Edgewater Tornado
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Update: 4/28/11 - Thirteen years after the events depicted on this website occurred the terror returned to the state of Alabama, only this time it would scar an unimaginable swath of destruction through the heart of dixie. Click the Pleasant Grove Tornado link above for a page on those events.
 
Update: 3/25/10 - I have been working with an author named Kelly Kazek. She is writing a book about deadly Alabama tornado's. If you or your family members have been effected by tornado's you will want a copy of this book. I will post information here when its available. Follow the link for more information on Kelly Kazek.
 
The following page is devoted to a small town in Alabama built mostly in 1910 by the Tennessee Coal & Iron Company to house its workers. The people that populated the town all worked for TCI. It was a time prior to labor unions. The company didn't pay their workers well but they did see that they had everything they needed including a school, church, medical care, a store. The company even provided a social worker for the teenagers.

This picture is of all that remains of the church built for the people in 1910. All that this town was and all its history was blown away in an F5 tornado on the night of April 8th 1998. With very few exceptions almost every house in the community was destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Some of its residents died as a result. The following page is a view of Edgewater as witnessed by my family and their friends. It was a special place to live that was a product of the time. A time that will never again be in America.

-- Walter Kirkwood --
 
 
It takes two tons of water to make a single ton of steel. Bayview dam was constructed to supply this need. Coal is required. Mines were constructed to obtain this valuable resource. There was one more thing that TCI needed to make steel. PEOPLE. At the turn of the century the Birmingham area was a difficult place to live. Only 20 years earlier the area had been for the most part empty. The summers were sweltering, the water supply scarce. The winters were short but bitterly cold. TCI need to lure a large labor force to the area. The answer the company came up with was to build a community around its mines. Edgewater was one of these communities. Built near the Edgewater Mine Edgewater had company homes along with a store, church, and a school. Rent for a company house was $8 a month which included light and water. The homes were built in similar fashion with four rooms with a center pointed roof. Each room had a fireplace but all shared a common chimney which was in the center of the house. The homes were heated by coal and had no indoor plumbing. Usually an outdoor hydrant provided water. Most houses had two front doors so that two families could occupy the same house. As you can guess the "outhouse" was on every lot. The company supplied buckets which were picked up at regular intervals by a horse drawn wagon which was nicknamed, "The Honey Wagon". Another wagon also supplied by the company served as the garbage pickup. There was a section known as "Village Maintenance". These company employees were responsible for the maintenance on all the houses. There was a carpentry shop, paint supply building, and a lumber supply.