Tuesday, December 13, 2005

BLOUNT : Home of #8!

Here are some 1976 reminiscences of Blount Springs by Charles Henry Hamilton:

After Ex-Mayor Drennon and Mr. Sloss of the Sloss Furnace bought the hotel property, they would charge people who would come to Blount Springs, $1.00 a week for the sulfur water they drank from the springs. He did not charge the people who stayed at the hotel, but others that would come to Blount and stay elsewhere. He had a gate put up going to the spring yard to keep people out.

Miss Mary found out about his gate and went to Mr. Drennon and Mr. Sloss and said to them, "The very idea of charging people to drink of this water! God put it there. The water is for human beings." Mr. Jim Hood was the constable in Blount County. Mr. Drennon and Mr. Sloss had hired him to guard the gate at the spring yard. One day Miss Mary went to the springs and Mr. Hood told her his orders were not to let anyone in that did not have a receipt showing they had paid for the water for that week. Jim Hood was a crippled man. Miss Mary took his walking stick away from him and opened the gate, turned to Hood and said, "Jim don't you ever lock that gate again or close it to the people that come here for water. That is God given water. He put it here. You or no man have the right to keep people out or to sell this water. I never want to hear or see this gate closed again!" So far, as I know, the gate was never closed again and I have been there many, many times.

One spring was so strong (with sulfur) you could smell it for a half mile ways. If you dropped a silver coin into the water, it would turn black minutes, it was so strong. My great uncle, Isaac McPherson, who was my great grandmother's brother, said he smelled the spring before he found what it was. Jane McPherson Hamilton, my great grandmother used to tell us children about clearing around the spring and finding other springs there, also. One spring was hot, the others cold. The seven springs was within one acre and a half of ground. I have played there as a boy many, many times.

In later years, this become a beautiful place. The people of Blount Springs built a white lattice Gazebo near the spring yard. The gazebo had steps going into it from four sides, with benches around to sit on. On a Sunday afternoon, you would find a band there, sometimes a string band. And people just walking around on a pleasant day would stop and listen to the band and often join in singing. There was always a crowd around on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon, in the summertime; even Spring and Fall. Often times at night a string band would play and people would dance and sing. There being several large hotels, with room of 100 or more and some small hotels along with boarding houses; there were many people who enjoyed Blount Springs, most of them from Birmingham and vicinity.



Easley Bridge (1927) is the oldest of the three remaining covered bridges in Blount County, all of which are still in use. Located in the Rosa community, the bridge spans the Dub Branch. Members of the Tidwell family built all of the Blount County bridges.

Horton Mill Bridge (1935) towers over a deep gorge cut by the Warrior River in Blount County and is the highest covered bridge built over water in the US. Talmedge Horton, a descendant of the family that founded the gristmill for which the bridge is named, helped construct the bridge. He says that it took "fifteen men working from sunup to sundown for a year and a half" to build it.


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