The first one room school dates back to 1889. For years the Church of Christ, Baptists and Southern Methodists held a union Sunday School in the building owned by the Church of Christ. It was established the same year.
The town grew from 165 in 1900 to 1100 in 1910. Hotels housed weary peddlers. John Dodd built the first brick building and it became Feldman’s Department Store in 1914. Dr. Joe Teal bought it ten years ago and restored it. The railroad provided jobs and doctors, dentists, horse traders, blacksmiths and druggists came and even the 5 & 10 in 1929. The present day Dixie Theater opened in 1948. Supermarkets, Cafés and the Drive-In were part of the 50’s. A radio station, newspaper and television followed. Main Street filled up and was the center of activity especially on the weekend when everyone “went to town.”
It was the manufacture and sales of mobile homes that really put Haleyville on the map. Beginning in the late 1960s Don Tidwell operated Tidwell Industries. Haleyville was home to a large textile plant and other support industries.
The late 1980s were hard for Haleyville. Plants closed, jobs were lost and the elementary school burned. But the same independent spirit that kept the Indians here, that brought the Haleys here; the same unity exhibited in union Sunday School among churches in the 1800s, resulted in our beautiful $5 million facility across from the High School. Even though our population has decreased in the last 30 years, that same independent, fiery spirit is producing some of the brightest, most-talented students, who are becoming lawyers, doctors, teachers, and dentists. Celebrities like Pat Buttram, Polly Holiday, Lonzo and Oscar, the Speer Family, and Lili Zannuck, to name a few, have exhibited this same Haleyville spirit in their work recognized by the nation.
Our dream is that our Haleyville talent will be able to reside in these quiet hills of North Alabama with good jobs, raising good families with good values. We have always been independent, but we can work together and get the job done. Our history has taught us that “in tough times, the tough get going”; we are from the Free State of Winston and we’re ready!
Source: Vicky Dean – Haleyville Historical Society Member