Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Calera, Alabama, 1st named Buxahatchie, home of the “Golly Hole” & one of the finest artesian wells in the state


The first settler of Calera was John R. Gamble from Ireland. He was a soldier of the American Revolution and one of Jackson’s soldiers. Gamble bought over 100 acres of land one mile north of the present Calera. He sold a parcel of land in 1825 that was located in the present Spring Creek area to William Wilson. He later left Shelby County and became a Methodist minister residing in Walker County, Alabama.

Church Street in Calera, AlabamaChurch Street in Calera, Alabama ca. 1920s (

Other early pioneers

Some other pioneers include William Watson, Richard Green, Elijah Seale, Rev. William Seale, Robert Hartley, Daniel Muse, Virgil N. Gardner, Samuel A. Wallace, Maraday Busby, William Moore, Elizabeth Fields, Thomas Crim, Hardy Crim, Robert H. Crim, Edmund King, and John Brooks.

Other early settlers include Neely, Lyde, and Wright families from Old Cheraw, SC. The first physician was Dr. J. R. Morgan. and the first preacher was Rev. William Seale.

One of the finest artesian wells in the State was located within Calera. In 1853-4, the Alabama & Tennessee River Railroad was built through Calera, and the first post office established as Lime Station. During the Civil War years, postmasters were James A. Mullins, N. McQueen, and H. V. Boyd. When the U. S. Post Office was officially established in 1869, the first postmaster was Almon B. Turner, Jr., and second postmaster Oscar Nabors.

Greetings from Calera, Ala postcard ca. 1940s Q69121Greetings from Calera, Alabama postcard ca. 1940s Q69121

First named Buxahatchie

Calera was first named the community of Buxahatchie but when the railroad arrived March 4, 1848, lime workers began to settle in the area so it was named Limeville. The lime works were acquired in 1883 by J. R. Adams of Montgomery, later of Birmingham, and the name changed to Shelby Lime Works.

In 1887, the city was incorporated and named Calera after the Spanish word for limestone for all the limestone deposits located in the area.

The Golly Hole

One of the largest sinkholes in U.S. history opened up near Calera in Shelby County, Alabama in 1972.  Known as the Golly Hole, it measures more than 300 feet across, as wide as a football field is long. Residents reported hearing a tremendous roar as the hole opened up and swallowed trees and everything else in the vicinity, according to media accounts of the time. Today, the hole is still very much there but overgrown with tall pine trees.

Calera is the home of the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. The museum 2018  operating season begins March 17th with many fun family events to follow such as Day Out With Thomas, Cottontail Express, and much more!

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to 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. Thanks, Don. I had not seen this picture.

  2. Good article. I’m a descendant of Hardy Crim.

    1. Janet, did you know Forest Crim?

    2. No, my connection goes back to Hardy’s daughter Rachel who married Elias Pilgreen. Their daughter Mary Pilgreen Houlditch was my great-great grandmother.

  3. Not far from where my mom lives.

  4. I enjoy the articles.

  5. Ronnie Gamble did you see this article? Is he your ancestor?

  6. Where is the golly hole at in calera? Anybody know?

    1. Coming in on Overhill Road off 84. Easiest access is across the street from the 4th or 5th house on the right. Used to live out there and there used to be a yellow gate on an overgrown dirt road. Not sure now. You have to venture off the path to find it though. Think the quarry owns the land.

    2. southwest corner of about a 40acre block of woods on the corner of Overhill Road and hwy 84.

  7. The Golly Hole is located on Overhill Road near County Hiway 84 in Montalla Acres subdivision and actually has a Montevallo address.

  8. And you guys nailed it yet again . I am a regular reader of your posts . You guys makes sure that you bring the most interesting historical fact about a place . A job well done !

  9. Mellissa Wiley, interesting

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