Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pondering an Alabama Map (3): Pelham in 1928

This map is the third one I've discussed that shows the tiny community of Pelham. The previous maps were issued in 1917 and 1926. All three full maps can be seen in UA's wonderful Historical Maps of Alabama collection.

Now we come to an Alabama highway map issued by the state highway department. Issued in the fall of 1928, the map was created and published by the General Drafting Company of New York City. Founded in 1909, the company operated for many decades.

On the portion of the map shown below, we can see many familiar towns, from Brighton and Bessemer to Brierfield and Childersburg. U.S. Highway 31 already provides a north-south artery. 

The most current state map shows highway 25, but no highway 62. I could not find state highways 3 or 5 either. No doubt renaming of roads has occurred often in the decades since 1928.

You can still find Simmsville on the current map, east of Indian Springs Village which of course did not exist in 1928. Calcis, a former mining town, is also shown. But Newala, Shannon and Underwood have all disappeared from the state's latest highway map. Shannon was a mining town named after John Shannon who operated a mine there before World War I, according to Virginia Foscue's book Place Names in Alabama. Foscue notes that Underwood was named for a family that settled there in the 1830s. She has no entry for Newala. 

This post concludes the series on Pelham's appearance on three maps early in the twentieth century. Next time I'll take a look more generally at state highway maps.

 A fascinating history of the early "good roads" movement in Alabama is Martin Olliff's "Getting on the Map: Alabama's Good Roads Pathfinding Campaigns, 1911-1912" in the Alabama Review 2015 January; 68(1): 3-30.

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