Old Mill House by the tracks in Anniston Alabama submitted by Blaine Allred

Old Mill House by the tracks in Anniston Alabama submitted by Blaine Allred

Anniston Alabama is a city in Calhoun County and is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The population is ~23,106. Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County. The city was named after Annie Scott Tyler, the daughter-in-law of General Daniel Tyler, one of Anniston’s founders.

Anniston Alabama History

Founded in 1872 and incorporated as a city in 1879, Anniston was a company town, built by the Woodstock Iron Company. The town was not opened for general settlement until 1883. Anniston was the first city in Alabama to be lighted with electricity in 1882 and enjoyed the convenience of telephones as early as 1884.

The city has many examples of Victorian-style homes, some of which have been restored or preserved. Several of the city’s churches are architecturally significant or historic, including the Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Grace Episcopal Church, Parker Memorial Baptist Church, and the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly African-American church in what is known as the Zion Hill community. Temple Beth EL, dedicated in 1893, is the oldest building in the state continuously used for Jewish worship.

The Library Of Congress has an 1888 drawing, “Bird’s Eye View Of Anniston, ALA,” you Anniston folks might be interested in downloading and framing. You can download it here.

Anniston Alabama History compiled in 1921 by Thomas McAdory Owen, LL.D.

County seat of Calhoun county; on the main lines of the Southern Railway, the Seaboard Air Line Railway, and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.  It is situated in an amphitheater of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the southern part of the country, in secs. 5 and 6, and 7 and 8, T. 16, R. 8; 63 miles northeast of Birmingham, 148 miles north of Montgomery, 104 miles west of Atlanta, and 142 miles south of Chattanooga, Tenn.  Altitude: 800 feet.  Average temperature: 80 degrees in summer and 40 degrees in winter.  Population:  1880 – 942; 1890 – 9,998; 1900 – 9,695; 1910 – 12,794; 1915 – 20,000.

The town was first known as Woodstock.  It was incorporated as Anniston in 1873, under the general laws, and by the legislature, February 4, 1879.  The town was created as a separate school district by act of February 3, 1883.  The charter was amended and greatly amplified by act of February 23, 1889.  The Woodstock company threw the town open to outsiders in 1883, and its growth to 1890 was phenomenal.  The corporate limits comprise a 3-mile circle, whose center is at the crossing of Noble Avenue, and 17th Street.  It has waterworks, built in 1881; fire department, consisting of 3 stations, each with a motor truck; privately owned electric light and power plant, and gas plant; city hall; jail; 30 mile of sanitary sewerage; 2 miles of bithulitic and 35 miles of macadamized streets; cement sidewalks; and 15 miles of electric street railway.

Churches:  Anniston has been called “the Brooklyn of the South,” or “the City of Churches.”  In 1881 the Episcopalians established a mission under Rev. W. Carnahan, and soon afterward erected a $35,000 building.  They now have two churches – Grace Church, and St. Michael and All Angels.  In 1883, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, under Rev. T. H. Davenport, established the First Methodist Church.  Later the McCoy Memorial, Oxanna, St. Pauls, and Wesley Chapel were built.  In the same year the Baptists built the Parker Memorial, The First Baptist Church, Blue Mountain, Glen Addie and West End churches.  In 1884, the Presbyterians established their first church organization in the town.  They now have the First, Second, and Glen Addie Churches.  Besides these, there are Northern Methodist, Congregational, Cumberland Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Catholic, Jewish, 7 Negro Baptist, 8 Negro Methodist, and 2 Negro Presbyterian Churches. 

Anniston has 18 small parks and playgrounds distributed over the city; Oxford Lake park; the country club and golf links.

In 1862, the land on which Anniston now stands was owned by D. P. Gunnells of Oxford, who sold it to the Oxford Furnace Company.  In 1872, Samuel Noble and Daniel Tyler bought the ruins of old Oxford Furnace, and rebuilt it, and organized the Woodstock Furnace Co., which was one of the few southern industries that survived the financial panic of 1873.  Its fires were never banked, and its product always found a market.  Samuel Noble, to whom Anniston has erected a fitting memorial, laid out its broad streets, conserving the parks, providing sewerage and waterworks, planting its splendid avenues of trees and making a model city.  In 1883, the demand from outside was so insistent, that the manufacturing city was formally opened to the public.  Henry W. Grady the gifted Georgia editor, of Atlanta, presided for the company.  The county seat was removed to Anniston in 1895.

The earliest settlers of this region were the Gunnells and Edmondson families.  The most notable residents were Samuel, James, John and William Noble, and Daniel, Alfred L. and E. L. Tyler.  General Daniel Tyler died in New York City, 1882, but his body was brought to Hillside Cemetery, Anniston.  He was the grandfather of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, sr. (Edith Carew).

References. – Acts, 1878-79, pp. 353-359; 1882-83, pp. 335-337, 461; 1888-89, pp. 601-624; Armes, Story of coal and from in Alabama (1910), pp. 179, 180-185, 310 et seq.; Northern Alabama (1888), pp. 470-477; Anniston Chamber of Commerce, Folders and pamphlets.

Anniston Alabama Web Links

Anniston Alabama Map