Hurricane Dennis
ASHS Column for 07 21 05
Margaret Collier

Tolerance, please! Although Dennis left me with minimal damage, but a whole lot of mess, I must admit that he blew my mind. Actually, I suspect that the stress of it all has affected all of us, so maybe you will excuse not having an exciting, uplifting historical column to read this week.

We do not have any records of how hurricanes affected folks in this area back in the early 1900's, but workers who lived in the mill town of Century surely must have felt somewhat protected in the knowledge that the Company somehow would take care of them. With weather predictions being far different from today there probably weren't the several days of buildup tension. Maybe the old folks' aching corns and joints were the best indication that they had that something was in the air that would not be pleasant. At any rate, the Company houses were obviously quite sturdy since we see so many of them still standing in the Alger-Sullivan Historical District today.

I haven't researched to see if any hurricanes hit our area during that time period or if they did, what category they were. It would be most interesting if any of you have family stories of storm activity from about 1900 through the 1950's that you would care to share with us. Just give us a call.

We had two people who let us know the names of the tools and their uses from the column two weeks ago. Mike Williams and Neal Collier agreed that the larger one was called a straight pein (other spellings: peen and pane) sledge (hammer) or a handled fuller used for spreading metal. The smaller one was a handled or hot cut chisel used when cutting hot metal. The handle kept the user's hand from the heat and from the hammer that was banging away on the flat end of the chisel. These tools and many other such items may be viewed in the Post Office Museum in The James Houston Jones Historic Park. Just call for an appointment (850-256-2025, 850-256-3983 or 850-256-2661).For more information, read the reprint of "Practical Blacksmithing," compiled by M.T. Richardson. The original was from 1889, '90, and '91.

Probably, in the Alger-Sullivan blacksmith shop, both of these tools had been "store bought", but the larger one was most likely modified by the locals to do the particular job they needed done. We tend to make educated guesses based on what we do know, but still would like your input on what actually went on in the local smith shops. Do share with us what you know about how these people went about their tool-making crafts.

We do hope that Dennis did not deter you from reading Jerry's column last week about the event that is coming up October 8. The Model A was something we all remember with nostalgia, so make your plans now to attend. We'll keep you posted as plans develop.

Several people have asked, "Are you still going to get that train" or "When is the #100 engine coming?" Unfortunately, we cannot give you an answer just yet. You have to know that the great expense is a formidable block. We are trying several ways to raise the rest of the money needed including re-applying for a grant, selling train memorabilia, sponsoring the October event, and asking for donations. If you really care about this project, contact us to see how you can be instrumental in making it happen.

Dennis hit the Historic Park rather hard. Fortunately, the three museums are intact, but the fences and gardens took a beating. The work crews from the Century Correctional facility and from the Town of Century have already helped. We are most appreciative of their efforts and will welcome any other clean-up that will help to restore the Park before the October event.
A point to ponder, from Lillian Green: Did the McDavid Elementary School have 3 or 4 rooms? Lillian says 4, but others say 3. Who can give us a sketch or a floor plan? We'd like to do a column on the history of the McDavid school, so let us hear from you.

This page last modified on Monday, September 19, 2005