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This will make you appreciate our paved roads today

Alabama Power Company’s Warrior Reserve Steam in Walker County began operations in 1917 on the Warrior River. Later, it was named Gorgas in honor of Alabama native William Crawford Gorgas. During the 1920s, the plant supplied power for construction of Wilson Dam at Muscle Shoals. (Alabama Power Company)


DAVE SUMNER OF GORGAS (ALABAMA) TELLS TWO NEW ONES

(written in 1920)

Down at Gorgas the people have two means of egress and ingress. The road and river both navigable. At least the river is navigable all the time. Boats can only use the road during the rainy weather. When it is not raining the mud in the road becomes most too sticky for boats. Which fact probably caused Dave Sumner, of Gorgas, to perpetrate the following upon the editor last Saturday.

William Crawford Gorgas Steam Plant ca. 1937 (Library of Congress)

Don’t bother about me

A gentleman was coming up from Gorgas a few days ago over the road. He noticed a good hat lying in the road. He stooped down and picked up the hat, and was astonished to see the head of a man under the hat, and then heard a voice exclaim:

“Hey there! Put my hat back on my head.”

The astonished man then saw that the voice came from a fellow up to his ears in the mud.

“My friend, can I assist you?” he inquired.

“Don’t bother about me,” said the man, “I’ve got a darned good mule under me.”

William Crawford Gorgas Steam Plant ca. 1937 (Library of Congress)

Another good story

The Dave pulled another atrocity. He said he was walking along the road near Gorgas, a few days ago, and the sun was shining bright. The limb of a tree hung over the road, and a bird flying along, lit on the limb. The bird’s shadow was in the middle of the road. In a few minutes, the bird flew away, but its shadow remained in the road. It was stuck in the mud.

SOURCE

  1. Transcribed from The Mountain Eagle Jasper, Walker County, Alabama, Wednesday, February 11, 1920

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29 comments

  1. Worked there many times as Construction Super.

  2. spent many of days fishing there

  3. My grandfather welded the rings onto one a ladder on the smoke stack.

  4. that is nice haven’t been in that area are y’all over there now

  5. Wonder how many tons of ash we hauled out of there so far?

  6. My Dad worked there in the 1940’s. We lived there for several years. A lot of cinders in the air. I am a native of Walker County, Alabama.
    My thoughts remain there. Sweet Home, Alabama.

  7. Rode by there not too long ago! Went all the way to my Mom’s place at Averitt’s Camp just below the new I-22 overpass. Takes 1.5 hours by water on a slow Pontoon! Beautiful ride!

  8. I spent a number of years working there.

  9. Stephen L. Speed Butch Brooks Jim BaButch BrooksJim Bates

  10. My Dad worked there in early ’50’s, they had some experimental “Gasfication” project when we lived there. one morning KABOOM it blew it’s stack and sent black soot everywhere, my Mother and me and my little brother were outside in the front of the house, my Dad having worked the nightshift was sleeping in a back bedroom, we ran in, found him, still sleeping and covered in black soot, (no a/c then, windows open) needless to say, he never lived that down, we always said and it was the truth, he could sleep thru ANYTHING! Sweet memories…..

  11. I have hauled lot and lots of coal there back in the day.

  12. I’ve actually minned the coalfines impoundment and reclaim for the EPA at gorgas steam moved a lot of coal there myself

  13. Permanently closed as of April.

  14. My Mother said part of the property used for this plant had been owned by her parents.

    1. I don’t know if the power company paid for the land or just took it. I don’t imagine it was more than 40 acres….but it meant a lot to them.

  15. Good story. Thank you for sharing.

  16. I worked there and raised my family was a awesome job a lot of great friends worked their it sad to know its not making power anymore
    Boilermakers Lo/108 Birmingham Ala

  17. Thank you for sharing this story

  18. Where that picture was taken was the coal finds impoundment that I removed from 2000 to 2010 took the dam down and reclaimed/longleaf pine saplings for the EPA and now if you went back there today you would never know that the coal was ever even there on that bluff and impoundment behind TW Martin Elementary School yeah imagine that I worked in Coal Mines in Alabama

  19. While working for APCO I visited that plant in the late 70s for a possible internal job promotion. I recall walking through the switch-house (older plants had separate operators for steam production and electrical switching) and there were these HUGE light bulbs on top of the panels labeled 1, 2, etc. to show when the generators were on line. Like walking through an operating museum.

    1. Is this located close to West Jefferson power plant is now?

    2. Michael Gilbreath You must be referring to Miller Power Plant which isn’t too far away but is on Locust Fork. Both plants’ locations were determined by the proximity of water and coal mines.

    3. John Cork Now Miller gets coal from Powder River mines.

    4. Ron Mele Yep, it isn’t economical to burn high sulfur coal.

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