Town History

(as recorded by Mayor Paul Johnson)

 
 

Sand Rock Town History
(as recorded by 1st Mayor Paul Johnson)

In the spring of 1988, some of the people of the Sand Rock community decided that things could be better for them. They were afraid some of the nearby towns were going to extend their limits, and Sand Rock would lose its identity, and they wanted to remain apart of Sand Rock. There was a called meeting in the school gym to see what could be done. Some of the people thought we needed to incorporate so we could decide our own destiny.

It was decided to have another meeting of all the citizens and have more discussion and invite a lawyer to come to the meeting so we could get some legal advice. Dean Buttram, Jr. was scheduled to come to the next meeting to talk to us about what would be required to incorporate. It was decided to have another meeting and invite someone to give us more practical information. The town of Argo in St.Clair County had just recently gone through incorporation, so one of the councilmen from Argo was invited to come to the next meeting. He told us some of the ways incorporating had benefitted, and some of the work which went into it. At this point, we were having legal expenses and other bills to pay, but it was decided to proceed with what we were doing.

A committee, consisting of Bill Lumsden, Nelson St.Clair, Junior Helms, Paul Johnson and Jack Hood, was appointed to see if we could meet the requirements for incorporation. This committee met with legal counsel Dean Buttram, Jr., who gave the requirements and how to proceed. In order to incorporate, it must have at least 300 residents with four or more registered voters on each forth acres that is to be incorporated, and the forties must all touch.

Getting a set of maps was the starting point. After we got the maps, we picked a forty for a starting point and checked to see if it had four legal voters. If it did, then we made a count of the residents.

Our next step was to research the forties joining it to see if they would qualify, and we also had to check with the owner to see if they agreed for the property to be incorporated. After much research, many hours of work and running into many dead-ends, we kept working from the four-way stop primarily along the roads, in all directions locating as many residents as we could to reach our goal. Finally after finishing with another area, we made a count of residents, and we had a count of 317 which was enough to meet the number required, so we made the application for incorporation.

Sand Rock was incorporated August 24, 1988. Under the direction of Dean Buttram, plans for an election were drawn up. There was an election held November 15, 1988, to elect a mayor and council. Paul Johnson was elected as the first mayor. The first council consisted of Jimmy Butler, Jack Hood, Nelson St.Clair, Harold Pearson, and Frankie Brewster. Ann St.Clair was appointed as the first town clerk, and Dean Buttram, Jr. was the town’s attorney.

First Town Council:  Nelson St.Clair, Dean Buttram, Jack Hood, Jimmy Butler, Mayor Paul Johnson, Harold Pearson, and Frankie Brewster Judge John Coggin with Mayor Paul and Mrs. Evelyn Johnson

Frankie Brewster married and moved to Leesburg after serving about two years. After he resigned, the council appointed Irvin Oliver to take his place. Due to a conflict of interest, Nelson St.Clair had to resign in April of 1991. In June, the council appointed Elmer Carver for his replacement.

The council immediately started discussing and making plans on several projects which would benefit the people of the Sand Rock area. Improvement of roads, street lighting, recreation facilities, cable TV, law enforcement, beautification, and other projects were suggested. To pursue any of these projects, we needed money, but the town was broke. So it was decided each councilman would give a donation of $25.00 and the Mayor agreed to give $50.00 to get us started.

Before the next meeting, the mayor and legal counsel met and began researching some possibilities for income. We found out we were entitled to a portion of TVA monies based on our population, which amounted to about $400.00 per month. This was a start for us, but if we were going to complete any of our projects, we needed more money. So we started looking for other sources of revenue. This was time-consuming, but the counsel worked hard and spent many hours to pass some ordinances which would be helpful and fair to the people It took several months before we had the resources to undertake most of the projects we wanted. The counsel and mayor donated their services and received no compensation.

However, we did start work to get cable TV as it would be very little expense. This was something most of the people had wanted for years, but had always been turned down. We contacted several companies, and after they made their proposal, we traded with one. In the agreement, they would install one drop in the school free, and the school could tie on as many extra drops as they wanted to. The town had accomplished something that could be seen. This was the beginning of several projects to benefit the people.

The new town had no place to hold their meetings. The school, fire department, and the Women’s Home Demonstration club all offered their facilities. We decided to try meeting in the fire hall, but we had some problem with interruptions. Then we decided to try the club house. We had to set our regular meeting time on 2nd and 4th Mondays at 6 o’clock. This worked out better, but we realized a meeting place of our own was badly needed.

In March of 1990, the property across the road from the school was auctioned off. The town bought about three acres across from the gym to build a town hall on. We paid cash for the land, but didn’t have the money needed to build the building. We saved our money until the spring of 1991 when we though we had enough to pay for the building. After a lot of planning, we decided on the building we wanted. We worked up a bid sheet and took bids, but all the bids were more than our cash. We rejected all bids. We modified our plans for the building a little and took new bids. This time, we thought by taking split bids, we would be able to make it.

In the meantime, we got the National Guard from Fort Payne to bring a dozer and build us a pad. This saved us a considerable amount of money. We took our tractors to dress up and pack down the pad to get it prepared for the concrete slab. Rayford Helms furnished lots of the materials and roughed in the plumbing.

Low bidder for the slab was Dixie Concrete from Piedmont, with a bid of $4,680. Arco Buildings from Atlanta got the bid for the building for $10,378. STF Construction Company from Leitchfield, Kentucky, erected the building for $2,800. The building was delivered on April 26, 1991.

We were anxious to see the building put up, but due to bad weather and other delays, the concrete slab was not poured until May 30, 1991. In the afternoon of June 11, the erecting crew showed up to put the building up. They finished on June 14, 1991. Finally, we had our building.

We held our first meeting in it on June 24, 1991. On July 1st, Fred Rochester started wiring it, and had it ready to be tied on July 6th. The power company would not tie us on because the pipe had been joined. On July 26, 1991, Fred fixed the pipe and had it ready for typing on once more. On Monday, July 29, I notified the power company that it was ready, and on August 7, they turned the power on.

We bought materials to start finishing the inside from the Lumber Mart in Centre on August 27, and started work on the inside September 2, 1991 (Labor Day). At first, work went pretty well through the month of September. But during October, when the weather was pretty and everyone had odd jobs to do at home plus some loafering to get in, work on the town hall went real slow. In November, things started picking up. Jimmy Butler and Jimmy Oliver worked many hours and did most of the wiring. The weather was getting colder, and we were making plans to bring space heaters for our meetings. Then one day, we received our Coop check and could take bids for the heating system. Gossett Sheet Metal in Centre was low bidder with a bid of $3,950. They started work on it on November 7, and the heating system was used for our meeting on November 11, 1991.

We took bids on the sewage disposal system. We had two bids for $900.00 each. We contacted each of the low bidders, one of them said that was his best bid. The other said he would take it for $900 and give us a break on our water lines by installing them for sixty cents per foot. Kenneth Dodd installed the septic tank November 14, 1991. November 18, 1991, the water board installed the water meter. We worked on the south end of the building to complete the office and restroom areas, and got them far enough along so the heat vents could be installed. They came back the first week in December and installed the ones in the offices and large room by the switch box.

Harvel Young was the low bidder on the plumbing installation at $320. He started working on it January 7, 1992, and finished January 10. Jimmy Butler, Irvin Oliver, and Paul Johnson put the paneling up in the restrooms January 9th & 10th. Jimmy Butler finished the ceiling in the kitchen part January 10. We were pleased for the Home Demonstration Club to hold their meeting in the town hall on January 6th, and they plan to meet there for the next several months.

The building is also being used by the Neighborhood Watch Group which was formed in the fall of 1991. Elmer Carver, Paul Johnson, and Irvin Oliver worked on the paneling in the large meeting room, and it was completed January 13, 1992. Frankie Brewster, Jimmy Butler and Paul Johnson put up the framework for the ceiling tile January 15, and Paul Johnson and Jimmy Butler finished installing the tile January 22. Alvis Smith installed the cabinets on the same day. (He also stained and painted our doors for a total cost of $525.00.) On January 23, 1992, Gossett’s came back and finished the installation of the heating system. On February 7, Jimmy Butler put polyurethane on the floors. Except for putting up the trim, our building is essentially complete, and our dream has come true, thanks to Jimmy Butler, Irvin Oliver, and a few others who have faithfully kept after it.

In the meantime, the town purchased a plot of land that was adjoining it from Jimbo Mackey to build some ballfields on. He sold it to the town at cost, which was nice of him to do so. This was a great help to the town and fit with our plans. On Friday, March 20, 1992, the Fort Payne national guard sent a road grader to work on the park. Saturday, the Cherokee County Commission sent a dozer to move dirt. These two pieces of equipment moved lots of dirt and roughed in the two ball fields. The grader also graded up the walking trail. March 28, 1992, the Commission sent the grader back to finish the ball fields. Jimmy Butler stayed with the workers and aided them.

In early May, we had the walks around the building made. Brian Gilley did the finishing for $300, and we used $687.50 worth of concrete from Kerr’s Concrete. Evelyn Johnson planted some flowers around the walks.

A contract was let to Dixie Fencing to build a backstop, dugouts, and some fencing. Work started July 9, 1992. In October, the outfield fences and perimeter fence on the north side were built by Dixie Fence Company at a cost of $2,700.

On December 1, 1992, Open House was held honoring our outgoing council members, Elmer "Babe" Carver and Harold Pearson, and welcoming new members Kenny Beck and Martha Battles (the first lady to serve on the council). There were 100 people in attendance; wives of the council served refreshments.

In February, 1993, it was decided to do additional work on fencing the other ballfield. Dixie Fence of Attalla started it on February 15th and had to wait for the dugouts to be poured before they could finish. Claude Hooper, Jimmy Butler, Kenny Beck, Steve Lumsden, Terry Teat, Jim Ford, and Jimmy Oliver, plus a few others, poured the dugouts and installed water and power to both fields the last week in February.

In February, the council decided to landscape the town hall. Martha Battles, Ann St.Clair and Jimmy Butler paid $25.00 each for a plan to be drawn up. The shrubbery was bought at Monroe Nursery at Crossville, and planted about the middle of February by Kenny Beck, Evelyn Johnson, June and Jimmy Butler.

On March 19, 1993, at 4:00 o’clock, there was a ceremony dedicating the ball field. The council had passed a resolution on March 15th to name the park Paul Johnson Field. On March 25th, the first ball ge ever was played on the field. It was a softball game with Sand Rock High School girls playing Gaylesville. Paul Johnson had the honor of pitching out the first ball. Sand Rock won the game 13-0.

Dixie Fencing finished the fencing on the second field on March 19, 1993, at a cost of $5,100, and had it ready for practice.

About the middle of November 1993, Irvin Oliver and Jimmy Butler started work on the walking track. With the help of several others and their tractors, they graded it up and put crushed stone on it. The cost was $2,000. Jimbo Mackey, with his front-end loader, was a great help, along with Bill Lumsden, Babe Carver, Kermit Butler, Boots Richey and some others.

On May 24, 1994, Watts Construction Company from Gadsden paved the parking lot. The cost was $3,256.24. We had been waiting since last fall to get this job done. Guard rails around the parking lot were erected by Jimmy Butler, Irvin Oliver, and Jimbo Mackey in December 1994. Two sets of bleachers were bouth for the ballfields at a cost of about $1,700 in December 1994.

Jimmy Butler coordinated a project with the Board of Education, County Commission, and Town of Sand Rock to put up school zone flashing lights for the school. This project was completed on February 15, 1995, at a cost of $5,650, with the Town, Board of Education and County Commission each sharing one-third of the cost.

The Town had an addition of two restrooms and a storage room built onto the back of the Town Hall at a cost of $9,300. Raymond Brown completed this project February 11, 1995. On February 25th, Irvin Oliver and Raiford Helms set the fixtures and installed the plumbing in the new restrooms.

In October 1995, a contract to build the pavilion was let to Billy Foster at a cost of $6300. He finished the construction on November 21st.

In March 1996, Coca Cola Bottling Company put in a new scoreboard on each of the ball fields at no cost to the town, but we are to sell only Coke products if they make what we sell.

On May 16, 1996, lights were turned on for one of the ball fields. Temple Electric Company from Gadsden did the construction for $20,800.

Students from Sand Rock in Ricky Mackey’s welding class built a barbecue grill for the town for the cost of the materials – approximately $185. Mr. Leon Gipson’s Vo-Ag class at Sand Rock School built 4 picnic tables for the town at cost of the materials, $304. These projects were completed by May 15, 1996.

We have had numerous individuals to donate work and materials to our program. I want to recognize the following: (hope I don’t leave anyone out)

  • Fred Rochester
  • Raiford Helms
  • Fort Payne National Guard
  • Randy Smith
  • Claude Hooper
  • Jimmy Oliver
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Irvin Oliver
  • Boots Richey   
  • Bill Lumsden
  • Jack Hood    
  • Harold Pearson
  • Babe Carver
  • Terry Teat
  • Bobby Oliver
  • Frankie Brewster
  • 1st Town Council:
    • Harold Pearson
    • Nelson St.Clair/Babe Carver
    • Jimmy Butler
    • Frankie Brewster/Irvin Oliver
    • Jack Hood
  • 1st Town Clerk – Ann St.Clair
  • Legal Service:
    • Dean Buttram
    • Frances Stimpson
  • The Sand Rock Home Demonstration Club
 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A very special THANKS to Mr. Paul Johnson for providing this written record of Sand Rock history.  An even bigger THANKS to Mr. Paul for his untiring service, many hours of sacrifice, and dedication to the Town of Sand Rock.