Recapping Trussville’s 75th Anniversary
By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE – It was my own doing, but I about bit off more than I could chew June 10.
I had created an itinerary, a loose guide to follow to make the day as productive as possible. I printed it and kept it in my passenger seat. My black backpack barely zipped shut. It was filled with notebooks, a laptop and charger, a tripod, microphones, recorders, a Gatorade and an Aquafina. I looked like a longtime member of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
Shortly after 8 a.m., I stood on The Mall in Trussville and recorded a six-minute, thirty-one-second Facebook Live video. I talked about the meaning of June 10 in Trussville, its history, and what was to come as the day wore on.
June 10 marked the 75th anniversary of Trussville incorporating as a town. It officially became a city on May 31, 1957. At the Aug. 22, 1946 Cahaba Community Association meeting, pros and cons of incorporation of Cahaba alone — the Cahaba Project, a government housing development — and also of including Trussville, was discussed. It was suggested that the people of Trussville advise the government that they desired to be included in the corporate limits. A motion was passed unanimously to form a plan of incorporation and operation of a city government to serve both Cahaba and Trussville.
It was unanimously agreed on Sept. 24, 1946, that the incorporated municipality should include both Cahaba and Trussville. A March 11, 1947, letter from the Federal Public Housing Authority briefly outlined the proposed incorporation of the town of Trussville. The letter stated that the Cahaba Project was a fine example of planning for semi-subsistence homes that would be protected from the uncontrolled growth of its neighbor, Trussville. All minor streets had been planned that their connections with Trussville were made by way of Chalkville Road or Parkway Drive.
“The time has come now to join these separate communities as an Incorporated Town,” the letter stated. “In order to do so there must be more direct connections between the two communities and a pooling of their interests so that a well organized community will be attained.”
The letter recommended that both sides of the Cahaba River be dedicated as park lands, as well as The Mall and triangular area near present-day Brentwood Avenue. The grassy area between Magnolia Court and Hewitt Street was also recommended to be kept as park land.
On June 2, 1947, an election was held to determine whether to incorporate the town of Trussville into a city form of government. The election carried and all property owned by the Federal Public Housing Authority with four legal voters per 40 acres of land was included in the area to be incorporated. The Cahaba Project was absorbed into the town of Trussville when it was incorporated on June 10, 1947.
I mentioned that it became a city 10 years later, and that’s true. The difference? A town includes fewer than 2,000 people. Trussville had 1,443 in 1947. A city includes more than 2,000 people. Trussville had increased to 2,161 folks in 1957. Trussville as we know it was truly born June 10, 1947. To me, as someone who has spent the last nine years learning this place’s rich history, this was an important day, one worthy of attention, promotion and remembrance. I tried my best.
At 10 a.m., I spent time on a Brentwood Avenue porch talking about that history, about the Cahaba Project, a lot of which was recorded for a podcast. Afterward, I ate a donated panini in the truck at The Mall, where I game-planned for the evening. I spent the afternoon documenting, researching and writing. I edited the podcast and posted it from inside the Trussville Public Library.
By 3:30 p.m., I was at a house on Lake Street, loading my truck with folding tables, metal stakes, a tent and enlarged photos the size of White House windows. I helped unload it all on The Mall and set it all up. Trussville Historical Society members and I spread Trussville history and souvenirs across those tables, and readied for the “Swing back to 1947 Movie on the Mall” event that the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce planned.
For the kids, there were horse shoes and sack races. Food trucks lined North Mall by 5:30 p.m., and I made it until 5:31 p.m. before I gave in. Trussville’s original fire truck from 1947 – purchased with funds raised from raffling off a 1946 Dodge car – was parked on The Mall.
I mostly meandered across the green lawn for an hour, talking with folks I recognized. I spent a lot of time in folding chairs with the Trussville Historical Society ladies who, after realizing I’ll carry tables for free, even laughed at my dumb jokes. We packed up all the historical artifacts, souvenirs, newspapers, chairs, tables and large photos as a sunset burned orange over West Mall. The movie was not going to start for another half hour or so. I was a sweaty mess, tired, and ready to shower.
After emptying my truck back on Lake Street, I had planned to go home to do just that. But this day, June 10, was special. A place only has one 75th anniversary. I had spent much of the day with others or providing some sort of digital content for others. I wanted a few moments to myself, to maybe make a memory. So, I texted my wife and said I was going to return to The Mall for just a few minutes and catch a portion of “The Egg and I,” a 1947 film about a young married couple who become chicken farmers.
I’ve read what the movie is about. I won’t spoil the whole plot here. However, I did decide to set up my tripod one last time and record in the dark. The moment that I pressed that red button to record, the husband began talking with his wife.
“This is probably where we’ll spend the rest of our lives. Doesn’t it give you a wonderful sense of security?”