From Sage Brush to 911: How Haleyville Began first edition now available

Haleyville resident Bobby Taylor buys the first copy of the newly released edition From Sage Brush to 911: How Haleyville Began from Kenneth Ward, president of the Haleyville Historical Society.

HALEYVILLE - The long awaited project of compiling a book solely about the city of Haleyville has come to fruition with the release of From Sage Brush to 911: How Haleyville Began, a book full of history and pictures now available for purchase. A labor of love from the Haleyville History Society, Winston County Archives and Winston County Genealogical Society, the book focuses solely on the history of Haleyville with an emphasis on the downtown area. However, some of the city’s outlying areas within the city limits were also recognized in this volume, according to Dianne Miller, president of the WCGS, Winston County Archives volunteer and member of the Haleyville Historical Society. Books are $20 and are available for purchase from the Winston County Archives in Double Springs and Haleyville Public Library. Books will also be sold during the upcoming 9-1-1 festival Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2. Look for a tent under which the books will be sold in front of the historical Feldman House, circa 1902, located downtown on 9th Avenue, which is mentioned in the book. The books will also be available at the Haleyville Alumni Luncheon at the elementary school on Saturday, June 2. Those who would like to have a book mailed to them need to include an extra $5 for shipping and send payment with address to Winston County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 112, Double Springs, Al. 35553. Bobby Taylor of Haleyville was the first to purchase the book when it was released, keeping a promise he made 10 years ago. He purchased the book from Historical Society President Kenneth Ward. “Ken told me about 10 years ago at least that he was going to write a book about the city of Haleyville,” Taylor said. “I said, ‘If you ever write that book, I’ll buy the first copy’...Here we are.” “It’s a labor of love by a lot of people,” Ward said. Ward and wife Margaret came up with the idea of compiling a book documenting Haleyville’s history, sprinkled liberally with old photos and articles. Assisting in researching the pictures and compiling the history were the WCGS and Archives in Double Springs. “This is the first book which has been solely dedicated to the history of Haleyville, but hopefully will not be the last,” Miller said. “When reading this book, please keep in mind the time frame of the articles, because many homes and businesses have changed names, appearances or no longer exist,” Miller pointed out. Many of the articles in the book are taken from newspapers and therefore reflect the time and language used, she added. Many of the photos used for this volume were courtesy of a collection from the late Billie Fortenberry, a noted historian whose vast collection has been adopted by the archives. The pictures and articles described a sleepy little village that was incorporated as the town of Haleyville on Feb. 28, 1889. The WCGS, historical society, and archives have discovered many other historical tidbits and fun facts while researching for this first volume. Over a year prior to its incorporation, the railroad was built and ran as far as Delmar. From this point, the sleepy little town began to steadily grow and prosper into what has become the largest city in Winston County, Miller explains in the book’s introduction. “From this town would come doctors, lawyers, a U.S. Congressman, a nationally known federal court judge, actors, architects, engineers, musicians and many other skilled professionals,” Miller noted. Haleyville is not only known nationally but internationally for being the birthplace of the first ever emergency 9-1-1 telephone call which was placed there on Feb. 16, 1968, and has celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. It is ironic that, at the 9-1-1 festival commemorating the 50th anniversary of that legendary call, the first volume of Haleyville historical books will be sold. “Haleyville is where I was born and raised,” said Miller. “It is where I raised my children and now where three of my four grandchildren call home. “I have traveled across this great country of ours and traveled to other countries, but there’s no place I want to call home but Haleyville,” Miller said. “It is my desire, along with (Archives) co-worker Treva Hood, this book will not only inform and educate, but will also take you the reader back to a place we all hold dear, a place called Haleyville,” she concluded.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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