Hueytown, Alabama

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Hueytown
City
Location in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama
Location in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 33°26′16″N 86°59′51″W / 33.43778°N 86.99750°W / 33.43778; -86.99750
Country United States
State Alabama
County Jefferson
Area
 • Total 11.6 sq mi (30.1 km2)
 • Land 11.6 sq mi (30.1 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 600 ft (183 m)
Population (2013)[1]
 • Total 15,866
 • Density 1,324.5/sq mi (510.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 35022-35023
Area code(s) 205
FIPS code 01-36448
GNIS feature ID 0158850
Website http://www.cityofhueytown.net/

Hueytown is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area. At the 2010 census the population was 16,105.

It was the home of the legendary NASCAR Alabama Gang. It also made international headlines in 1992 with the unexplained "Hueytown Hum", a mysterious noise believed to be related to large ventilation fans for an underground coal mine in the area.

The northern area of this city was damaged by an EF4 tornado on April 27, 2011.

Geography[edit]

This city is located at 33°26′16″N 86°59′51″W / 33.43778°N 86.99750°W / 33.43778; -86.99750 (33.437709, -86.997579).[2]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.6 square miles (30 km2), of which, 11.6 square miles (30 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.17%) is water.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 5,997
1970 7,095 18.3%
1980 13,309 87.6%
1990 15,280 14.8%
2000 15,364 0.5%
2010 16,105 4.8%
Est. 2013 15,866 −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[3]
2013 Estimate[4]

As of the census of 2000, there were 15,364 people, 6,155 households, and 4,517 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,323.7 people per square mile (510.9/km²). There were 6,519 housing units at an average density of 561.7 per square mile (216.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.81% White, 15.49% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.34% from two or more races. 0.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,155 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

Economy[edit]

The median income for a household in the city was $41,225, and the median income for a family was $49,380. Males had a median income of $36,087 versus $26,025 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,735. About 5.3% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.

Industrial history[edit]

Although the Hueytown area has a history of farming, it has also been a part of both the steel and coal mining history of Jefferson County.

William & Joseph Woodward formed The Woodward Iron Company on New Year's Eve, 1881. With William as company president and Joseph as company secretary, the brothers proceeded to purchase the plantation of Fleming Jordan. The plantation had originally been created by his father, Mortimer Jordan, in 1828. The plantation included portions of present day Hueytown and was one of the largest cotton plantations in the area. On the site of Mrs. Jordan's rose garden, Woodward Furnace #1 began operation on August 17, 1883. A second furnace went into blast in January, 1887 and the two furnaces had a daily output of 165 tons. A mine also went into operation in the Dolomite community which is today mostly within the City of Hueytown. By 1909, there was a third furnace and a daily capacity of 250,000 tons with a workforce of 2000 men on the payroll. By the 1920s Woodward Iron's many expansions made it one of the nation's largest suppliers of pig iron. By this time, Joseph's son, A. H. (Rick) Woodward, had become Chairman of the Board of Woodward Iron and was one of the most prominent citizens of Alabama. He is probably best remembered as the owner of The Birmingham Barons baseball team and the namesake of Rickwood Field, the nation's oldest professional baseball park. In 1968, Mead Corporation acquired Woodward Iron just as the steel industry was going into decline. In 1973, the last blast furnace closed, and Koppers Company bought the remaining coke production plant. Eventually, even Koppers closed, and much of the 1,200-acre (490 ha) site today has been re-developed for lighter industrial use.[5]

Coal mining began about the start of the 20th century at Virginia City. Today this section of Hueytown contains mostly subdivisions of homes (Virginia Estates and Edenwood). However, some of the original buildings from its mining past, including the superintendent's house, multiple supervisors' houses and two company-built churches remain.

Some sources say veteran prospector Truman H. Aldrich assembled these lands as part of his extensive coal properties, others cite two red-headed brothers, George and E. T. Shuler as having opened the Virginia Mine in 1902. Having recently arrived from Virginia City, Nevada, they named their new mine after that western city. A mine disaster in February, 1905, demolished their plans, as an underground explosion, one of the worst recorded mining disasters in Alabama history entombed the entire day crew and caved in the mine entrance. When rescuers finally cleared the 1500-foot-deep (150 m) shaft, they found 106 dead men and twenty dead mules. In 1936, Republic Steel purchased the mine and it continued to be worked until September, 1953, when it closed permanently.[6]

Government[edit]

The City of Hueytown was incorporated on May 6, 1960,[7] and operates under a Mayor-Council form of government. The Mayor is elected to a four-year term. The five City Council members are also elected to four-year terms from single-member districts. Neither position is term-limited.[8]

Mayors Number of Terms Year Elected Years served
Majors Nordan
1
1960
1960–1964
Wally Watson
1
1964
1964–1968
J.P. Campbell
1
1968
1968–1972
Wade Jackson
1
1972
1972–1976
Preston E. Darden
3
1976
1976–1988
Lillian P. Howard
2
1988
1988–1996
C.C. "Bud" Newell
1
1996
1996–1997
Gerald Hicks
1
1997–2000
Joe Williams
1
2000
2000–2004
Delor Baumann
2
2004
2004–2012

Mayor C.C. "Bud" Newell died in office. The President of the City Council, Gerald Hicks, was then elevated to the position of Mayor and completed the remaining years of the term.

Schools and education history[edit]

The Hueytown area has been served by many schools over the past one hundred years. Most of these have been public schools of The Jefferson County School System which was founded in 1898. However, the first established school in the community was in August, 1874, when several families gathered to build a small log building that served as both a church and school. That structure was located on the hill behind present-day Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church. A later grammar school was built on Upper Wickstead Road, but burned in 1907. The following year, Hueytown Grammar School opened with just four teachers for its 100 students. Also located across the street from Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church it faced Dabbs Avenue. The school was replaced with a larger building in 1935 which faced Hueytown Road. That entire structure burned to the ground on the night of March 3, 1949.

The present Hueytown Elementary School, which has been expanded many times, first opened in the fall of 1950 and Mrs. Davis remained as principal until her retirement in 1963. She was succeeded by Mr. Garland Hendrix who held the post for eighteen years.

Other schools serving the city include: Hueytown High School, Hueytown Middle School (formerly Pittman Middle School and Pittman Junior High), Concord Elementary School and North Highland Elementary School. Four private religious schools, Deeper Life Academy, Garywood Christian School, Brooklane Baptist Academy, and Rock Creek Academy are located in Hueytown.

Other schools that served Hueytown in years past have long since been closed. They included Virginia Mines School, Rosa Zinnerman Elementary, and Bell High School. When an F5 tornado destroyed Oak Grove High School and Oak Grove Elementary School on April 8, 1998 students from the Oak Grove high school grades were temporarily relocated to the former Bell School campus until their new school reopened two years later.

Recently the Hueytown High School Marching, Symphonic, and Jazz Bands have gained some prestige by playing at the Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA) and a dual concert with the University Of Alabama At Birmingham's Symphonic and Wind ensembles.

Sports and recreation[edit]

The abbreviation HYT (HueYTown) has become a popular term of reference for Hueytown among some of the residents; it is constantly used for sports. (for example HYT football).

Hueytown High School's football team made it to the Alabama State Playoffs in 1974, 1975, 1995, and 2004. They also made the playoffs in 2006, 2007, and 2008, marking the first time in school history to make three straight appearances. The team also tied a school record for wins in 2007 with a 10-2 record. On June 18, 2009 Hueytown High School's football Coach Jeff Smith resigned . Spain Park High School Assistant Coach Matt Scott became the new Head Coach on July 7, 2009. The team made the playoffs once again in the 2010 and 2011 season under Coach Scott.

HHS's softball team has won the Alabama State Softball championship three times in four years, 2005 and 2006 as a 5A school and 2008 as a 6A school under Coach Lissa Walker. They won again in 2011 as a 5A school. After the 2011 season, Coach Walker resigned and was hired as the new coach for the Vestavia softball team. Coach Christie McGuirk was hired in Coach Walker's place to be the new coach for the 2011 season.

In 1974, the Hueytown High School Wrestling Team won the 4A State Championship under the guidance of then head-wrestling coach, Tony Morton.[9]

In addition to the public school sports programs, Hueytown offers many other community sports programs. For decades the city has enjoyed a very strong Dixie Youth Baseball program for all eligible age groups. Its Dixie Youth teams use facilities at Hueytown's Bud Newell Park and have seen several of its players eventually make it to the Major Leagues. The city also has a very strong girls fastpitch program that is based at Allison-Bonnett Girls Softball Park, also a city facility. Its Angels league All-Star team won the Dixie World Series championship in the summer of 2003 and its 6U All-Stars won the Alabama State Championship in the summer of 2009. Hueytown also has a Swim Club and a youth football program.

Hueytown also has Youth Soccer which started in 2003.

Hueytown is also home to the Central Alabama Boys & Girls Club, a multi-million dollar facility that provides a variety of sports and recreation opportunities for the youth of the area, focusing primarily on after school and summer programs. It routinely serves more than 300 children each day.

The Alabama Gang[edit]

Hueytown was home to one of the dominant racing groups in NASCAR, the Alabama Gang. The city's main thoroughfare, Allison-Bonnett Memorial Drive, takes its name from drivers Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Davey Allison, Clifford Allison, and Neil Bonnett. The Alabama Gang also includes racing legend Charles "Red" Farmer. Though not considered a member of The Alabama Gang, Bobby and Donnie's older brother Eddie Allison had an active role in NASCAR for many years as a respected engine builder and still resides in Hueytown. His son, Jacob, is a radio personality on Birmingham, Alabama station WJOX. He also resides in Hueytown.

Interestingly, and certainly because of its established motorsports roots, Hueytown was chosen as BMW Motorsport's initial North American base of operations before its first season with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in 1975.

Hueytown Hum[edit]

Beginning in late 1991 residents of Hueytown, and other nearby communities, reported hearing a droning low frequency hum at irregular intervals.[10] The bizarre noises momentarily gained national attention and were reported in the New York Times in April, 1992. In a logical conclusion town officials and many residents suspected the source of the hum was a massive $7 million mine ventilation fan with blades 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter.[11] From local reports and an informal investigation by ABC Evening News, the fan operated by Jim Walter Resources Inc. was generally thought to be the culprit. However, JWR Inc. was in bankruptcy proceedings and denied its fan was the source. Following an inconclusive series of studies the hum subsided later in the year, never to return.[12]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ The Birmingham District, An Industrial History and Guide, 1981, pages 135-138, Marjorie L. White
  6. ^ The Birmingham District, An Industrial History and Guide, 1981, pages 129 & 309, Marjorie L. White
  7. ^ Hueytown City Hall Plaque
  8. ^ Hueytown Historical Society
  9. ^ The Bessemer News, Feb., 1974
  10. ^ Novak, T. Vitton. "A case study of acoustics and vibration of mine fans". (Abstract). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Smothers, Ronald (April 14, 1992). "Hueytown Journal; Humming Along, and Howling Mad". New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  12. ^ Olinger, David (May 10, 1992). "Hueytown's mysterious Humm". Saint Petersburg Times. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°26′16″N 86°59′51″W / 33.437709°N 86.997579°W / 33.437709; -86.997579