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Offline Guidedawg

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Bibb County
« on: August 30, 2017, 02:58:23 PM »
1.   Blocton Italian Catholic Cemetery – Primitive Ridge Rd.  West Blocton
2.   Brierfield Furnace – West of Brierfield
3.   Centerville Historic District – Walnut St., E&W Court Sq.  Centerville
4.   Davidson-Smitherman House – 167 3rd Ave.  Centerville

5.   Sarah Amanda Trott McKinney House – State Route 24 between Montevallo & Centerville (Sixmile)
6.   Montebrier – North of Briefield on Mahan Creek  Brierfield
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 11:19:53 AM by Guidedawg »

Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2021, 08:22:54 AM »
1.   Blocton Italian Catholic Cemetery – Primitive Ridge Rd.  West Blocton

In the late 19th Century, hundreds of Italians immigrated to Bibb County, Alabama to work in the coalmines of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company (TCI). In spite of segregation and discrimination, these immigrants established a thriving and vibrant community in Blocton, Alabama. In addition to their own community known as Little Italy, the Italian immigrants founded St. Francis of Assisi Church and later, the the Catholic cemetery.

Blocton Italian Catholic Cemetery was established in 1896 and consecrated in 1901. It was used until 1970. The cemetery is located in what was then the coal mining community of Blocton, a town developed by TCI. To the north of the cemetery lay Hill Creek and to the east, the railroad tracks of the Louisville and Nashville, Mobile and Ohio, and Great Southern Railroads. Originally, the approach road for the cemetery lay to the east, winding down the hill, beneath the railroad bridge of the Mobile and Ohio railroad, to St. Francis Catholic Church (demolished) on Gunlock Hill. Little Italy, the immigrant's separate community, was located northeast of the cemetery, straddling a railroad spur which served the Klondike Mine and TCl's #3,6, and 9 mines.

The Italian Catholic Cemetery contains approximately 86 monuments of modest range and variety, representing over 100 Italian family names. Headstones include materials of primarily granite and concrete with some marble. The majority of monuments are simple headstones (some with accompanying footstones) although one does find smail obelisks. While most gravemarkers reflect the density and embellishment representative of smail late 19th and early 20th century cemeteries in primarily rural areas, the Blocton Italian Catholic Cemetery contains a majority of markers with epitaphs in Italian. Markers are embellished with Christian symbols such as bibies, flowers, trees, vines, doves, lambs and crosses. A particular popular motif is sets of open gates, which appear on approximately a dozen headstones. Also, at least five markers (those of the Torreano and Columbini families) still retain photographic images of the deceased, which have been placed behind protective clear glass coverings. Unfortunately, some of these images have been removed either by descendants of the family or vandals.

With the Italian community's association with TCI and coal mining, many of the monuments are embellished with mining symbols such as a cap, pick and shovel. Often these same stones carry the words "morto nella mina", which translated means "died in the mines". Unfortunately, none of the monuments in the Blocton Italian Catholic Cemetery bear any stonecutter's mark of any identification denoting the place of manufacture. It would seem logical that some of the monuments may have been crafted by a number of talented Italian stonecutters who resided in Birmingham around the turn of the century but there is no historical documentation to confirm this assumption. While the cemetery was almost exclusively for Italian Catholics, one marker denotes a different nationality. A small obelisk reads "Julian Matten, 1870-Belgium, 1915-Piper".

Although TCI closed its mining operation in 1928, the cemetery was used up through the 1960s. In the 1940s, the cemetery became the final resting-place for Italians who died while serving their country in World War II. Willie Burnetti's monument notes that he was "killed in action on Lazon, March 22,1945.1 have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith." Brunetti's sister was interred in the cemetery in 1952 and his two parents in the 1960s. The most recent marker, that of Domenico Srunelli, was laid in 1970.

Today, the Blocton Italian Catholic Cemetery is cleaned periodically by concerned volunteers and citizens of the town of West Blocton. Although occasionally overgrown, the cemetery retains its original character and represents a rural cemetery of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The cemetery is the place most importantly associated with the Italian immigrant settlers and provides a tangible link with their contributions.




Unfortunately, the cemetery in the photo above is not the cemetery in question.



My bike is in the clearing and cemetery in the lower part of the picture, while the historic cemetery is farther up the dirt road behind a locked gate. I was not sure of the distance so I did not walk it.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 01:18:50 PM by Guidedawg »

Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2021, 08:27:52 AM »
2.   Brierfield Furnace – West of Brierfield

The Brierfield Furnace, also known as the Bibb Naval Furnace and Brierfield Ironworks, is a historic district in Brierfield, Alabama. The district covers 486 acres (197 ha) and includes one building and nine sites. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1974. The district is encompassed by Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park

The Brierfield Furnace site was developed in 1861 by Caswell Campbell Huckabee, a Greensboro planter, and Jonathan Newton Smith, a Bibb County planter, on land purchased from Jesse Mahan near the Little Cahaba River, a tributary of the Cahaba. The endeavor was initially known as the Bibb County Iron Company, with Huckabee providing most of the capital and slave labor for construction. Richard Fell was employed to build a 36-foot-high (11 m) stone blast furnace and, in 1862, a rolling mill. The company produced cast iron initially, but soon changed over to the more lucrative production of wrought iron. The iron was used to produce farm implements.

Recognizing the high quality of iron produced at Brierfield, Confederate officials forced the men to sell the ironworks to the government for $600,000 in 1863, renaming it the Bibb Naval Furnace.[3] A new 40-foot-high (12 m) brick furnace was built and a railroad line was constructed to connect the furnace to the mainline of the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The output of the ironworks was then shipped to the Confederate arsenal at Selma. By 1864, the furnace was producing 25 tons of iron per day, much of which went into producing over 100 Brooke rifles ( a type of naval and coastal cannon), one of the South's most important weapons, at Selma. This all ended on March 31, 1865, when the Bibb Naval Furnace was destroyed by the 10th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry during Wilson's Raid.

Following the war, the operation was rebuilt under the private ownership of the Canebrake Company. The new company, formed by former Confederates Josiah Gorgas[3] and Francis Strother Lyon, purchased the ironworks site from the Federal government for $45,000 in January 1866. They had the site back in production by November 2, 1866. In January 1867, Lyon turned the deed over to Gorgas, who became president of the newly formed Brierfield Ironworks. Gorgas leased the ironworks to Thomas S. Alvis on August 2, 1869. He ran the works until forced to close due to economic conditions following the Panic of 1873.

The facilities were purchased and reactivated by William D. and Kearsley Carter, of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1877. By 1882, the operation was under the management of Thomas Jefferson Peter,[3] of Kansas. Peter had the furnace rebuilt and remodeled the rolling mill. He also had a nailery, coke ovens, and a washer built. However, at least partially due to the competition from cut-wire nails out of Pittsburgh, the ironworks finally closed for good in December 1894.

In the years following the closure the site lay abandoned. During the World War II era thousands of bricks were scavenged from the site. In 1976, the Bibb County Commission created a park containing 45 acres (18 ha) at the urging of the Bibb County Historical Society. This initial effort has evolved over the years into what is now the Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park.








Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2021, 08:42:41 AM »
3.   Centerville Historic District – Walnut St., E&W Court Sq.  Centerville

The Centreville Historic District is a historic district in Centreville, Alabama. It includes 7.5 acres (3.0 ha) and twenty buildings, including the Bibb County Courthouse. It is roughly bounded by Walnut Street, and the East and West Court squares. It features examples of Victorian architecture. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 19, 1978









Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2021, 08:45:36 AM »
4.   Davidson-Smitherman House – 167 3rd Ave.  Centerville

The Davidson–Smitherman House, also known as the Davidson Plantation, is a historic plantation house in Centreville, Bibb County, Alabama. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 6, 1988

The house was built in 1837 for Samuel Wilson Davidson, a native of North Carolina. He settled in Bibb County (then Cahaba County) in 1819. He was one of the first people to purchase lots along the east bank of the Cahaba River in what would become the city of Centreville during 1823. Davidson eventually amassed farmlands amounting to more than 2,000 acres (810 ha). His real estate was valued at $12,000 and he owned 98 slaves in 1850. By 1860, Davidson was the most extensive planter and wealthiest citizen in the area. He died in 1863.

The house remained in the Davidson family until 1869, when it was purchased by Thomas and Betty Smitherman. Thomas Smitherman was a prominent local attorney. Smitherman descendants retained the property until it was sold to William E. Henderson in 1963. He, in turn, sold it after two years to Charles L. Hollinsworth, who sold it to Gladys Pittman Leggett in 1972.

The 2 1/2-story Federal style house is notable as one of the only two best antebellum houses remaining in the county and as one of the two earliest and least altered houses built in Centreville by the city's leading builders, George Howard and Enoch Carson. The wood frame structure is set over a full brick basement. The front and rear both feature three bay facades, inset with 12 over 12 sash windows downstairs and 12 over 8 windows upstairs. The front facade features a full-width two-tiered porch with decorative brackets, while the rear features a one-story porch with brackets matching those on the front. The interior is arranged on a center hall plan, with a reverse flight stairway. The house has Federal style mantles and wainscoting, with heart pine floors throughout.





(The home is actually on 2nd St at the intersection of 3rd Ave)

Offline Nice Goat

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2021, 08:46:08 AM »
I had no idea there was an Italian community in Alabama, much less in Bibb County.  Fascinating!
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Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2021, 08:48:52 AM »
6.   Montebrier – North of Briefield on Mahan Creek  Brierfield

Montebrier is a historic plantation house in Brierfield, Alabama. The 1 1⁄2-story frame structure was built circa 1853 by S.W. Mahan in a Gothic Revival cottage orné style. The house is notable for its use of lightly arched porch supports and wide eaves that may show the influence of Andrew Jackson Downing's The Architecture of Country Houses. It currently remains in the Mahan family as a private residence and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 2, 1973









Offline merc16

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2021, 04:52:05 PM »
I had no idea there was an Italian community in Alabama, much less in Bibb County.  Fascinating!
According to this book, there were quite a few.

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Justin

Offline merc16

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2021, 05:06:11 AM »
I hope to add a humble contribution. I went to the actual Italian cemetery of what would have been Blocton, the company town. It is a very short walk past the open cemetery. I decided to take a different bike just in case.


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Justin

Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Bibb County
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2021, 01:15:18 PM »
Thank you for that much needed contribution!