Moody trying to buy piece of local history
by Will Heath
Apr 15, 2010 | 4774 views |  3 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pictured is the Acmar Commissary, which was the center of the Acmar mining community. The city of Moody is currently exploring options for purchasing the property, in the hopes of turning it into a museum and a public park.
Pictured is the Acmar Commissary, which was the center of the Acmar mining community. The city of Moody is currently exploring options for purchasing the property, in the hopes of turning it into a museum and a public park.
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This sign at the commissary bore the names of miners fighting in World War II.
This sign at the commissary bore the names of miners fighting in World War II.
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This service station, stuccoed with coal, is located on the grounds with the commissary in Acmar.
This service station, stuccoed with coal, is located on the grounds with the commissary in Acmar.
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Dave Treadwell says he’s fearful the way of life that once defined this area is fading away.

“Most of us are the age, back in the days of the textile towns and the mining towns and the company stores and that kind of stuff,” Treadwell, who serves as Project Manager for the city of Moody, told the St. Clair County Commission. “I grew up in a textile community – we had a company store, the doc came Monday, Wednesday and Friday down to the hotel and the nurse was there 24-7. There was a community center where all the kids hung out.

“That way of life is fading quickly from physical presence and from memory.”

Treadwell and Moody mayor pro-tem Linda Crowe visited the Commission’s work session on Thursday, April 8, to announce that the city is attempting to buy the old Acmar Commissary, located within the city. According to information Crowe provided, the commissary — which served as a grocery store, post office and center of the old Acmar mining community — belonged to a private citizen who recently died.

“It needs to be preserved,” she said. “I am very passionate.”

Crowe and Treadwell say the city intends to turn the old commissary into a museum, with a surrounding public park that would offer fishing, hiking and picnic areas.

“This would be a lovely place to set up an amphitheater, have concerts, that kind of thing,” Treadwell said. “It’s the kind of thing that would add a lot to the county.”

To purchase the property, however, will likely require some kind of financial aid — the asking price for the 28-acre parcel is around $400,000.

“I’ve met with some grant people concerning buying and restoring the property,” she said. “The grant people have told me that as far as purchasing, I got shot down; as far as restoring, yes.

“So since this is part of St. Clair County and it’s going to be very important to St. Clair County and to the City of Moody, I’m coming to the County Commission to see if there’s any way possible that you can help the city of Moody to purchase the property.”

The focal point of the property, according to Crowe, is a sign located along one wall that was erected during World War II. The sign bears the names of those in the community who marched off to defend the country, and next to each name was a light bulb.

“The sign had names and lights indicating if the soldier was safe, in harm’s way or had been killed,” she said. “This needs to be preserved.”

Many of those names are still visible in photographs.

“I’m just tickled to death that from the ‘40s until 2010, that this has not been damaged,” Crowe said. “The people, the family that owned this Commissary after Alabama Fuel and Iron left … they’ve taken care of the property.”

Commissioners were amenable to helping the city; chairman Stan Batemon said money may be available to make this property part of a larger group of parks related to the mining that took place in the area.

“I’m thinking there may be some interest there to tie the area together, where you can go to Sloss Furnace, can look at Red Mountain Park, what’s left there,” he said. “But your place has something most of them don’t have, which is the buildings. I’m thinking there’s quite a bit of these mining things out there, if they had a home for the museum, we might could work that out.”

Treadwell said the city is willing to explore any avenue to preserve the historic site.

“We need to explore any route we can explore,” he said. “The city of Moody’s struggling, and we’ve been told up-front that we can’t get any grant money or anything like that for purchasing.

“We’ve got the wheels turning for that day after we close, to start doing it.”

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