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Last week I had a brief visit with W. L. Wadkins. He has been a long-time friend of the Society as evidenced by his gifts. Many years ago he donated a fine old fire extinguisher from The Alger Sullivan Lumber Co. His latest gifts are from the blacksmith shop at Alger. These are what you see in the "history mystery" pictures accompanying this column. Once again we are calling on you readers to tell us what their purpose was in the old shop that stood along the road that now leads to Century's sewer plant.
The larger item appears to have been adapted from a regular sledgehammer, but for what purpose? It measures about 3" x 3" x 7 1/2" and weighs about 15 pounds. The smaller tool measures 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" and weighs 5 pounds.
Apparently, almost all of the tools and other "fixings" were made in Alger's shop, but we have very little information about the people who worked there and of the mechanical miracles they wrought, so if you can identify these tools and, better yet, tell us about the folks who made and worked with them, please let us hear from you.
Next, you need to know that we are starting a new phase of fund-raising to retrieve and restore our antique steam engine - #100. We now have a number of train novelties for you to purchase - not only to show your fondness for trains, but to add to the funds. On hand now, we have "I Love Trains" and "Crossing Sign" pins that actually light up and flash. They look great on our engineer hats and even blend in with the traditional red bandannas as well as with the really good-looking antique train bandannas. I am seriously considering making one of those into a pillow-top or putting it on a stretcher frame for hanging. We also have miniature engines that, when rolled onto a piece of paper, print out a continuous line of train pictures. These little cuties also light up.
Now I must tell you that I have saved the best for last - the "Whoo, whoo" key chains. You will just have to see and hear these to believe them. These mini antique engines chug-chug, whoo-whoo, clang-clang, clickety-clack and light up. They are supposed to be useful for starting certain games or timing game plays. They make neat decorations for your Christmas tree and, of course, they are even useful as key chains.
Not on hand at the moment, but in the works, are beautiful 3-D ornaments that will make great gifts for almost any occasion. These will be best quality brass depictions of #100, so start saving your money now to shop with us. You will not only have great items for yourself and gift-giving, but will be aiding the drive to get our engine back. Just call either of the Jerrys or me and we'll be more than happy to supply as many of the items on hand as you need and take your order for the 3-D ornaments.
Our Independence Day celebrations are over for another year. The flags have been flown, the fireworks blown, stomachs from picnics have grown and, hopefully, our history has been made known. Folks, The Alger-Sullivan Historical Society encourages you to join us, not only to preserve pride in the local history, but to promote respect for and love of the nation's history.
We try to do things that are perhaps more meaningful than just reciting noble words, setting off firecrackers and doing all of the more superficial things that generally mark our celebrations.
We can use your help in preserving that which is important. Just give us a call.
Our next meeting is July 19th, and Jeff Ross of Atmore, will tell us about the Ellicott Line, the state line between Florida and Alabama. It was surveyed in 1799 to determine the boundary between Spanish West Florida and the United States.
The line extended across Alabama and Florida to a point near the Chattahoochee River. The line was resurveyed from a marker at the Tombigbee River in 1999, the 200th anniversary of the original survey. Mr. Ross will tell us of his witnessing a portion of the bicentennial survey.