Music

The Beginning of Alabaster

~ Watch Us Grow ~

By Bobby Joe Seales

Visit City of Alabaster website.


Alabaster

Area View of Alabaster ~ About 1934

Photo Description: Located at the bottom center of the photograph is Alabaster Lime Company. "Scott Rock," as it was known, is fronted by the "south track"  of the North & South Railroad, which later became the L & N Railroad. The tracks split in Keystone where the south track goes through Siluria and the north track goes through Alabaster and they rejoin in Longview. Above, the "north track"  is parallel to U.S. Highway 31.   On the right of the photograph and to the right of the intersection is Main Street, located on U.S. Highway 31. Much of the property shown in the photo was at that time owned by George L. Scott, Sr..


In 1925, located next door to Siluria, the "growth potential" of the community that later became known as Alabaster, was recognized by Joseph Elam Walker, 1880-1969.  As indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, February 9, 1961, he was born and raised in Shelby County Alabama and his first job dated back to 1908 when he became the manager of the commissary for Siluria Cotton Mill Company. "Mr. Joe," as he was fondly called by his many friends, recognized the growth potential of this little community that was located along Highway 31. With pioneer courage he opened the first retail business here and started rendering free delivery service to his customers. This store, known as J.E. Walker's Furniture and General Merchandise, was a happy union of the "old country store" and new merchandising ideas, where the customer could purchase anything from a choice sirloin steak to a pound of tenpenny nails. Etched in the foundation of the building is  "September 1925."

U.S. Highway 31, a two-lane highway at that time, was the main artery from Birmingham to Montgomery and played an important part in the growth of the community. According to Mrs. A. Lucille (Scott) Farris, this "two-lane highway" was first paved in about 1925. She further stated that in about 1954 it became a four-lane highway. Described in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, March 23, 1961, "It was during the depression year of 1929 that a young man with pioneer courage started on a trip from Birmingham down a tortuous, winding two lane road now known as Highway 31. He stopped that noon for a bite to eat at Walkers Grocery store, the only store in town. Foy Jones decided then and there that he had found the ideal location for a furniture store. Thus came into being the second retail business to be established in the now thriving town of Alabaster. With the growth of the automobile industry, and being a mechanic by nature, Mr. Jones saw the need for a garage and wrecker service. So, in 1932 he opened one of the first businesses of its kind in Shelby County...."  Foy Willard Jones, 1900-1973, is buried in Elliottsville Cemetery in Shelby County Alabama.

Another Alabaster pioneer was George Lafayette Scott, Sr., 1878-1965. The Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, January 7, 1937, indicate,  "In 1922 he purchased half interest in the Keystone Lime Company at Keystone but sold his interests to his partners, the Hammond brothers, in 1929 and built his own plant near Siluria. Mr. Scott's plant is known as the Alabaster Lime Company and his shipping point is known as Scott Rock, named for him."  Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral."

Other pioneers of Alabaster were Kenton Brant Nickerson, 1880-1956, and William Jasper Maxwell, 1872-1959. As indicated in the obituary for K.B. Nickerson, Shelby County Reporter, dated August 23, 1956, "Mr. Nickerson had been in business in Siluria and Alabaster for a number of years. He was one of the founders of Alabaster and was actively identified with the affairs of that growing city. He had large holdings of real estate in Alabaster, was a member of the gas and water board and a director of the First Bank of Alabaster."  The Shelby County Reporter, dated September 10, 1959, indicate,  "W.J. Maxwell dies at Siluria ... Mr. Maxwell was interested early in the development and growth of Alabaster. He bought an undeveloped tract of land, surveyed it as Maxwell's Addition, sold lots and built houses on the property, thus helping the town to grow."

On June 19, 1933 a certificate of incorporation was filed in Shelby County Alabama and Alabaster Water Works Co., Inc. was established. Officers of the corporation were K.B. Nickerson, President; W.J. Maxwell, Vice-President; J.E. Walker, Secretary/Treasurer. Their purpose was  "to establish, maintain and operate a water works system for the purpose of furnishing water to the public within a radius of one-half mile from a deep well owned by the corporation."  The amount of the total authorized capital stock was two thousand dollars. However, on February 14, 1939 a  "Dissolution Notice of Alabaster Water Works Co., Inc."   was filed in Shelby County Alabama. It was not until May 27, 1955 the Alabaster Water and Gas Board incorporated in Shelby County Alabama. The objects for which this corporation was organized were "to acquire, construct, operate, maintain, improve and extend a gas system and water system in the town of Alabaster, Alabama, and in the territory surrounding said town."

"Alabaster Gets Own Postoffice," as indicated in the Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday October 18, 1951, "Alabaster, Alabama, will have a postoffice of its own, beginning November 1, Birmingham Postmaster A.H. Albright announced yesterday. He said Alabaster formerly was served by the Siluria postoffice." On Thursday, November 15, 1951, "With the coming of November came the new Alabaster Post Office. The Post Mistress is Mrs. Sara Reed. The Post Office in located in Mrs. Reed's Store."  In Memory, Sara Lucas Reed, 1922-1975.

Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday, January 17, 1952,  "Alabaster stands in the heart of the industrial section of Shelby County. Hundreds of her citizens make their homes in this town and vicinity and find employment in the textile mills, lime works, cement block plants, etc. Some months ago, prominent citizens, and keen-visioned business and professional men, began making plans to establish a Bank in this part of the county, in an endeavor to better serve the people's financial needs in the rapidly expanding territory. Sunday, January 20, the culmination of this ambitious dream will be realized and the official personnel will be hosts at an Open House in the new First Bank of Alabaster ... The impressive roster of the officials of this bank are all widely and favorably known business and professional men. Men whose names, combined with their own successful achievements, warrant the faith and confidence of each potential depositor. They are men who have through the years, been largely responsible for the phenomenal growth of this section of our county. They include President George L. Scott, Jr. (born October 2, 1905, died December 27, 1966); Vice-President, Dr. J.A. Hines; Secretary, W.V. Hammond; Cashier, T.L. Cox, widely known banker from Oneonta, Alabama, who will make his future home in the county. The Board of Directors includes T.L. Cox, W.V. Hammond, J.A. Hines, K.B. Nickerson, J.T. Phillips and George L. Scott, Jr. Monday, January 21, the Bank, with a capital stock of $50,000 will swing wide its doors for business ... We feel sure, you will join us in taking additional pride in Alabaster's slogan,  "Watch Us Grow,"  as we together view the progress this section of our county is making."  "Alabaster Bank Opened Monday," as indicated in the Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday, January 24, 1952,  "No rain-clouds of economical depression, or thunder-heads of doubt as to business stability threaten the fair skies of Alabaster, Alabama, as evidenced by the opening of the First Bank of Alabaster on Monday, January 21, 1952 ... The building itself, stands a credit to the architectural artists who transformed an old building, formerly used for a garage, into a modern, streamlined structure, with both exterior and interior reflecting careful planning on the part of the owners, who wisely designed the commodious lobby, offices, vault room, director's official quarters, etc., not only with an eye for elegance and good taste, but with specified consideration for the convenience of its patrons and friends and for the security of each depositor ... The first depositor ... Senator J.T. Phillips, Textile Magnate, and public spirited citizen whose faith in his adopted county is evidenced by his Textile Mills in Siluria and Columbiana. His individual interest in Shelby County citizens is too well known for reiteration ...."  The first bank tellers, Sue Wyatt and Virginia Johnson, received the first deposit from J.T. Phillips. As indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, September 24, 1964,  "It has been announced by President George L. Scott, Jr., of the First Bank of Alabaster, that, at a recent meeting of the Board of Directors, a contract was awarded for the erection of new banking quarters ... The building is to be ready for occupancy by January 1, 1965. The new bank building will be located on U.S. Highway 31 and will be across this highway from the Shelby Memorial Hospital ...." George L. Scott, Jr. served as President of the First Bank of Alabaster until his death on December 27, 1966.

The first attempt to incorporate Alabaster failed. On August 26, 1952 there were seventy-three "qualified electors living within the boundaries of the proposed municipality to be named Alabaster"  that filed a "Petition for Order of Incorporation."  It was ordered, as a result of the petition, that an election be held on September 23, 1952 at the First Bank of Alabaster. However, this election never took place. The petition that was filed stated "that there are at least four qualified electors residing on each quarter of each quarter section, according to government survey or part thereof."  Because of a technicality, Emory Carson Farris filed in Shelby County Alabama on September 23, 1952 a "Motion to Vacate Decree for Election."  In the affidavit filed by Truitt A. Farris, which stated on August 25, 1952 that he was 46 years of age and have lived in the Alabaster community since 1923 ... and Willie J. Mathis, which stated that he was 51 years of age and have lived in the Alabaster community since 1922 ...  "Affiant further says that the persons hereinbelow named in this paragraph who signed said Petition reside within the confines of: The SE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 2, Township 21, Range 3 West, Shelby County, Alabama, which land is included within the boundaries of said proposed municipality. Said persons being as follows: J.L. Lenning, George L. Taylor, Roosevelt Lasey, John Cook, and Archie Taylor."  The technicality was stated in this motion,  "Whereas said five persons named are not qualified electors residing on said quarter of said quarter section described immediately above."  On September 23, 1952 an  "Order Vacating Decree for Election"  was given ""in connection with the Petition for Order of Incorporation of the Proposed Municipality to be named Alabaster be and the said is hereby vacated and decreed to be null, void and of no effect."

On January 6, 1953 the petition was again filed with  "notice is hereby given that more than forty-four qualified electors living with the boundaries of the proposed municipality to be named Alabaster."  The City of Alabaster was oficially incorporated on February 23, 1953, filed by the Inspectors, Truitt Farris, John A. Montgomery, and W.J. Mathis, were the names of the 427 inhabitants residing in the said proposed town. The election was held Tuesday, February 3, 1953, and as stated in the Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated February 5, 1953, "the citizens voted 79 to 23 in favor of incorporating the town."  Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday, April 9, 1953, "A city election will be held in Alabaster April 21 at which time Mayor and five councilmen will be chosen by the eligible voters in this town. The following public-spirited gentlemen are offering themselves for this public service. George L. Scott, Jr., prominent industrialist and president of the First Bank of Alabaster, and Hershel Dunlap, former postmaster, are candidates for Mayor. There are ten well-known citizens who are candidates for Members of the Council from which five will be chosen. These include Carl H. Edwards, Jesse D. Barton, Paul R. Adkins, Robert D. Cardwell, James Thomas Patrick, L. Curtis Payne, Truitt A. Farris, Luther Adrian Kendrick, Willie J. Mathis, J. A. Griffin, Jr.."

"Alabaster Banker Is Elected Mayor," as indicated in the Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday, April 30, 1953, "George L. Scott, Jr., president of the First Bank of Alabaster, was elected first mayor April 21, of the town which was recently incorporated. Scott received 86 votes of the total 102 votes cast. Councilmen elected were Carl Edwards, Curtis Payne, W.J. Mathis, T.A. Farris and L.A. Kendrick. Others in the race were Jess Barton, J.T. Patrick, Robert D. Cardwell, John A. Griffin and Paul Adkins."  A photograph of the First Alabaster Town Officials is found in the Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday, May 21, 1953. In Memory, George Lafayette Scott, Jr., 1905-1966. The first city clerk was John Allen Montgomery, Sr., 1922-1964. He was a pharmacist, employed by his father-in-law, Thomas R. "Tom" Nash, 1892-1964, proprietor of Nash Drug Store in Alabaster.

Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, dated Thursday, January 28, 1954, indicate "At a recent meeting of the Mayor and Councilmen of Alabaster, Dr. J.A. Hines, widely known physician and public spirited citizen, was elected to serve, taking the place of Carl Edwards, who resigned, when he moved to Calera to make his future home. Alabaster is becoming one of the fastest growing sections of the county. This town was recently incorporated and Mayor George L. Scott, Jr., and his alert councilmen, have a program designed for future permanent improvements, second to none in the county. Dr. Hines will strengthen and improve these far reaching plans by working in full cooperation with the citizens of Alabaster toward achieving these ambitious goals."  In Memory, Dr. John Allen Hines, Sr., 1896-1959.

The people of the City of Siluria on April 27, 1971 voted to merge with Alabaster.  Siluria, the adjoining city, had incorporated on May 25, 1954 with a population of approximately 600. Visit Siluria Cotton Mill Company for further information.

Did you know that Alabaster at one time had a weekly publication, The Advertiser?  As indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, August 21, 1958,  "The Alabaster Printing & Publishing Company, owned by Phil H. Mannon and Rodney Rupert, at Alabaster has announced that they are discontinuing a weekly, The Advertiser. The newspaper, printed for Alabaster and the surrounding area, has been published by the firm for one and one-half years. It was a tabloid paper and edited by Phil H. Mannon ...."  Does anyone know where copies of these newspapers are?  Does anyone have further information on either of the above mentioned owners?  If so, please contact Bobby Joe Seales.   In 2008 The Alabaster Reporter began publication of a weekly newspaper with their first issue dated August 9, 2008.

The Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, August 21, 1958, "Work on the new Shelby County Hospital at Alabaster is well under way and good progress is being made. Excavation for the foundation has been completed, and a good solid foundation of concrete has been poured. Half the footings have been poured and the walls are going up. The new hospital will be two stories in height, 313 feet long and 36 feet wide. A wing 51 by 40 feet will be built on the second story to the rear of the main building. The contractor has 300 days in which to complete the work; it is expected that the building may be finished before that time."  Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, September 24, 1959, "Memorial Hospital To Open Sunday ... Shelby Memorial Hospital ... First Unit of A County Wide Program of Health Facilities. Construction begun July 1958; Final Inspection August 1959 ... The new Shelby Memorial Hospital at Alabaster will be dedicated with an impressive ceremony Sunday afternoon, September 27. Senator Lister Hill, Alabama's senior Senator and father of the Hill-Burton act, will give the dedicatory address. Congressman Armistead Selden will also be present for the dedication ... Of the staff of 42 employees ... 33 are residents of Shelby County. Of the nursing staff of 25, 18 live in Shelby County ... The Shelby Memorial Hospital was designed by Birmingham architect, Charles H. McCauley. Construction by Brice Building Company, Birmingham."  Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, October 1, 1959, indicate "1600 Attend Hospital Opening, Seven Patients Received by Wednesday Morning ... The first patient was received into the Shelby Memorial Hospital, Monday morning at 10:21 just three hours and 21 minutes after its doors were opened. (The name of L.C. Hatcher stands at the top of the list. He was the first to be received as a patient in the Shelby Memorial Hospital. Mr. Hatcher lives in Calera and he is an employee of Buck Creek Cotton Mills. His physician is Dr. Warren Duke of Siluria.) The dedication of the new Shelby Memorial Hospital will be remembered as one of the outstanding events in the history of Shelby county. The completion of this fine hospital is evidence of the spirit of progress that prevails in the county. "  Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday October 8, 1959, "First Baby At New Hospital ... J.T. Phillips, Chairman of the Board, Buck Creek Mills, Siluria, presented a check for $25 to Mrs. Robert Furline, Jr. at the new Shelby Memorial Hospital, Alabaster. The check is for Mrs. Furline's daughter, Shelby Jean, who was the first baby born at the new hospital. She arrived only two days after the opening of the new medical facility."  Shelby County Reporter, dated September 5, 1960, "Memorial Hospital Anniversary... the members of the Shelby County Hospital Board ... Mr. J.T. Phillips, Mr. D.B. Smith, Chairman, Mr. Dean R. Upson, Administrator, Mr. T.H. Napier, Vice Chairman, Mr. Rux Carter, Secretary, Mrs. Helen Bunn, Board Secretary, Mr. Eugene Abercrombie, Mr. Roy Downs, ex-chairman, Mr. J.P. Terrell, Mr. Basil Smith, Treasurer."  Several photographs of the hospital and Board of Trustees are in this issue of the newspaper as well as a History of Alabaster Area by Rev. Lawrence Gordon Nunnally, Sr., 1886-1984.  Rev. Nunnally was Alabaster's Justice of the Peace. (See below postcard photo of Shelby Memorial Hospital in 1959. This postcard was sold at the Ruby McDonald Hospital Shop that was located in the hospital.) Ernestine Yarbrough, who has been living in Calera for nearly 70 years, was the first patient admitted to the Shelby Baptist Medical Centerís new South Tower on December 1, 2009. The five-story South Tower and accompanying 370-space parking deck was completed in November 2009 and the ribbon cutting and tour of the South Tower was held November 18, 2009.

Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, December 12, 1935, "A concrete bridge is being built over the John Allen branch between Siluria and Alabaster. It will be completed in about two weeks."

In the early days, before the police department was organized, Alabaster had a "night watchman." On the night of January 5, 1938 the most tragic incident happened. As reported in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, January 13, 1938,  "John W. Nabors of Alabaster, died in a Birmingham hospital Sunday of wounds he received Wednesday night before, while on duty as night watchman at Alabaster. Mr. Nabors told police that he was held up by two negroes while he was making his rounds. The negroes he said forced him to walk about 200 yards from the center of town (under the bridge that goes over John Allen Branch), where they took his gun and shot him four times in the back and arms."  In Memory, John Wesley Nabors, 1881-1938. The local constable for that area was William Francis "Frank" Fallon, 1872-1962. The present day "City Hall" was completed in 1960 and at that time was the home of the Alabaster Public Library. A photo of main street, Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, December 1, 1960, showing  "part of the crowd of 2 to 3 thousand that came to Alabaster last Saturday to see Santa who arrived by helicopter, and to take advantage of the many, many bargains offered by the Alabaster merchants, plus the free prizes dropped in ping pong balls from the helicopter"  As described in the Shelby County Reporter, dated March 9, 1961,  "The main shopping area of Alabaster is bounded by two traffic lights. At one end is the beautiful new town hall and at the other the Curb Market owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. G.W. Simpson ... Associated with the business is Wallace, the only son of the Simpsons ...."  They also operated the ice house next to their business. In Memory, George Wallace Simpson, Sr., 1888-1970, husband of Eula P. Simpson, 1892-1989. George Wallace Simpson, Jr., 1924-1997, Cpl. U.S. Army WWII is buried in Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Jefferson County Alabama.

Another tragedy, that I personally recall, is noted in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, September 18, 1958, "R.J. Albright, Alabaster business man and a son of the late James Albright, Montevallo, was found dead in his office in Alabaster, Thursday afternoon, September 11. He had been shot through the head. Sheriff Hugh Sims, after an investigation, ruled the death suicide ...."  I recall the "talk about town" and our family making the trip to main street to see the window in his office. It appeared as though when they attempted to remove his name from the window "it could still be seen."  In Memory, Rufus J. Albright, born September 25, 1907, died September 11, 1958.

One of the earliest mention of "Alabaster" was in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, October 1, 1925, "Trouble Near Alabaster ... Sheriff Falkner was called to Smith's Stand, near Alabaster, Tuesday night ...."

As mentioned in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, March 2, 1961,  "The main street of Alabaster is graced by a store which caters exclusively to the woman. The Style Shop as the store is aptly called, carries a complete line of the most modern wearing apparel ... Its proprietors Mrs. Edith Malone and Mrs. Lou Cunningham ... opened The Style Shop 18 months ago. The store was formerly owned and operated by the late J. P. Wagoner, who until his death, ran it as a general merchandise store ... Mrs. Malone is the former Edith Riffe a native of Shelby County ... Mrs. Cunningham is the former Louise Crocker ...."  In memory, Joseph J.P. Wagoner, 1890-1959.

"Every town has it's congregating place where small talk, and art of conversation is it's most important product."   As indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, February 16, 1961, we are informed,  "In Alabaster this place is known as Edmondson's Barber Shop. Its proprietor is the 62 years young Percy Edmondson. Percy, as he is known to everyone in this area, is a small jovial man whose stock of jokes is endless. His customers come from miles around just to be entertained by his stories. Percy started barbering 41 years ago, ten of which have been devoted to keeping the heads of Alabaster neat and trim. His shop consists of four chairs. Associated with him is his son Solon, who also wields a mean pair of clippers. Enterprising Solon is also associated with the Alabaster Ambulance Service along with W.C. Garrett. For a delightful half hour of entertainment while having your hair trimmed - try Edmondsons ...."  As stated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, March 2, 1961,  "I have been informed that Solon Edmondson is now the proprietor of Edmondsons Barber Shop." In Memory, Percy Wallace Edmondson, 1898-1966, and Solon Embry Edmondson, 1924-1995. Currently, still located on main street in Alabaster is Edmondsons Barber Shop, owned and operated by Alan Keith Edmondson and his son, David Michael Edmondson.

Another "vignette" as noted in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, March 16, 1961,  "Truly a Horatio Alger story, Truitt Farris is a shining example of a successful business man who raised himself by his own bootstraps: Truitt, a short stocky, jovial man with twinkling eyes and a ready wit, was born in Talladega County 55 years ago. At the age of eight his family moved to Shelby County and settled in the area, now known as Alabaster. Truitt's first venture into business was a barber. He stuck with this profession for 15 years. Being an enterprising young man and cognizant of the growth taking place in Alabaster, he decided to give up barbering and open a furniture and appliance store. Today after 15 years of perseverance, The Farris Furniture and Appliance Store is one of the finest stores of its kind in the county, where quality merchandise can be purchased at prices competitive with the best that Birmingham has to offer. Mr. Farris is a director of the First Bank of Alabaster, a member of the board of directors of the Shelby Memorial Hospital, A Civitan, Mason, and a member of the Quarterback Club. For 8 years he was on the Alabaster Town Council. He is an active member of the Siluria Baptist Church and a devout Bible student. Associated with him in the business is his wife, Myra, a quiet, friendly civic minded person who devotes a great deal of her time to Eastern Star and church work ...." In Memory, Truitt Arthur Farris, 1905-1989.

William Arthur Farris, 1886-1955, and his wife, Katie Bell (Day) Farris, 1881-1962, came to the Alabaster area in about 1913. The  "Farris brothers"  contributed greatly in the early history and growth of Alabaster ... (1) Truitt Arthur Farris, 1905-1989. (2) O'Neal C. Farris, 1908-1965. (3) Emory Carson Farris, 1909-1980. (4) Wesley Mack Farris, 1914-1997. (5) L.O. Farris.  O'Neal and Carson Farris had a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership and a garage located on main street in Alabaster. In February 1962 O'Neal Farris opened the Clara-Neal Motel and Restaurant in Calera, Shelby County Alabama, beside I-65 South. It was the first motel located beside I-65 in Shelby County. At the time of his death  "he was serving his fourth term as Mayor of Calera."  Mack Farris, as stated in his obituary in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Wednesday, August 13, 1997, "... A native of Fayettville, Farris moved to Alabaster at an early age. He began (in about 1935) his career in the dry cleaning business before the incorporation of the city of Alabaster and later owned Alabaster Home and Auto Supply. He also founded and operated Farris Building Supply and Farris Building Company which developed subdivisions and commercial property in Alabaster. (Alabaster Gardens was the first subdivision developed in Alabaster.) From 1971-1986 he was the owner and operator of Briarcliff Nursing Home and was the founder of Citizens Bank of Alabaster. He was also a founding member of the Alabaster Water and Gas Board, serving on the board for some 30 years. Following his resignation from the board in 1997, he was made an honorary life member of the Water Board by the Alabaster City Council ...."  On May 24, 1942 in Shelby County Alabama he married Annie Lucille Scott, daughter of George L. Scott, Sr. and Annie Pauline Williams.

I recall receiving my first "Western-Flyer bicycle" from Western Auto Store in Alabaster. Wow, that thing was "a beauty" ... a bright red bike with 26 inch white wall tires and a chrome plated luggage carrier over the rear fender, a mirror and horn mounted on the handle bar, and red handle bar grips with bright colored streamers hanging from them. It was sharp!  Also, I still own my first Truetone Stereo Hi-Fi record player that was purchased from Western Auto Store in Alabaster. The Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, February 23, 1961, best tells about Lloyd Curtis Payne, 1914-1982.  "One of the most enterprising merchants that Alabaster can boast of is L. Curt Payne, who, with his wife, Maggie, are the proprietors of one of the largest and most complete Western Auto Store in Shelby County. Curt and Maggie as they are fondly referred to by all Alabastians are natives of Shelby County. They opened their business nine years ago. From the day the store opened it was a success, which was largely due to the personality of the proprietors. Curt for years operated a large Shell Service Station. Speaking of service, Curt's life has been devoted to service in our community. He was a member of the town council for years, resigning this position to run for mayor. The mayoralty race was the closest the town ever had. The tremendous popularity and personal appeal of Curt gave the incumbent mayor Mr. Scott a trying time. He lost by only ten votes. Among the many affiliations that Curt belongs to are; the Corinthian Masonic Lodge, Civil Defense, Civitan, Thompson Bank Boosters, and the Quarterback Club. Mr. Payne is a Deacon of the First Baptist Church of Alabaster. He employs four townfolks in his place of business ...."  In Memory, Lloyd Curtis Payne, 1914-1982.

As indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, January 28, 1965, "Shelby Memorial Nursing Home to Open Monday, February 1st ... Congressman Armistead Selden will speak at Alabaster at the dedicatory ceremony of the new nursing home, Sunday, January 31, at 2:00 p.m. The new facility is physically attached to Shelby Memorial Hospital and will contain 40 beds. The total area is 22,000 square feet. There are eight private rooms and sixteen double rooms. Every room is individually heated and cooled. Every room is equipped with wash basin and toilet facilities. Barber and beauty care are available. There are physical therapy equipment as well as occupational therapy rooms. There is a large dining and recreational room."

"Big New P. & T. Food Center Opens Monday, January 25, In Alabaster" is indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, January 21, 1960, "The Grand Opening of J.H. Denham's new store in Alabaster is announced for Monday, January 25. It will be a grand day for Alabaster and Shelby County ... Ground for the new store was broken in October ... The store is equipped throughout with the most modern fixtures, selected with great care for beauty and attractiveness in appearance and they are the last word in customer convenience. In the new store there are 72 ft. of self-service produce case; 48 ft. refrigerated; 60 ft. of self-service meat case; 36 ft. of four deck dairy case and 20 ft. of ice cream case. There is 2,600 ft. of adjustable steel shelving with departmental fixtures to show the location of merchandise. The self-service cases are pastel colored, new and modern, to make an attractive store ... Mr. Denham has been in business in Alabaster for 20 years. He had already, one of the largest stores in the county ... Associated with Mr. Denham is James S. Gould, his son-in-law, who will continue as a valued member of the business ...."  The P & T Food Center closed its operation in Alabaster in 1985. In Memory, John Henry "J.H." Denham, 1897-1971.

The first Shopping Center in Alabaster, "Grand Opening ... Alabaster Shopping Center ... November 18, 19, 20, and 21"  as indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, November 19, 1964, "... over 3 acres of paved free parking ... for your convenience, 13 stores to fill your every shopping need ... (1) Alabaster Bakery and Delicatessen, (2) Alabaster Shopping Center Barber Shop, (3) Bargain Town, U.S.A., (4) Carlene's Coiffures, (5) Cardwell's Furniture, (6) Gillis Pharmacy, (7) Marteen's, (8) P&T Food Center, (9) Shelby County Florist, (10) Utopia Cleaners & Laundry, (11) V.J. Elmore 5 & 10 cent Store, (12) Western Super Market, (13) White Auto Store ...."

Many people had a helping hand  in "The Beginning of Alabaster."  Others were (1) Paul R. Adkins, 1894-1965, and his wife, Alice, operated a general merchandise store on main street. He owned and operated the taxi service for Alabaster. Also, in about 1950 the first apartment buildings, The Courtyard Apartments, consisting of five (one and two bedroom) units in Alabaster were constructed by Paul and Alice Adkins. (2) Edward Morris "Doc" Lathem, 1895-1934, owned the last business located on the south end of main street know as the Rock Villa, consisting of a garage, gas station and restaurant combination, and a pool hall was located in the basement. (3) Robert Henry "Bob" Seales, 1913-1959, and his wife, Willie. Bob and Willie Seales operated a cafe on main street. Also, Bob was the first person to die in the new Shelby Memorial Hospital located in Alabaster. (4) Waymon Sanders Rutherford, 1920-1986, his obituary dated February 20, 1986, Shelby County Reporter indicate that he was the owner of Rutherford Jewelry in Alabaster for 40 years. His business was located on Main Street. (5) Jesse Roberts "Jess" Nabors, son of John W. and Piety (Leonard) Nabors, died in Shelby County Alabama on September 17, 1953 at the age of 71 years, and his wife, Anna. (6) John Atliff "Jack" Griffin, III., 1906-1978, and his wife, Lillian Fay, owned and operated Griffin 5 & 10 Store. The building is currently owned by Charles Eugene Seales, my brother. It was told by Mrs. Griffin before her death in 1991 that the building was originally owned by her family, located in Wilton, Shelby County Alabama. Her parents were Edgar Samuel Ambrose and Dora Lee Camp. In 1945 the original building was torn down and the material was used by Jack and Lillian Griffin to construct their store located on main street in Alabaster. (7) Samuel McAliley Scarbrough, 1892-1976. As indicated in his obituary, dated September 9, 1976, Shelby County Reporter,  "He moved to Siluria in 1941, opening a general shoe store to serve the rapidly developing cotton mill town. This business became the parent of a chain of clothing and food stores in Centreville, Alabaster, and Siluria."  The Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, January 10, 1946, indicate  "S.M. Scarbrough is manager of the large Yellow Front Store in Siluria."  Two years after his retirement in 1957 he came to Alabaster and resumed a business on Main Street for another twelve years.

"New Housing For Alabaster Area" as indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, February 9, 1961,  "A telegram just received from our representatives in Washington reads as follow: Happy to advise the Housing Authority of Columbiana, Alabama. Will shortly sign financial aid contract with Public Housing Authority for 46 new low-rent homes in Alabaster, Alabama. Estimated cost is $591,831."  These plans were first announced in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, June 5, 1958. However, the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, March 30, 1961, informed us,  "The Notice to Proceed was issued on March 24, 1961 and work will start on April 3, 1961. Project No. Ala. 72-6A, Alabaster Garden Apartments will consist of 28 units and Project No. Ala. 72-6B, the Valley Apartments will consist of 18 units."

"Alabaster Lions Club Organized With 31 Members Charter Night" as indicated in the Shelby County Reporter, dated Thursday, June 13, 1963, "... Charter Night ceremonies were held May 18, at Thompson High School with the Homewood Club sponsoring the presenting the Charter to the Alabaster Lions who now number 31 ... Officers elected were: Robert D. Cardwell, President; M.C. Snider, 1st Vice-President; T.M. Allen, 2nd Vice-President; M.C. Sparks, 3rd Vice-President; Secretary-Treasurer, Cecil L. Allen; Tail Twister, W.L. Palmer; Lion Tamer John Day ... Charter members are: Cecil Allen, Thomas M. Allen, Vernon M. Attaway, Thomas C. Cairns, Robert D. Cardwell, Roscoe Davis, John T. Day, Bob Dyar, Thomas H. Erwin, Robert E. Ellison, John Griffin, Vernon Foster, James G. Harrell, James L. Denham, Obie Davis, Wallace T. Reese, Noah Hosmer, James T. Johnson, Melvin McGaughy, W.L. Palmer, M.C. Sparks, Reese Lucas, Burell Brannon, C.E. Carter, Harry A. Jones, C.E. Lantrip, M.C. Snider, Lawrence B. Tidmore, Howard M. Winslett, Raymond Smith, James Wyatt."

The City Hall located on U.S. Highway 31 was completed in 1960 and also served as the first home of the Alabaster Public Library. The "new" Court-Administration Facility (City Hall) located at 1953 Municipal Way [located on the grounds where Buck Creek Cotton Mills in Siluria once stood] was completed in October 2013.

The first "Martin Luther King, Jr. Road" in Shelby County Alabama was named in Alabaster. The dedication was held Saturday, January 15, 2011.

Welcome to Alabaster ... "Watch Us Grow!"


Shelby Memorial Hospital
Shelby Memorial Hospital ~ 1959


Please continue to check back often, as I am continually updating and adding more information, for your enjoyment, to  "The Beginning of Alabaster."