Jun 22, 2011

Alabama: (A 925)


Scenes from the View-Master packet Alabama (A 925 ) from the State Tour Series.


  1. Huntsville Civic Center
  2. Ave Maria Grotto
  3. Birmingham
  4. Bellingrath Gardens



Packet Cover


Booklet Cover


From the 16-page booklet:


Alabama’s Black Belt (named for its rich soil) lies less than 200 miles from the Marshall Space Flight Center.  In that distance, time leaps from the period of plantations and slaves to the era of moon exploration.  Between these extremes lies most of Alabama’s history.

From 1719, when the first shipload of slaves arrived, Alabama’s future lay with plantations and farming.  The first crops, during French rule, were indigo and rice.  England replaced France as the area’s leading power.  Cotton became an important crop, and with the development of the cotton gin, the main crop.  It still is.

Alabama became a state in 1819.  After the Civil War, it suffered far more from Reconstruction than from the war itself.  When orderly rule was reestablished in 1876, the state and many of its cities were bankrupt.

Iron furnaces began production around the turn of the twentieth century, heralding a shift from total reliance on King Cotton.  The abundance of natural resources drew heavy industry to the Birmingham area.  When Tennessee Valley Authority was created in 1935, Alabama got a boost from the cheap power and fertilizer produced.  Now, with the Space Age being dreamed into reality at Huntsville, Alabama has moved ahead of some of its more “modern” neighbors in twentieth century technology.

A FEW FACTS AND FIGURES.  Cotton is the main crop—almost one million bales per year.  But Alabama also produces sugar cane, tobacco, pecans, peanuts, corn and hay.  It ranks fifth among the nation’s iron-producing states.  More than twenty-seven billion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy are generated each year.

GEOGRAPHICALLY SPEAKING.  Alabama, 29th in size among the states, lies in the Old South’s cotton country.  The Black Belt spans the state’s center.  To the northeast are the Appalachian Mountains and the state’s highest point, 2,407-foot-high Cheaha Mountain.  South of the Belt lies the broad, coastal, alluvial plain.

THE HUMAN SIDE.  Among the states, Alabama ranks 19th in population with 3,266,000 people.  slightly more than one-half are white; the balance are Negro.  In some Black Belt counties, they outnumber whites by four-to-one.


02  Huntsville Civic Center


Gleaming Civic Center in Huntsville, “Rocket City”

From the 16-page booklet:


From the “Watercress Capital of the World,” with just 17,000 people, to a population of 100,000 and the title, “Rocket City,” is Huntsville’s history of the past 11 years. It is the home of the Army Missile Command, Ordnance Guided Missile School, and Marshall Space Flight Center. To keep abreast of its growth, the city built this civic center, and, during the past nine years, 468 classrooms.


05  Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman


Rome models are part of Ave Maria Grotto at Cullman

From the 16-page booklet:


St. Peter’s Basilica fills the foreground. Above it are the Colosseum, a portion of the Catacombs, the Aqueduct and the Pantheon. The scene is not Rome, but the grounds of St. Bernard College near Cullman. Here, before the Ave Maria Grotto, rise famous buildings from around the world—all in miniature—the creation of brother Joseph Zoettle, O.S.B., “Brother Joe.” Until his death in 1961, Brother Joe built 125 miniatures and arranged them in three general groupings: the Roman, seen in the picture; the Western, that includes California’s missions and the Alamo; the Holy Land, with its well-known churches. Three “extras” are included: Hiroshima’s Peace Church, Lourdes Grotto, and the Old Witch’s house, complete with Hansel and Gretel.


07  Birmingham Steel Mill


Modern Birmingham is steel center of South

From the 16-page booklet:


Seen by day, Birmingham appears to be any busy city. At night, however, it glows with the rise and fall of flames from the largest steel furnaces south of Pittsburgh. Birmingham was founded because of the nearby deposits of coal, limestone, and iron ore. During the Civil War, Confederates hauled ore to furnaces in adjacent towns for the manufacture of small arms. Union forces later destroyed these furnaces. After the war, the juncture of two railroads determined Birmingham’s location. Named in honor of the English steel town of the same name, Birmingham grew steadily, and today is Alabama’s largest city (pop. 340,887). More than 900 industries are based near its twenty steel furnaces.

On nearby Red Mountain is the largest iron statue ever made—55-foot-tall, 60 ton, Vulcan, Roman god of fire and metalworking. It was cast in Italy from pig iron taken in the Birmingham area. Its torch, normally green, burns red after a local traffic fatality.


19  Bellingrath Gardens


Bellingrath Gardens were once a fishing camp

From the 16-page booklet:


Few people would dispute Bellingrath Gardens’ claim to being the “Charm Spot of the Deep South.” About 20 miles south of Mobile on the Isle-aux-Oies River, these 60-acre gardens were the residence of the late Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. Originally a primitive fishing camp at which Mr. Bellingrath escaped the rigors of business, the gardens were developed over the years. More than 250,000 azaleas, 2000 camellias—some 100 years old and 20 feet high—500-year-old oaks, and thousands of other trees, shrubs, plants and vines make each turn along the shaded paths a thrilling experience. Now, in addition to the gardens, the Bellingrath home with its magnificent collection of antique silver, china, and furniture is open to the thousands of annual visitors.

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