and went into blast. This furnace, from that time, has run without intermission, day and night (Sundays included), without stopping, except for enlargement or repairs, turning out an annual product of 10,000 tons of iron. Not even the protracted depression which accompanied the great panic of 1873 was sufficient cause to bank the fires of their furnace, the demand for whose output being so much in excess of its capacity that another furnace was called into being, and in August, 1879, it was completed and put into operation. The following year witnessed the re-building and enlargement of the first furnace and the organization, by Mr. Noble and his associates, of a new company, known as the Clifton Iron Company, which absorbed the Alabama Furnace at Jenifer, together with 12,000 acres of land environing it. This company, in 1884, erected its second furnace at Ironaton, twenty miles from Anniston, which was blown in April 6, 1885, and has an annual output of 13,000 tons. 

     On the 12th day of July, in 1873, an election was held among the voters of the community to decide the question of incorporation, and a majority having favored this step, the place was incorporated as the Town of Anniston by order of the County Judge of Probate, and named, in honor of Annie, the wife of Alfred L. Tyler. On February 4, 1879, Anniston received a charter from the State Legislature, and Charles O'Rouke was chosen first Intendant. This charter was amended and amplified by the Legislature of 1887, and Anniston then received its baptism as a city. Dr. R. P. Huger becoming the first Mayor, followed the succeeding year by F. W. Foster, both of whom were faithful and efficient officers. 

     To provide profitable employment for the wives and children of the operatives employed in the furnaces and other manufacturing establishments, a cotton factory with twelve thousand spindles, was erected in 1881, and the following year the carwheel workers of Noble Brothers, were moved from Rome to Anniston. During the same year (1882) the construction of the water- works was begun by the sinking of a well ten feet in diameter and eighty feet deep, the whole lined with a heavy cast-iron curbing put in in segments all bolted securely together. A 150 horse-power beam engine was brought into requisition to pump the water from the well and force it to the reservoir at an elevation of two hundred and thirty-six feet, on one of the hills east of the city one and one-half miles distant. Water-pipes were laid through the principal streets, forty-five hydrants located at points where property was most exposed, and an ample supply of pure water was distributed over the town at a pressure of one hundred pounds to the inch, being great enough to dispense with the use of fire engines, and only requiring the employment of hose carriages to afford the town ample fire protection. 

      In the meanwhile an ideal city had been laid out, a perfect system of drainage designed, the streets macadamized, waterworks, stores, churches and schools built, and railroad connections secured. The entire business of the place was carried on by the company, who owned the furnaces, machine shops, saw-mills, stores, etc. The real estate which composed the town was not in the market, and the Woodstock Company owned the whole of it. Their policy was not one of exclusiveness by any means; the proprietor simply desired to lay, undisturbed, the basis of a model city, to carefully arrange the drainage, to systematically lay off and macadamize the streets, and perfect such embellishments and establish such industries as would have been impossible in a heterogeneous population. By 1883 the germ of a great city had been deposited, and Anniston was then formally opened to the public; having better streets, sidewalks, parks, shade-trees, water-works, schools, churches, hotels, etc., than many older cities with thousands of inhabitants. The streets run north and south, east and west, and are macadamized with the lava-like slag from the furnaces, making a roadway which will last for ages. The sidewalks of many of the streets are laid with hard cement pavements and granite curbings, while long rows of beautiful shade-trees of the water oak variety are an attractive embellishment to a number of thoroughfares. 

     At this time, the company had secured for Anniston the Georgia Pacific and the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroads, and with their own capital had built the Anniston & Atlantic, and projected the Anniston & Cincinnati. The construction of these railroads and all of the local improvements did not entail a dollar of expense upon the town, which at that time contained about four thousand people. 

     Systematic endeavor has characterized the founders of Anniston from the very inception of the undertaking, and in order to insure the perfection of every detail, three organizations were effected - the Woodstock, the Clifton, with its quartette of charcoal furnaces and its bee-hives of industrious inhabitants, known to the world by the musical names of Ironaton and Jenifer, and the Anniston Land and Improvement Company. This latter body expended vigorous efforts toward the building up of the city, and held out liberal inducements to new industries and additional population. The different religions denominations were aided by the donation of building lots, and to this generous policy may be attributed the prosperous growth of the churches of Anniston. 

     In 1883, Murray & Stevenson were induced to move their foundry from Cartersville, Ga., to Anniston, and. about the same time, an ice manufacturing company was organized with W. J. Rushton as president, W. J. Cameron as secretary and treasurer, and F. W. Dixon as manager. In 1884 a Brush electric plant to light the town was established, using arc lamps of two thousand candle-power. The same year was made notable for the commencement of the work of erecting the Inn, a graceful specimen of Queen Anne architecture, and a hostelry whose luxurious appointments and external attractions have won for it the title of "the famous Anniston Inn." It occupies an elevated position in the centre of a twenty-acre lawn, and commands a splendid view of the city. A few years later the Parker House, now known as the Anniston Tavern, was built, and during 1888 the Hotel Wilmer will be completed. There are other houses of accommodation in the city. 

    In November, 1886, a company, with a capital of $50,000, was organized to erect and operate the Alabama Car Works. John W. Noble was chosen president, and E. E. G. Roberts became secretary and treasurer. The capacity of the works, at that time, was about ten cars a day, giving employment to over two hundred men. 

     So quietly have the projectors of Anniston labored, that, when the city was thrown open to the world in 1883, those visiting it were not prepared to see a model city in embryo. The denouement was complete, and the fame of Anniston spread rapidly throughout the country, drawing hither a steady stream of people. 

     The handful of enthusiastic founders who composed the trio of companies before alluded to began to be oppressed by a sense of responsibility, as they saw their cherished undertaking assume such rapidly enlarging proportions. Their properties had become too cumbersome for individual management, when outside capital stepped forward with proposals for the purchase of a portion of the holdings. The Woodstock and the Land Companies were each capitalized at $3,000,000, this valuation having been fixed by the prospective purchasers, and was accepted by their owners as a basis for the sale of one-third of the former company and one-half of the latter, consequently on January 22, 1887, the transfer was made to the new organization, since which time the original owners of the property have owned two-thirds, or $2,000,000 in the Woodstock Iron Company and one-half, or $1,500,000 of the stock of the Anniston City Land Company. Of the latter company. Col. John M. McKleroy, of Eufaula, is president, and Duncan T. Parker, president of the First National Bank, is treasurer. 

     On Monday, January 24th, following the date of organization a land sale was held, lasting half the day, during which nearly half a million dollars" worth of property was sold. The growth of Anniston from this time forward was remarkably rapid, and by the spring of that year the population had increased to over 7,000. 

     In addition to the Anniston City Land Company there were organized the Mechanicsville, West Anniston, South Anniston and the Draper-Riddle Land Companies, and the Ledbetter Land and Loan Association, all of which have exerted a healthful influence in building up the city. 

      The reorganization of the land company and the inauguration of a vigorous policy on the part of Colonel McKleroy, the president, was productive of much benefit to the young city, and a number of new enterprises was set on foot. The Anniston Pipe Works Company was organized in February, 1887, with D. T. Parker as president. L. H. Smith as secretary and treasurer, and Robert T. Carter as superintendent. This company was formed with a cash capital of $300,000, and owns 120 acres of valuable laud adjoining the city limits. These works, which are in process of erection, will, when completed, have the distinction of being the most extensive gas-and-water pipe foundry in the world. This plant, including the yards, cover an area of twenty acres, the main building being 504x130 feet, with two wings, each 275x36 feet. Over 300 men will be employed, working up 300 tons of iron per day. 

     The construction of this huge plant called into existence additional furnaces to supply it with the crude material; therefore, simultaneous with the commencement of the pipe works, construction began on two new coke furnaces, projected by the Woodstock Company, and located in convenient proximity to the great plant, which alone will consume nearly the entire output of the new furnaces. The latter are being built throughout by Anniston workmen, including the five large engines, thirty-six boilers, furnace stacks, hot blast ovens, and other general iron work. When completed these furnaces are to have a capacity of 100,000 tons per annum. To provide an inexhaustible supply of fuel for this immense plant, the Woodstock Company secured a controlling interest in valuable coal mining properties lying in Bibb, Shelby and Jefferson Counties, consisting of 30,000 acres, and composing the richest portion of the Cahaba Coal Field. 

     Close in the wake of the foregoing enterprises came the steel bloomary, the extensive fire-brick works of Taylor & Sons, planing-mills and numerous brick yards, the Barbour Machine Works, transplanted from Eufaula, the cotton compress, and a number of lesser industries; but the greatest industrial event of 1887 was the coming to Anniston of the United States Rolling Stock Company, a New York corporation, representing immense capital. This concern absorbed the car works, and at the time of this writing, are enlarging that plant to a capacity of twenty-five freight cars per day and six passenger coaches a month, giving employment to over a thousand skilled workmen, and adding to the population of the city several thousand souls. 

      When the original plans of Anniston were formulated, it was intended by her founders that this should not only be a model city in perfect streets and attractive architecture, but that it should be a model city in point of morality and religious observances; Anniston has, therefore, become noted for her handsome churches, and from its earliest inception, the town has enjoyed the wholesome benefits of a prohibitory liquor law. 

     The founders of Anniston being Episcopalians, a church of this denomination was the first to be built here. The parish was organized in February, 1881, the town having previously been a missionary station under the charge of Rev. J. F. Smith. When the parish was organized, Rev. Wallace Carnahan, of San Antonio, Texas, was called to the rectorship, and, during his incumbency, Grace Church was built, the means being furnished by the families of Alfred L. Tyler and Samuel Noble. It is built of cut sandstone from quarries within the city, and the interior is finished throughout in red cedar, highly polished, and the windows are of stained glass. The building cost $35,000. Rev. Mr. Carnahan was succeeded in 1886 by Rev. Philip A. Fitts, of Clarksville, Tenn. The Episcopalians have several successful missions in other parts of the city. 

     The next denomination "to build an altar to the Lord" in Anniston were the Methodists. In 1883-4 they erected a house of worship and placed Rev. T. H. Davenport in charge. He was followed in 1885 by Rev. F. T. J. Brandon, and the next two years by Rev. J. T. Morris, who was succeeded in 1888 by Rev. Alonzo Monk, D. D. The Methodist Episcopal Church, with Rev. Dr. J. T. Mann, pastor, are erecting a costly and beautiful stone edifice on Leighton avenue. There are several Methodist missions elsewhere in the city. 

    The Baptists have two congregations. Rev. E. T. Smyth has been the pastor of the First Church since its formation in April, 1883. The increase of the denomination necessitated the organization of another church, and in July, 1887, the Twelfth Street Church was formed. Rev. G. A. Nunnally, D.D., was chosen pastor. This congregation will erect a handsome structure during 1888. 

     In 1884 the Presbyterians organized a congregation. Rev. James D. McLean becoming stated supply. A building committee was appointed who secured plans for an imposing house of worship from Valk, the celebrated New York architect. By April, 1887, the chapel, with capacity for three hundred, was completed. It is a model of taste and elegance, finished in natural woods, with most improved seatings, large stained glass windows, and both arc and incandescent electric lights. Upon the resignation of Rev. Mr. McLean, in April, 1887, Rev. R. M. DuBose, of Fayetteville, Tenn., became pastor. The Presbyterians also have successful missions in other parts of the city. 

     The Cumberland Presbyterians, Christians and Catholics have comfortable houses of worship, and the Hebrews contemplate the erection of a handsome synagogue during the present year. The colored people are well provided with churches, the Congregational having a large membership and a handsome building. The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in 1887, and is in comfortable quarters. This body intend erecting a fine building shortly. 

     Penetrated with a desire for the benefit of the rising and coming generations, schools of the best kind have been established in Anniston. By an Act of the Legislature, this city is made a separate school district, the schools being controlled by the Mayor and Council and School Superintendent. A handsome public school building has just been completed in the western part of town, and another in the eastern portion. Beside these are the Noble Institute for Girls and the Noble Institute for Boys, both occupying beautiful buildings, erected through the munificence of Samuel Noble. There are several schools for the colored population. 

     In August, 1883, the first newspaper of Anniston, The Weekly Hot Blast, was issued, with C. H. Williams as editor. He was succeeded a few years later in the editorship by Walter M. Ryals, and afterward by J. H. Kinnebrew, W. O. Butler, S. E. Noble and W. H. McKella. In March, 1887, a stock company was formed, and the paper was changed to a morning daily, taking the Associated Press dispatches. James R. Randall, author of the famous war lyric, "My Maryland," and at that time principal editorial writer of the Augusta {Ga.)Chronicle, was called to the editorship of the Hot Blast, and Edward A. Oldham, editor and proprietor of the Winston (N. C.) Sentinel, became the manager. At the close of 1887; W. H. Edmonds, of Baltimore, purchased the paper from the company, and it has since been conducted under his proprietorship. 

     In 1885 the Evening Watchman made its appearance, with Milton A. Smith, of Gainesville, Ga., as editor and publisher, and who has continued its publication to the present writing. Both the Hot Blast and the Watchman publish weekly editions. In February of the present year, W. O. Butler, previously city editor of the Hot Blast, began the publication of a small but neat afternoon paper called the Daily Picayune. 

     In the latter part of the year of 1883, after the city had been thrown open to the public, the First National Bank began business with a paid up capital of $100,000. The business of this institution has enjoyed a steady increase, until within a period of less than five years, it has attracted deposits amounting to over $1,000,000, and it has paid regular semi-annual dividends of four per cent., and accumulated a surplus of nearly $200,000. The officers of the First National are: D. T. Parker, president: Samuel Noble, vice-president: O. E. Smith, cashier. 

     In March, 1887, with a capital stock of $50,000, the Anniston Savings Bank and Safe Deposit Company was organized, with John B. Rees as president, W. S. Earned as vice-president, T. C. Stephens as cashier, and, in the following June, the Bank of Anniston, with $100,000 capital stock, began its career, with J. R. Draper as president, W. G. Ledbetter as vice-president, and C. D. Woodruff as cashier. 

     The fraternal order, have a large membership in Anniston. The Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Red Men, Knights of Honor, and the United Workmen have lodges, and the Knights of Labor have two assemblies. The fire department consists of three organizations, excellently equipped: the Glen Addie, Dan Tyler, and Anniston City Hose Reels. The Anniston Rifles was organized in 1877, and is a prosperous military company. John B. Rees is the present captain. 

     There is at this time in course of erection a handsome city building, and, being completed, is a commodious Union Passenger Depot, constructed of native sandstone and ornamental brick. There is also an opera-house, the interior of which is being rearranged and furnished in an elegant manner with all modern improvements. These are Anniston's only public buildings aside from the churches, but when the city is older she hopes to induce a Government appropriation for a post-office building, commensurate with her growth and the business necessities of the place. Anniston further calmly contemplates the day when she will be a county seat, and when this dream is realized, there will ascend toward the blue sky above her an imposing temple of justice, which will be a triumph of the combined genius of the architect and the contractor. 

     Among the business houses of the city are many commodious brick structures, some with handsome iron fronts and large plate-glass show windows, and others with fronts of terra cotta, ornamental brick and blue sandstone trimmings. The magnificent Constantine building, on the northwest corner of Tenth and Noble streets, is an enduring monument to the public spirit and farsightedness of its owner, Mr. D. F. Constantine. 

     Some one has said, "show me the architecture of a city and I will tell you what kind of people live there." If beautiful architecture is any indication of the intelligence and culture of a community, then Anniston will leave a pleasurable and highly favorable impression upon the mind of the visitor within her gates. The elegant mansions of the wealthy and the picturesque cottages of the humble toilers all bear the impress of the architect. 

     As a place of residence and resort Anniston possesses the advantages of pure air, good water, and a salubrious, even-tempered climate. The site of the town has every feature that an experienced engineer would desire in selecting a perfect location for a city. The valley in which it is situated is eight hundred feet above the sea, sloping from the east and west to the center, with a gentle fall toward the south, affording a perfect natural drainage. One thousand feet above the valley towers the Blue Mountain range, and the picturesque slopes present attractive building sites, from which the eye is charmed by a panorama of beautiful views, extending to a distance of thirty miles or more. 

     Enjoying the facilities afforded it by four railroads, and the probability of still another, the East Alabama being extended from Roanoke, Anniston has already become a jobbing centre of considerable importance. Messrs. Comer & Trapp, wholesale grocers, do a million dollars' worth of business annually. Draper, Mathis & Co., and a new corporation known as the Mercantile Company, enjoy a tremendous trade with the surrounding country. Coming years will witness the extension of Anniston's commerce into other lines of the jobbing trade. 

     The Electric Street Railway is the only street railroad whose track is laid in Anniston, but the present line which runs between Oxford and Anniston were given permission by the city council, a few months ago, to enter the city and extend its tracks through a number of streets. 

     In preparing a chronicle of the early history, initial influences, its government and growth, and the industrial, social and religious life of an old settled town, the writer has a comparatively easy task; to leisurely record the important events in their chronological order, easily obtainable from numerous authentic sources; to describe the social warp and religious woof, the legal acumen and medical lore, interspersed with picturesque traditions - treasured creations of the old civilization, which still flourished in grey hairs, behind gold rimmed glasses, old-fashioned stocks, an impenetrable dignity, under the outstretching arms of umbrageous oaks. To depict this repose and portray the characteristics, born of an elegant leisure, is a pleasurable undertaking because of its comparative freedom from retarding obstacles; but to write of the vigorous young life of a town like Anniston, the embodiment of the energizing influences of a rejuvenated South, is quite a different thing. The young town, though a full-fledged city, is yet in its formative state and dissimilar in every particular to the older community. While the historian wasn't looking Anniston attained its magical growth, and, like the traditional Irishman's flea, keeps moving so rapidly that the Argus eyes of the chronicler can scarce count the towers thereof, consider the palaces, or mark well her bulwarks. 

     The industrial activity of the place is so great that it is difficult for even the press of the place to keep accurate pace with the developments continually being consummated. Among the new enterprises now building, or whose early establishment in Anniston is fully assured, are a gristmill, a model gas plant, another ice factory; an extensive stove works, projected by Samuel Noble and his associates in the Woodstock Company; a locomotive works, being an enlargement of the machine shops of Pindar & Co.; and the Universal Horseshoe Works, which has a cash capital of $300,000. During the first year the number of inhabitants has swelled from 7,000 up to fully 12,000, and the industries already projected, together with those certain of establishment, will give employment to a sufficient number of operatives to make, with their families, a population of fully 20,000 by 1889. 

     In the language of James R. Randall, the poet-editor, "Here, then, at Anniston, we have all the material and natural advantages of any favored spot the world over. Here we have much the larger part of all the demands of industry, civilization and wealth-production. Here we have entrancing beauty, cultivated associations, and all that makes opulence, happiness and reputation. The foundations of our city have been laid soundly, deeply, securely. Its growth will be serene, safe and unshakeable. In no place in the wonderful mineral region of Alabama can be seen a better or an equal illustration of the maxim that it is with the life of a town as the life of a man - that 'he who builds solidly labors long under ground.'"


Source: Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South; Compiled by Workers of the Writer's Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Alabama; 1941 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Railroad Stations: 4th St., 1 block k W. of Noble St., for Southern Ry.; 13th St.,2 blocks W. of Noble St., for Louisville & Nashville R.R.

Bus Stations: 10th St. and Wilmer Ave., for Crescent Stages, Greyhound Lines, Service Stages, East Alabama Coach Lines.

Airport: 5.5 m. SW. on US 241; no scheduled service.

Taxis: One service, 10c; second, 25c to any point in city.

Accommodations: Five hotels.

Information Service: Alabama Motorists' Ass'n and Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Hotel, Noble St., between 10th and 11th Sts.

Motion Picture Houses: Three.
Tennis: Municipal courts, Zinn Park, 15th and Gurnee Sts.
Golf: Municipal Golf course, East Highlands, 9 holes, greens fee, 25c.
Swimming: Oxford Lake, 3 m. SW. on US 78.
Radio Station: WHMA (1420 kc).

Annual Events: Horse Show, June.

ANNISTON (694 to 810 alt., 25,523 pop.), Alabama's fifth largest city and the seat of Calhoun County, lies in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The rugged peaks of Choccolocco Ridge and Coldwater Mountain tower over the city on the east and west, and on the north is Blue Mountain.
    When Anniston was founded, a decade before it was incorporatedas a municipality, it was laid out with broad streets and ample parks.Despite the smoking furnaces and the hum of machinery of its present industrial activity, it retains the air of a busy rural town. The original plan has served it well, except that the streets in the business section are not wide enough for modern traffic.
    Noble Street, named for one of the city's founders, is the main thoroughfare. Traversing the downtown section north and south, this broad, straight street divides the mills and factories on the west from the principal residential section on the east. Parallel to Noble Street on the east are Wilmer Avenue, named for Bishop R. H . Wilmer; Quintard Avenue with broad central landscaped plots, named for Bishop Charles Todd Quintard; Leighton, Christine, and Woodstock Avenues. These thoroughfares, chiefly residential, are arched by water oaks planted by Samuel Noble in the city's early days. Other residential sections where modern houses are surrounded by spacious gardens are Tyler Hill , Sunset Drive, and Glenwood Terrace on the lower slopes of Blue Mountain. The natural beauty of the hillsides here is a lovely setting for houses and gardens. To the south and west, surrounding the mills and factories are the mill villages and industrial communities, where some of the houses are faded and weathered.
     Fifty manufacturing plants produce iron, steel, textile and chemical products valued at about $17,000,000 annually. Much of the cast iron soil pipe produced in the United States is made in the Anniston district. A large phosphoric acid plant owned by the Monsanto Chemical Company, is located on the outskirts of the city.
     Anniston's Negroes live principally in the industrial sections known as West and South Anniston and find employment in the heavy industries and domestic service. Their homes are of the type common in the average Southern city, ranging from dilapidated shacks to modest modern residences. Among the educational facilities for Negroes are the Margaret Barber Seminary in South Anniston, a high school for Negro girls, maintained and operated by the Northern Presbyterian Church; West Anniston Institute, a grammar school operated by the Lutheran Church; and three public schools. Nearly every denomination is represented in the 20 Negro churches in various sections of the city. Anniston was the birthplace of William Levi Dawson, Negro composer, whose Negro Folk Symphony was first performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra in 1934. Dawson now directs the Tuskegee Institute choir.
     Among Anniston citizens who have received national recognition are General Robert E. Noble retired), Surgeon-General in the U. S. Army, who assisted General Gorgas in his work in Panama; the late Honorable John B. Knox, President of the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901; former Governor Thomas E. Kilby, Charles Erwin, head of the Warm Springs Foundation, Georgia; Ruth Elder, first woman to attempt a trans-Atlantic flight; and Douglas Leigh, designer of advertising signs in the modern manner. Mary Fabian, operatic singer, born in Sioux City, Iowa, and the poets Kathleen Sutton and Sara Henderson Hay lived in Anniston.
     The upper branch of the Creek Confederacy occupied this region until its removal in 1833-36 under terms of a treaty made with the United States in 1832. At that time there were only a few white settlers. Even after the Creek were removed, migration was so slow that the valley was still sparsely settled as late as 1860, and cotton was planted on the ground where Anniston now stands.
     In 1862 the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad was built to the foot of Blue Mountain (near the present village of Blue Mountain), and a Confederate Camp and supply base were established there. A few miles south of the railhead, a blast furnace, the Oxford Iron Works, was erected in 1863 to manufacture Confederate war materials.  This furnace and stores of cotton were destroyed in 1865, when a division of General James H  Wilson's forces, under General Croxton, swept through the valley. After these set-backs, the settlers again took up farming.
     The return of industrial activity came suddenly. Samuel Noble, English-born ironmaster, who had been head of the Noble Iron Works in Rome, Georgia, visited the site of the old Oxford Works near by in 1869. The wild beauty of Choccolocco Valley and the presence of abundant iron ore and other minerals convinced him that an industrial town could be developed here. He interested General Daniel Tyler, of Connecticut, and his sons, Alfred Leigh Tyler and Edmund Leighton Tyler, in the development. As a result, the Woodstock Iron Company was organized in 1872, with Alfred L. Tyler as president and Samuel Noble as secretary, treasurer, and general manager.
     The company purchased the Oxford Iron Company holdings and the area surrounding it. Two furnaces were built approximately where 8th Street now crosses the railroad. Streets for the new town were laid out, the sewer system, waterworks and powerhouse were built, and space was set aside for parks, churches, and schools.
     General John Forney, former U . S. Army engineer, was in charge of laying out the town, and C. M . Noble, Sr., a nephew of Samuel Noble, assisted him. Skilled artisans and Eastern architects were brought South to design and build homes, schools, and churches. One of the architects was Stanford White, who designed the old Anniston Inn and two stone and brick cottages for Mr. Noble.
     Not the least unusual part of the story of the founding of the town is the fact that men of such widely divergent backgrounds, with Northern and Southern affiliations, were able to unite in the enterprise so shortly after the War between the States.
     The town was to be called Woodstock, but when application was made for a post office in 1879, it was found that there was another Woodstock in Alabama. The name Anniston (Annie's Town) was then chosen in honor of Mrs. Annie Scott Tyler, wife of Alfred L. Tyler.
     The Hot Blast, Anniston's first newspaper, was named by Henry W. Grady, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, at that time owned by Samuel Noble, as an appropriate masthead for this furnace town's paper. It was first published in 1883 and is still in existence as the Anniston Star. One of its early editors was Major James Ryder Randall, author of the song "Maryland, My Maryland."
     A textile mill to give employment to the women of the village was established in 1880, and a pig iron furnace was built in 1882. To tap a richer and broader source of raw materials, the Nobles and Tylers built the Alabama Mineral Railroad, now part of the Louisville & Nashville System, 50 miles south to Sylacauga. A short time later, they extended the road north to Gadsden and Attalla.
     Increasing demand for outside participation became so insistent that, in October, 1883, the town - a private corporation up to this time - was chartered as a municipality. At a huge celebration marking the opening of the town to the public, Henry W . Grady, the principal speaker, handed the keys of the city to the newly-elected Mayor, Dr. Richard P. Huger.
     Anniston's population increased from 942 in 1880 to 9,998 in 1890. Then came the panic of 1893-95, which retarded industrial progress here as elsewhere. Near the end of the century, however, economic activity was renewed with the establishment of several new industries. In 1898 Anniston became the county seat in place of near-by Jacksonville, which had been the county seat since 1833. Three large textile mills were established in 1900 and 1901, and a fourth in 1911. Since that time the city has had a leading part in textile manufacturing and iron production.
     During the World War the establishment of near-by Camp McClellan (later made Fort McClellan), greatly stimulated business. A new airport was completed in 1937 with the aid of WPA funds. The city was governed by a mayor, and city council until 1939, when the commission form of government was established. There are two newspapers, the Anniston Star, a daily, and the weekly Anniston Times.


The WILSON BUILDING (open), SE. corner Noble and 10th Sts., in the heart of the city's business district, is Anniston's tallest structure, built in 1927. It is of buff brick, ten stories in height. Warren, Knight and Davis, of Birmingham, were the architects.

The CARNEGIE LIBRARY (open weekdays 9-6, Sun. 3-6), SE. corner 10th St. and Wilmer Ave., is a one-story yellow brick building with white concrete columns, opened in 1918. It houses 14,000 volumes, including a collection of 1,200 books known as the Poet's Corner. This collection was started in 1923 by Miss Florence Woods as a memorial to her brother, William Henry Woods. A panoramic painting of Anniston in 1882, by the Pennsylvania artist, C. H . Shearer, hangs on the south wall.

    A wing was added by the city in 1930 to house the REGAR MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, containing the Regar-Werner collection of natural history specimens. This group, the gift of H. Severn Regar, is the seventh largest in the United States. Here is displayed the Warner habitat bird groups, comprising 900 specimens of birds, with nests and eggs. Among these are 11 species of birds now extinct. Wild animals, shells, minerals, Egyptian mummies, fish, reptiles, World War relics, old swords, pistols and guns, Indian relics, Eskimo curios, Roman coins, and old Bibles are also on exhibit. In the last named group is a Latin Bible, printed by Froben's press on embossed pigskin in Basle, Switzerland, in 1514. It has an oak-board binding and formerly belonged to the Prince of Monaco.

GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH , NE. corner Tenth St. and Leighton Ave., a red brick structure of Gothic design surrounded by a lawn and shrubbery, was designed by Richard Upjohn. Its congregation, the first in Anniston, was organized on Easter Day, 1881. The present church was built in 1885 and C. M . Noble, Sr., who assisted Upjohn in its construction, was the first person confirmed in the new congregation.

The CALHOUN COUNTY COURTHOUSE (open weekdays 8-5), N E. corner Gurnee and 11th Sts., is a modern red brick building, housing the offices of the county government. A stained glass chandelier in the form of a terrestrial globe adorns the lobby.

ZINN PARK, 13th and Gurnee Sts., lies on a natural slope, planted with trees and flowering shrubbery, its lawn interlaced with gravel paths. Fifty willow oaks in the park bear the names of Anniston soldiers and sailors killed in the World War. The Axis CLUB BUILDING (private), north end of Zinn Park, was formerly a part of the old Anniston Inn. It is a one-story gray stone structure used for club meetings and Boy Scout headquarters. The Anniston Inn, destroyed by fire in 1901, was built in the 1880's and was designed by Stanford White. Edison's incandescent lamps were used here for the first time in Alabama.

ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS EPISCOPAL CHURCH, Cobb St., between 17th and 18th Sts., was designed by Halsey Wood. The church, erected by John W . Noble in 1888 as a memorial to his parents, was consecrated on the Feast of St. Michael and A l l Angels, September 29, 1890. Gothic in design and constructed of native stone, the church with its rectory, parish house, and sisters' home occupies an entire city block. Vines creeping up the 90-foot church tower and over the other buildings create an illusion of age and give to the group an atmosphere of rural England. The interior of the church is finished in carved pine with rich decorations of marble. A high, beamed ceiling arches over an altar of Carrara marble and a reredos of alabaster and granite. On the end of each beam is a handcarved cherub turned slightly toward the altar. Scenes from the life of Christ are depicted in the six large stained glass windows on each side of the church. Each of the 12 bells of the chimes in the tower is inscribed with the name of a member of the Noble family. Of unusual tone quality, the bells range in weight from 275 to 4,350 pounds, with a total weight of 17,715 pounds. They were first rung December 24, 1890, and since that time they have been rung almost daily.

Monsanto Chemical Company Plant, 1.5 m.; Hobson City, 2.8 m.; Eastaboga Fish Hatchery, 9.5 m.. Fort McClellan, 5.1 m.; Jacksonville, 125 m.; Cheaha State Park, 22.4 m..

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