Days Gone By - stories from the past

This is probably the earliest film footage of Toomer’s Corner at Auburn University

This is probably one of the earliest videos of Auburn University. The famous Toomer’s Corner, at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, can even be seen in the film.  Click on this link to see a longer version of the film and learn about Auburn’s history. if the page does not open.main entrance to AlabamaPolytechnic institute

CCC Corps

In 1937 the Department of Interior made a film about Alabama’s State Parks. This 1937 film showcases some of the works of the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama. The CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25 as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Watch for:

  • Students filing out of Langdon Hall and strolling around campus.
  •  Toomer’s Drugs,  a landmark at the University since 1896. This corner until recently was the location of twin, century-old oak trees and has been the spot for thousands of students and alumni who have “rolled Toomer’s Corner” as a celebration occurring after a significant Auburn victory. The oak trees are no longer there, but the tradition at the corner continues.
  • Wright’s Mill is also mentioned in the film. It was a popular recreation area for more than 100 years near Auburn. In the 1890’s, a club house was built on the hill between Wright’s Mill and the Gin-Saw Hole.
  • Valley creek state park mentioned in the film is now Paul M. Grist State Park near Selma, Alabama. The park was renamed after Paul Malone Grist, an active community leader and long-time YMCA director. A Civilian Construction Corps (CCC) camp was established within the current park boundaries. They built the park roads, trails, and the dam.
  • Does anyone know what happened to this unique and very smart dog?  And what are the names of the beautiful young ladies at the end of the film?
  • Chewacla State Park is near Auburn University and today is often a popular place to stay for football weekends.

Auburn had many names over the years

Prior to becoming Auburn University, the college was first East Alabama Male College. The college next became a Land Grant College, established by the Morrill Act of Congress, approved July 2, 1862, that donated lands to the several States “for the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including Military Tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts…in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.”1

College belonged to the Methodist

The state of Alabama accepted this donation on December 31, 1868, and appointed a commission to sell the land script received from the United States and invest the proceeds. The sale was completed and an investment in the amount of two hundred and fifty-two thousand dollars which constituted the original endowment fund of the college.

Reorganized as Agricultural and Mechanical College

The East Alabama Male College in the little town of Auburn belonged to the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and was offered to the legislature for the location of the new Agricultural and Mechanical College and the legislature approved the offer on February 26, 1872 and the new College was organized in March with the faculty of the old college and two new professors as well as a commandant. The senior class of 1872 was the first class to be recognized as graduates of the new Agricultural and Mechanical College.

William F. Feagin was a cadet at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn, Alabama. Feagin graduated in the class of 1892. He served as Alabama's superintendent of education from 1915 to 1917, and as the Montgomery County superintendent from 1917 to 1920.

William F. Feagin was a cadet at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn, Alabama. Feagin graduated in the class of 1892. He served as Alabama’s superintendent of education from 1915 to 1917, and as the Montgomery County superintendent from 1917 to 1920. (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Langdon Hall was built

The period from 1882 to 1892 was an era of growth and development. The first state aid to the college of $30,000 was made February 28, 1883 to improve the main building and erect Langdon Hall, enlarge the library, purchase the experiment farm and other apparatus and equipment. The Professor of Chemistry was also designated the State Chemist.

Main building burned in 1887

The main building, with all its contents, burned June 24, 1887, but it was a blessing in disguise. The insurance company with a donation of $50,000 from the legislature enabled the college to rebuild and the main building and include a well equipped chemical laboratory. The college continued to expand and additional courses were added over the next years. In 1892, the college became the first four-year coeducational school in the state.

Dr. Charles Coleman Thach was president of Alabama Polytechnic Institute from 1902 to 1920. Dr. Charles Coleman Thach was president of Alabama Polytechnic Institute from 1902 to 1920. (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

First Radio Broadcast

(from our podcast Alabama Grist Mill)

Legislature changed the name to Alabama Polytechnic Institute 1899

The legislature changed the name of the college on January 27, 1899, by an Act to Alabama Polytechnic Institute and the work of the Institute was devoted in “great measure, to the study of the natural sciences and their application to practical life.” The military emphasis was still evidently important as seen by the cadet drill in the 1937 film.

Name changed to Auburn University in 1960

In 1960, the college’s name was again changed to Auburn University to acknowledge the varied academic programs and curriculum of the major university. “Auburn is among the few American universities designated as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research center.”2

Dixie Bibb Graves as a young womanDixie Bibb Graves as a young woman – first woman from Alabama in the US Senate (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

First woman Senator from Alabama

Another interesting thing that happened in Alabama in 1937 when this film was made, was the swearing-in of  Dixie Bibb Graves, the first woman from Alabama in the United States Senate.

She was appointed on August 20, 1937, as a Democrat by her husband, Governor Bibb Graves, to fill the vacancy by the resignation of Hugo L. Black who was appointed to the U. S. Supreme Court.

Dixie Bibb Graves being sworn in as U. S. SenatorDixie Bibb Graves being sworn in as U. S. Senatoappointed on August 20, 1937, as a Democrat by her husband, Governor Bibb Graves, to fill the vacancy by the resignation of Hugo L. Black who was appointed to the U. S. Supreme Court.

1History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography,Volume I.

2Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) A collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. […] W. Hill, graduate of Auburn and later assistant professor of mechanics and […]

  2. […] At its Apex this town had collegiate institutes. Finishing schools an military academy, classic churches and stately home in 1854 John Bowles Glenn, let here to establish a school at Auburn and became its first resident of the board of trustees. This school in successive changes became Auburn University. […]

  3. Ms Donna this is great, I would like to know more !! Thanks !! Have a happy Thanksgiving !! And a Merry Christmas !! WDE !!

  4. We know this st. Park well our very good friend John Oldman is the best camp host at this park and they have a vintage classic campout the second weekend of April every year with an open house on that Saturday, you should visit this park, and if you do tell John Hi for us

  5. […] all started when Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison, a native of Montrose, Alabama and a graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1897 donated wireless equipment to his Alma Mater in […]

  6. Need CCC now instead of handouts for legal and illegal folks. Wopk or no food

    1. actually goverment works like this is’ent a bad idea for today….works projects could be made to improve our infrastruture..but alas some would scream about how we don’t need big goverment….involed in a labor fore…it worked in the 1930’s and 40’s it could work today

  7. that first film’s worth the time just to hear the alma mater sung.

  8. Alabama Polytechnical Institute (API) – War Eagle

  9. That is really a cool film

  10. Robert Williamson me thinks the CCC may have built and/or improved many parks around the State of Alabama …

  11. My Daddy, Wilbern Bray, worked in a CCC camp in Guntersville, AL,

  12. Loved the pics of Auburn from 1937 – my dad graduated in engineering from AU in 1938 – and was in ROTC – so hoped he was one of the ones drilling in the film!! A lifetime Auburn fan – not sure he ever quite forgave me for going to U of Alabama!

  13. […] and Scott and the Reverend John Bowles Glenn encouraged the local congregation to establish the East Alabama Male College, a Methodist institution that began classes in 1859 and served as the forerunner of Auburn […]

  14. Sheri Smith Wood. Cynthia McCray Looney

    1. You are very welcome!

  15. TommyandKay Whitman, thought you might like this

  16. Joshua Jackson Shane Jackson

  17. Gregory Marshall Smith

  18. Sarah Simmons Justin Slinger Thompson Megan Grantham Ally Beall Nina Cotney Cassie Elizabeth Walker Mike Gray Erin Thompson

  19. Phyllis you might like this

  20. Susan Robertson Crowden, Janis Sparkman

  21. Ov Garner Sondra Stabler Maddox Candia Harrison-Morris

  22. Yes I did. Thank you Byron.

  23. My husband attended Auburn, we both enjoyed seeing this. Thank you for posting.

  24. […] nephew, Associate Justice Thomas C. McClellan, Judge Daniel Coleman; President C. C. Thach of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, James W. Sloss, organizer of the Sloss Sheffield Steel & Iron Co.; Luke Pryor, lawyer and […]

  25. My supervisor in the 70s graduated in about 1949 after the Navy. He told about greasing the RR tracks so opposing football teams and fans on a train would slide about 1/4 mile down the track from the station and have to walk back.

  26. It’s a historical institute. It’s campus is so beautiful.

  27. Melanie Stickler Falconer

  28. Melanie Stickler Falconer

  29. Looked better then

  30. Leslie Stewart Cerenzia Tom Stewart

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