History of Center Point

 

1700’s
Native Americans occupied the Springs property.

1816
The Reed family arrived in the area from North Carolina. Five years later they obtained a Land Grant on their Center Point property in Tuscaloosa. Other settlers began to drift into the area. There was little water.

1871
Dave Franklin dug a well and built a log cabin in the area. He later built a rock store.

1900’s
The area was given the name Center Point. The children received their education in a one room school house. Center Point boasted of a blacksmith shop, a grocery store and a Post Office. Andy Beard of Center Point invented the coupling mechanism for railroad cars and sold it for $10,000.

1914
Mrs. Rob Franklin started the Baptist church.

1924
Center Point Elementary School was constructed with fieldstone rock gathered from all over Center Point.

1940
Mrs. Leon Moore started the Methodist Church in her home.

1957
Cullen Scott discovered enough water to supply Center Point. A large tank was erected.

1960’s-1990’s
Center Point became the largest unincorporated area in the United States with a population of 64,000 and plenty of thriving businesses.

2002
Center Point citizens voted to become a city on March 12, 2002 with 84% of the vote. Official Incorporation date was March 28, 2002. The first Council and Mayor Tom Henderson were elected on April 23, 2002.

Historical Committee
Betty Henderson (Chairperson)
Shirley and Joe Sawyer
Roger Hart
Bob Pearson

The City of Center Point Historical Committee researches historic homes in the Center Point Area in the archives at the Birmingham library

Through their research, the members decide which Center Point homes are eligible for historical plaques.

The committee has presented five historical plaques to homes and will present one more in the month of March, 2005 and are working on two more homes at the present time.

Speeches are made by Chairperson Betty Henderson on the history of Center Point and other topics.

In addition to identifying historical sites and homes, the City of Center Point Historical Committee is also planning a pictorial display in a special section of the Center Point, Alabama City Hall.

CENTER POINT CITY COUNCIL NAMES SPRING

 PROPERTY AND NEW SENIOR CENTER

 The Center Point City Council named the Center Point Springs Park property and the Senior Center at the November 2nd City Council meeting.  Events are already taking place for the City and the Senior Center is soon to have bids sent out to start work on the Center.

 The name REED-HARVEY PARK was chosen for the name of the park, due to the length the two families lived on the property and the history involved.  CENTER POINT SENIOR CENTER was chosen for the senior citizens center.  A sign will be erected for both names saying “Future Reed-Harvey Park” and “Future Center Point Senior Center”.  City events are already being held on the park property.

 The Indians first camped on the site during the early eighteen hundreds.  The Reed family traveled to the area from North Carolina in 1816.  At that time the area was strictly wilderness.  They had the opportunity to settle on the prime pieces of property.  There was no water, except for approximately seventeen springs in the area.  A few wells were drilled.  The family chose property with many lakes and ponds.  The Reed property was then part of a much larger plantation.  The property was later broken up into smaller sections and sold off or occupied by different Reed family members.

 The Reeds brought with them fine horses and as much of their belongings that would fit into their wagons.  “Silver Billie” Dollar was said to have brought with him a barrel of silver dollars to purchase his property.

 Many members of the Reed family lived on the spring property through the years.  Polly Reed, who traveled the area in her horse and buggy to sell eggs, pies, cakes, and vegetables, occupied the land.  Her horse was named Dolly.  Polly was so well thought of that the name Polly Reed Road was given to the road one takes to reach the park.

 The few residents in the area had to drive their horse-drawn wagons to the spring property in their wagons to fill their barrels with water.  Their spring furnished most of the water for the area until 1947 when Cullen Scott discovered water.  George Franklin also had a manmade device that he hauled around the area and sold the water.  Center Point finally secured a water tank located on the corner of 22nd Avenue North West where Foster Wrecker Service is now located.

 A Reed family cemetery exists on Old Springville Road where the Reed family members are buried.  Many of the Reed family members still live in the area.

 Mr. and Mrs. Richard Harvey (Catherine) purchased the property and moved from East Lake in 1946 to make a new home for themselves on the three acres of land.  Their daughter, Maude, was a little girl at the time.

 During the early years the land was mostly used for agricultural use.  The family made use of every inch of the property.  Arlie Barber who had once owned the property had built a greenhouse on the property.  He never lived on the property, but made use of the greenhouse for the seeds for his Barber Seed Co. business in Birmingham.  He also hired someone to put the rock around the spring and had a top put on it.  He rented the house and the bungalows to residents.

 The greenhouse became a worm farm for the Harvey’s.  The family also had show rabbits.  They raised their own food and owned hogs and chickens for meat.  Maude (Harvey) Murphree and Barbara Wheeler opened Harvey’s Florist using the bungalow that existed on the property.  Miss Maude ran the florist until she was 86 year old.

 Maude and Barbara purchased the property from Maude’s parents in 1967.  The two had many offers to buy the three acres of land many times through the years.  Maude refused to sell.  She never trusted what would happen to the land.  Her dream consisted of the land the family had cared for so many years be kept as it existed.  She didn’t want anything destroyed on the property.  She wanted the roof and the springs repaired.  She definitely did not want apartments, townhouses, or garden homes built on the property.  Maude said, “I wanted the beauty of the land, the beautiful trees and landscaping and everything else preserved”.

 After the Center Point Action Committee was formed and the City incorporated, Miss Maude came to know Wink Chapman, the Mayor and Council, and everyone else involved with the City.  As interest began to grow by the group to buy the property and make it into a park, Maude began to trust the instincts of the City leaders.  The property was purchased from Maude and Barbara on March 24, 2004 and the City leaders confirmed the property would become a City park.

 The Emmett Harrison family behind the property moved to a retirement home.  Their home and property included a pond, a bridge and waterwheel, a barn, a pony shed, another spring, a large home and swimming pool that was purchased on September 28, 2005 as part of the park property.

 The property to the right of the former Harvey’s Florist building was also purchased September 28, 2005.  The lake to the right of that property, owned by Bobby Hornsby, was donated to the City.

 The Reed-Harvey Park now consists of ten acres of land.  Charles Sowell has presented a new drawing of what the finished park will look like.

 The architect and the engineer overseeing the Center Point Senior Center are completing the final information for the bids.  They will be sending that to the Jefferson County Development office soon in order to get out the bids for the Center.

 Much of this history comes from my memories of past interviews with the Harveys and Reeds.  They also came from the first two articles I wrote on them five years ago for the first two issues of the newspaper.  Facts and dates other than that come from Center Point City Hall.

A Step Back in Time

Polly Reed

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