Jimmy Hightower makes historical presentation to Sylacauga library

Jimmy Hightower, left, made a presentation of a picture page of Sylacauga history from 1924 to the B.B. Comer Memorial Library and the mayor’s office. Accepting the presentation are Tracey Thomas, library director, center, and Mayor Jim Heigl, right.


SYLACAUGA -- Jimmy Hightower’s family has a rich history in his hometown.

He wanted to give a small piece of that history back to the Marble City in the form of a pictorial from July 12, 1924.

The picture page is from the Birmingham News, which did a special section featuring different towns from across the state. The pictures on the page were done by Hawkins Studio in Sylacauga, according to Hightower.

Hightower grew up in Sylacauga, where his family played a vital part in its history. In making the presentation of the framed pictorial with tidbits about the photographs, he said the reason for doing it was to keep this town’s history alive.

He also made presentations to the mayor’s office, the Chamber of Commerce and other locations around the town.

Hightower said his cousin, Mit Hebson, had the framed original page on his wall.

“My cousin died in recent months, and his wife, Peggy, let me borrow the original. Don Smith at Don Smith’s Photography produced some copies for me,” he said.

Hightower said Smith did a wonderful job.

“Mit would be so proud of this,” Hightower said.

The page has a photograph with a striking view of downtown with its broad streets in 1924.

A list of the other photos on the page and information included about each:

  • Mayor J.E. Jordan -- one of the progressive little city’s most progressive mem. He was a leader in virtually every civic movement and has been a real factor to building up the community in which he makes his home and which he serves;

  • Sylacauga’s new $100,000 State Secondary Agricultural School (later become Sylacauga High School) building, which is just being completed. It will add greatly to Sylacauga’s educational facilities, which are already fine;

  • The First United Methodist Church of Sylacauga -- the building is one of the best of its kind in the state, and the congregation one of the most progressive;

  • The interior of the restroom of the Avondale Mills Band Hall at Mignon, one of the cotton mill centers at Sylacauga. The hall is one of rare beauty and perfect comfort;

  • A stretch of the beautiful Florida Short Line leading into the northern section of Sylacauga. The road is one of rare beauty and a big asset to Sylacauga;

  • Miss Marie Hightower, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M.G. Hightower, and Miss Mary Gene Smith, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E.S. Smith. Marie Hightower was the cousin of Jimmy Hightower and the mother Mit Hebson; and

  • A view of the marble quarry of the Alabama Marble Company. This quarry produces the highest grade white marble in the world. This product receives highest praise from distinguished sculptors.

Hightower said he was just the courier for this presentation, which the Hebson family allowed him to do.

Hightower during his career worked for the Birmingham Post-Herald, the Huntsville Times, Mobile Press-Register and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also owned a PR firm in Atlanta.

He was also a cameraman for the Shug Jordan Show at the Montgomery television station where it was filmed. At one time, he also served as a cameraman for the Bear Bryant Show with Channel 13 in Birmingham.

Today, Hightower spends his time between Sylacauga and Georgia.

Anyone interested in getting a copy of the page can contact Smith, Hightower said.

Library Director Tracey Thomas and Mayor Jim Heigl thanked Hightower for the historical pictorial.