Sunday, April 12, 2009
Click Here For Talladega Web Site
Talladega (locally, pronounced /ˌtæləˈdɪgə/) is a city in Talladega County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 15,143. The city is the county seat of Talladega County. Talladega is approximately 50 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama.
Burt House, State Road 21, Talladega vicinity, Talladega County, AL
The city is home to the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The Talladega Municipal Airport, a public general aviation airport, is also located within the city limits.
Group of doffers working in Cotton Factory posed by the superintendent of the factory. November 1910. Photographed by Lewis Hine.
Located in the northeast central part of Alabama, approximately 50 miles east of Birmingham, the city of Talladega was incorporated in 1835, just two years after the creation of Talladega County. The Creek village Talatigi was located near the site before white settlement. As settlers began to move into the area, the name gradually evolved into "Talladega." The city had a population of 15,143 as of the
2000 Census and has always been the county seat of Talladega County. It is home to one of the nation's most comprehensive educational programs for the deaf and blind, to Alabama's oldest private historically black liberal arts college, and to the Talladega Superspeedway. The city has a mayor-council form of government, with a five-member elected city council.
Historic Ritz Theatre in Talladega
General Andrew Jackson's victories over the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Talladega and the subsequent Battle of Horseshoe Bend opened eastern and central Alabama to white settlement. The area officially remained Creek territory until the signing of the Treaty of Cusetta in 1832. In January 1834, lands were advertised for sale at a new government land office opened at Mardisville, just south of present-day Talladega. The Treaty of Cusetta specifically granted a half section of land to an African American man, Joseph Bruner, in recognition for his services as an interpreter. Bruner soon sold this tract to a local man, Jesse Duran. In July 1834, Duran donated the tract for a town site, with the proviso that he and his partner would receive a portion of the monies from the public sales. Six months later on January 9, 1835, the Alabama Legislature incorporated the town of Talladega.
Talladega County Courthouse
Shortly after incorporation, Talladega began to grow with the construction of log houses, taverns, trading posts, hotels, and churches. As a result, the town was chosen by just one vote as the site for the county courthouse, making Talladega the county seat. In February 1836, a special tax was imposed on activities related to gambling, such as racetracks, racehorses, billiard tables, and card playing, to finance construction of the courthouse, which was completed in 1838. Although later damage by a tornado and a fire, it is the oldest courthouse in continuous use in Alabama.
Mardis House, U.S. Highway 231, Talladega vicinity, Talladega County, AL
When the courthouse was completed, Talladega began attracting lawyers, merchants, doctors, teachers, and preachers as new citizens. It also became home, in 1858, to the first school for the blind in the state, now the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Most of the area's inhabitants were involved in farming, with 39 percent of the county's population consisting of slaves. Despite the number of plantations with slaves in the surrounding area, Talladegans were about evenly divided on the issue of secession from the Union. Nevertheless, when the Civil War began, the divergent groups came together to form a company of troops referred to as the Talladega (or Alabama) Rifles. Talladega further supported the war effort by providing uniforms, a nitre works, a hospital for the wounded, and a prison for federal soldiers.
In July 1864, Talladega was invaded by Union forces under the command of General Lovell H. Rousseau, whose mission in Alabama was to destroy the Western Railroad that was supplying Confederate troops to Atlanta. His forces burned the railroad depot in Talladega and inflicted considerable damage on Confederate stores within the area. Talladega was hit again two weeks after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox, when General Croxton led the last of Wilson's Raiders into Talladega, burning buildings and pillaging stores. A local judge saved the town from total destruction by approaching General Craxton with a Masonic sign and pleading mercy for the remainder of the community.
Talladega's economy was in ruins following the Civil War, and many of its citizens moved on, mostly to the expanding frontier of the West. Those who stayed survived by operating small farms. The economy was gradually stimulated by the development of iron foundries (such as Clifton Iron Company, owned by Horace Ware and Samuel Noble), marble quarries, and textile mills. By 1885, although the economy had vastly improved, Talladega still had the reputation of a lawless community. Outsiders terrified local citizens by storming into town on horseback with their pistols ablaze. Mayor William H. Skaggs, who took office in 1885, quickly brought this situation under control by installing a new police force and establishing law and order. During Skaggs's reign as mayor, he also stimulated the local economy by improving the streets, building a water-works system, opening a prison, and establishing a public school system.
King Plantation, Frank Street, Talladega, Talladega County, AL
During the first half of the twentieth century, Talladega continued its economic growth by building more textile mills, foundries, and other plants. The founding of the Bemis Bag Company, which manufactured cotton sacks, resulted in the development of an entire new community called Bemiston. World War II saw the rapid creation of wartime plants, particularly in the Brecon area on the outskirts of the city. These industries helped to increase population, which in turn, increased the number of schools and churches in the community and created new opportunities for recreation and entertainment. In 1968, construction began on the Talladege Superspeedway just a few miles out of town just off of Interstate 20. Today, the facility seats more than 140,000 NASCAR fans and is home to two of NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series races each year (the Aaron's 499 and the Amp Energy 500).
In the latter part of the twentieth century, Talladega experienced much social, political, and economic change. The most profound social and political changes involved the empowerment of Talladega's African American population. Economically, the most dramatic change involved the shift from locally owned businesses to shopping centers and chain stores. However, the town continues to succeed because of new industries, such as Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and the continued draw of local institutions such as the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and Talladega College. Today, the major industries are Honda, the Talladega County Board of Education, Nemak Aluminum Components, the Coosa Valley Medical Center, New South Express, and Bowater Newsprint Coosa Pines.
Morriss-Holmes House, State Route 76, Winterboro, Talladega County, AL
Talladega's population was 17,131 according to 2006 Census Bureau estimates. Of that number, 56.2 percent were Caucasian, 42.3 percent were African American, 0.9 percent Hispanic, 0.3 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent Native American. The city's median household income in 2004 was $29,617, below the state's median income of $37,062. Its per capita income in 2000 was $15,733 as compared to $18,189 for the state in 1999.
Manning Hall, AIDB
The majority of the Talladega work force in 2000 was employed in three occupation groups: educational, health, and social services (26.3 percent), manufacturing (24.8 percent), and retail trade (11.0 percent). Leading employers in the Talladega area include Honda of Alabama, Talladega County Board of Education, Nemak Aluminum Components, Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB), Coosa Valley Medical Center, New South Express, Talladega City Board of Education, and the Federal Correctional Institution.
The Talladega City School System serves approximately 3,000 students in nine schools. Post-secondary opportunities are also available in Talladega at Talladega College, Alabama’s oldest private historically black liberal arts college. The college was founded through the efforts of two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, both of Talladega. The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), established in 1858, is also headquartered in Talladega.
State Highway 77, a modern four-lane highway, connects the city of Talladega with Interstate I-20, giving it easy access to the Birmingham and Atlanta airports. Talladega Municipal Airport has a 6,000-foot runway that accommodates private jets and other medium-sized aircraft. It averages more than 100 flights per day.
Attractions and Recreation
Talladega's town square epitomizes the ideal of small-town America. Its Ritz Theatre, located on the square, is considered one of the best surviving examples of the Art Deco theatres of the 1930s. Today, this theater hosts such events as actor Hal Holbrook's one-man show, "Mark Twain Tonight." The city's "April in Talladega" pilgrimage attracts visitors to tour antebellum and turn-of-the-century homes in Talladega's Silk Stocking District. The Jemison Carnegie Heritage Hall Museum exhibits works by nationally and locally recognized artists. Nearby attractions include the Talladega National Forest; Cheaha State Park, a retreat at the highest point in Alabama; DeSoto Caverns Park, with more than 20 attractions; Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR's fastest motorsports facility; and the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame.
Welcome to Historic Talladega
The "April in Talladega" Pilgrimage annually welcomes visitors to its many antebellum and turn-of-of the century homes. Talladega has four districts on the National Register of Historic Places: the Historic Talladega Square which contains many fine examples of late 19th century architecture, the "silk Stocking District" which reflects the changing architectural styles from 1833 to the early 1900s, the North Street Historical District which is a residential area, and the beautiful Talladega College, founded in 1867.
1. Chamber of Commerce
201 East Street South
The Talladega Chamber of Commerce building was originally the Louisville & Nashville (L & N) Railroad Station. The caboose in the parking lot is a reminder of a time when as many as 26 passenger trains came through Talladega each day.
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
2. Jemison-Carnegie Heritage Hall
200 South Street, East
The Louisa Jemison-Andrew Carnegie Building was built for a library in 1908. It is on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage as well as the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of seven remaining Carnegie Libraries in the state of Alabama.
The art exhibit at Heritage Hall is the sixty-eighth National Exhibition of the Watercolor Society of Alabama; juror for selection and awards: E. Gordon West, AWS.
The Watercolor Society of Alabama promotes and fosters work in watercolor. Its goal is to advance the art of watercolor painting and to contribute to the enrichment of the cultural environment of the citizens of the state of Alabama. Held annually, the national competition and exhibition brings to the public the best in watercolor painting.
Admission included in tour ticket. Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
3. Sundown at Oak Hill Cemetery
Spring Street, S.
Worth a daylight visit any time of the year, Oak Hill Cemetery is especially appealing during this sundown walk. Talladega’s colorful history comes alive as visitors meet the ghosts of Talladega’s past Admission ticket in advance is $5.00 or may be purchased on site.
Friday, April 17, 2009, only
Tours start at 5:00 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
4. Silk Stocking Celebration
303 East Street, S
Come join the fun as we welcome the "new" house at the corner of East Street South and Coffee Street. It recently moved a few blocks down Coffee Street to its new location and Stan and Lori Mitchell have completely renovated it. Heavy hors o’doeuvres and a spirited beverage will be available to make for a wonderful lite meal before attending the performance at the Ritz.
So, make your plans to come get a glimpse, from the outside, of the charming bungalow. A donation of $5.00 per person with proceeds going to the Pilgrimage Council for restoration and preservation projects will be accepted.
Friday, April 17, only: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m
5. Luncheon at Brignoli Manor
102 Brignoli Street
The McMillan house was built in the 1870's by James B. McMillan, President of Talladega Cotton Factory at that time, at the corner of East and Brignoli Streets. In 1986, Clyde O. Watts bought the house and restored it to it's period and located his business in it for many years.
Mike and Tina Alexander recently acquired the house and have turned it into a lovely showplace for fine catered events and weddings.
An elegant luncheon will be served on Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Tickets are $15.00
6.Tea at the Gables
401 Court Street, S
The Gables, built in 1875, was acquired by the Arthur Bingham family in 1879. In 1966, work was begun by the Landmarks Foundation of Talladega to restore the quaint Gothic Revival house for the benefit of the community.
Thus far, three rooms, an enclosed porch and a catering kitchen have been renovated and professionally decorated.
The house is available to rent for hosting community gatherings as well as small get-togethers.
For this special weekend one can enjoy Tea at the Gables. High Tea will be served both days.
Friday and Saturday at 9:30 a.m. or 3:00 p.m.
Tickets are $12.50.
7. Historic Ritz Theatre
Courthouse Square Historic District
Marty Robbins was one of Country music's most beloved and versatile performers. A Country Music Hall of Fame member, Robbins' silky vocals and heartwarming charm earned him dozens of hit songs and millions of fans around the world. Now, Jason Petty brings you the story and songs of this genuine Country music icon in MARTY'S EL PASO.
Humorous and always touching - you will realize what a gift of music and talent Marty Robbins gave us all.
April in Talladega is proud to include the world premiere of MARTY'S EL PASO as a special theatrical event to top off each day's Pilgrimage festivities at Talladega’s national Art Deco landmark theatre. For Ticket Information call 256-315-0000 or visit www.talladegaritz.com (when tickets become available)
Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.
8. Coffee and Dessert at Magnolias
207 North Street, E
Mike and Martha (Miller) Boydston invite you to join them at Magnolias of Talladega. This charming two-story brick home, formerly known as Bishop Flats, dates back to 1901, and has served many purposes for the citizens of Talladega. It is known to be the first four-plex apartment in the state.
Don’t miss the Bread pudding or Cheesecake for the special Coffee and Dessert after the Ritz performances Friday and Saturday!
Friday and Saturday after the performances at the Ritz
Tickets are $5.00 on site.
9. Talladega County Courthouse
Construction completed in 1838, the original courthouse was a three-story structure. Although it sustained no damage during the Civil War, the following years found the building repaired and rebuilt many times due to the ravages of storms and fire.
In the 1970s, the courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and completely renovated and restored to its splendid condition of today. The Alabama Historical Commission states that it is the oldest courthouse in continuous use in the state.
Come join the proceedings in the trial of "This Land Is My Land; This Land Is Your Land." The students from the AP English Classes at Talladega High School, and under the direction of Ms. Barbara Lawler, have written and will perform a play that centers on a landline dispute from the late 1800s.
Court convenes at 2:00 p.m. Saturday Tickets are $5.00
10. Fannin House
301 Court Street, S
The Victorian era of architectural style dates from as early as 1825 and extends to about 1900. Industrialization brought many architectural innovations in home designs.
This house, located on South Court Street, is a fine example of those innovations.
It has the typical angled bay window, columned porches, corniced eaves, and elaborate gingerbread trim, just to name a few of the many fine features the original builder, Dr.. R.A. Mosley, Sr., incorporated. Purchasing the house in 1965, Hank and Hilda Fannin have restored it, in part, to its original condition and make it their home.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.
11. Harrison - Burton - Miller House
306 South Street, E
Built in 1898 by Dr Groce Harrison, this house served as the residence for Louisa A. Jemison during the construction of the Jemison House across the street. It was then passed to her heirs until the Miller family, who restored the house, purchased it from Mrs. Frances B. Cole in the fall of 1996.
The Allen Miller family lived in the house for several years after they restored it. Currently, Mary Jane Miller, sister to Allen, is now the new owner and is continuing to restore the house and grounds.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
12. Townsend Warehouse
204 West Coosa Street
The Townsend Warehouse, now a mulit-functional, totally handicap accessible banquet facility, housed the Alabama Bottling Company at the turn of the 20th century.
The building's large foyer features beautiful exposed old brick on it's interior and exterior walls. There is a "French Quarter" style enclosed courtyard to the rear of the warehouse that incorporates three remaining walls of an old livery stable. www.townsendwarehouse.com
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
13. Haynes Farm
2715 Eastaboga Road,
County Rd 005
Built in the early 1840's By Samuel Jemison, the farmhouse remains structurally the same today. A breezeway has been added to connect the business wing to the principle structure. Heart pine floors and fine brickwork in the chimney are just two of the many interesting features found here.
The current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Tony Haynes, have restored the house to modern living. Inside, the house can be described as being extremely light and airy; outside, the idyllic panorama is magnificent.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
14. President's Home
703 Battle Street W
This Italian two-story brick structure was built in 1881 by William Savery. It is a ten- room structure with a flat-shed and also has a rough stone exterior with hip gable roofing. It has a single story porch that spans the central and east bays of the main façade that is articulated by tri-clustered columns.
The interior, with walls of plaster and wood panel, has heart pine floors and an impressive staircase. The gorgeous mantle extends half the south wall in the drawing room. Palatial windows surround the entire house.
The first president to occupy the home was Dr. Henry Swift DeForest who served the college from November 1879 until his death in January 1896. His son, Lee DeFeorst, who is known as the "Father of Radio," grew up on the campus of Talladega College.
Currently occupying the home is Talladega College's 20th President, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins.
Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
15. Savery Library
627 Battle Street W
This beautiful building, named for William Savery, an enslaved carpenter, was completed in 1939, the 100th year of the Amistad incident. It is built in the colonial revival style of New England, and has a 40-foot chime tower, which allows for the beautiful chime to be heard hourly throughout the city, a 120-foot Reference Room on the first floor, and three large rooms on the second floor which serve various purposes. The first floor interior features a wood paneled entrance and lobby that features the Amistad Murals. Additionally, the College seal that bears the charter title and legend is painted on the wall above the circulation desk. Embedded in the terrazzo floor of the lobby is a picture of the Amistad ship.
Famed Harlem Renaissance artist Hale Woodruff painted the world-renowned Amistad Murals. He commuted twice weekly to teach art classes at Talladega College. While teaching here, Woodruff was commissioned by Talladega College President Dr. Buell Gordon Gallagher who served from 1934-1943, to paint the murals.
Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
16. Watts - McCrickard House
402 North Street, E
This stately antebellum home situated on a knoll above North Street was built between 1850 and 1860. In 1950, Hesper Haynes bought the house for $10,000.00 from Mr. Bazemore, who owned a lumberyard behind his home. The current owners, Harley McCrickard and Clyde Watts, Sr., are carefully restoring the home and adding interesting new features, such as the columns in the front.
The front door of the house with its beautiful stained glass, was bought in Florida 30 years ago. Throughout the house one cannot help noticing the original heart pine, wide plank floors. Both the living room and the master bedroom downstairs have fireplaces; the one in the bedroom is made of granite. The cabinets in the kitchen are also made of granite. In the dining room are Chinese Chippendale cabinets holding Mr. Watts paperweight collection. 402 North Street, E
Visitors will notice the exquisite taste of its owners and enjoy the ambiance of an earlier time in Talladega. 402 North Street, E
Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
17. Northern - Brown - Suggs House
410 South Street E
Constructed in 1907, in American Basic Greek revival motif by Dr. W.I.Northern, a local dentist, the house was the first one built in this block. The projecting left portion of the house supports a gable having a half moon vent for the attic. The gabled roof is extended to protect the windows from blowing rain. Square columns with Doric capitals highlight the entrance, the sunroom, and the large porch.
The house has intricately detailed mantle pieces in the living areas with beautiful iron screens on some of the fireplaces. The wood floors are a combination of red oak, white oak, and pine. Other unique features are built-in window benches, a beautiful stained glass window, thick oak pocket doors, triple-crown molding, built-in cabinetry, and bookshelves in the parlor and the dining room.
Restoration to the house was completed in 2007. The house is presently owned by Cheryl Suggs.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
18. Trinity United Methodist Church
40 East Street N
Organized in 1914, Trinity United Methodist Church is one of Talladega’s friendliest congregations. The Gothic architecture enhances the aesthetics of the beautiful stained glass windows where the congregation worships.
In 1975, a fire in the sanctuary resulted in heavy damage to the pews and other furnishings. Only a small portion at the top one of the stained glass windows was broken. After the fire, the congregation restored the structure and continued to grow.
In the narthex hangs a gift to Trinity United Methodist Church, a beautiful pen and ink drawing of the church building, done by the late Wilmary Hitch Elliott, Talladega artist.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
19. Presbyterian Home for Children Luncheon
Weatherly Hall, 905 Ashland Highway
Saturday lunch: Sponsored by the Presbyterian Home for Children
Proceeds from the lunch tickets will go to the Presbyterian Home for Children, which has been serving children in need, and their families since 1868.
April 18, 2009, Serving from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15.00
April in Talladega 5K Fun Run
Sponsored by Hope Academy
Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 8:30 a.m.
Start/end location: Presbyterian Home for Children campus at the corner of Ashland Highway and Chaffee Street (across from Jemison Park)
Entry fee: $15 in advance ($20 day of run) -- Family Special, $30 (immediate family only) -- includes souvenir t-shirt
More detailed information about the Fun Run and registration form available on the web at www.phfc.org.
Hope Academy is a non-profit, SACS-accredited elementary and secondary school offering small classes and personalized attention. The school is located on the campus of the Presbyterian Home for Children.
20. First Annual Pinto Bean Cook-Off
Saturday, April 18th, Dixon Middle School Campus
Registration begins at 9:15 a.m.
For the first time April in Talladega is sponsoring a Pinto Bean Cook- Off and will include judging in pinto beans, corn bread, and turnip greens. Outdoor grill cooking required. No campfires allowed.
Come join the fun at the First Annual Pinto Bean Cook - Off on the old Dixon Middle School Campus on Elm Street across from Zora Ellis Jr. High School. There will be many activities taking place during the time the beans are cooking. Bring you appetite too!!! There will be plenty of plates of Pinto beans and Turnip greens to eat.
Plate of Pinto Beans/Greens/Cornbread/Onion/Tea Only $5.00 Proceeds go to April in Talladega Pilgrimage Council for restoration and renovation projects.
Request an entry form:
April in Talladega Pinto Bean Cook-Off Contest
P.O. Box 6007
Talladega, AL 35161
Entry fee is $15.00 plus $5 for
each additional category entered
21. Sarah's Girl's Art
302 South Street, E
The late Sarah Whitson taught art for many years in Talladega. Today some of her former students still paint together on a regular basis and refer to themselves as “Sarah’s Girls”. These local artists will have their art on display during the pilgrimage for all to see.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Talladega T-Shirts/Golf Shirts (First time available to the public)
T-shirt emblazoned with dogwood blossoms and "April in Talladega."
Colors: Hunter Green, Navy, Fuchsia - Sizes available M L XL XXL
Golf shirt has April in Talladega stitched on it in a contrasting color, no logo. Limited quantity.
Colors: Hunter Green, Navy - Sizes available M L XL XXL
Will ship. $3.00 Shipping and Handling fee per shirt. Advance Orders by calling 256-362-9375.
Shirts will be sold during April in Talladega as well at various locations.
$18.50 admission per person before March 1, 2009. $20.00 admission if purchased after March 1, 2009. Groups of 15 or more $18.50 per person
$15.00 Luncheon at Brignoli Manor, Friday 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
$15.00 Luncheon at Presbyterian Home, Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
$12.50 Tea at the Gables Friday 9:30 a.m.
$12.50 Tea at the Gables Friday 3:00 p.m.
$12.50 Tea at the Gables Saturday 9:30 a.m.
$12.50 Tea at the Gables Saturday 3:00 p.m.
$5.00 Cemetery Walk Friday 5:00 and 5:15 p.m.
A donation of $5.00 will be accepted on site for Silk Stocking Celebration
$5.00 Coffee and Dessert at Magnolias
Ritz Theatre Performances ticket information call 256-315-000 or visit www.talladegaritz.com (when tickets become available)
All Tickets will be available during April in Talladega
at all locations as well as the information centers.
Mail Ticket Request to:
April in Talladega
c/o Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Drawer A
Talladega, Alabama 35161
Funds raised during the pilgrimage go towards
historic preservation and restoration.
Events and schedules are subject to change.
No Photography Inside Homes
Baldwin Fluker House, Talladega Highway, Sylacauga, Talladega County, AL
Thornhill, State Road 21, Talladega vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Talladega College, Swayne Hall, Talladega, Talladega County, AL
Spence House, State Road 21, Munford, Talladega County, AL
James Isbell House, 108 East North Street, Talladega, Talladega County, AL
Bledsoe-Cook House, State Road 21, Sylacauga vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Sellwood, State Route 76, Sylacauga vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Lawler House, County Road 11, Talladega vicinity, Talladega County, AL
T. L. Plowman House, 511 South East Street, Talladega, Talladega County, AL
Chambers House, 301North East Street, Talladega, Talladega County, AL
Covered Bridge, Spanning Choccolocco Creek , Eastaboga, Talladega County, AL
Mountain Spring, State Road 21, Sylacauga vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Gannts' Quarry, Quarry Road, Sylacauga vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Wewoka, Riser Mill Road, Sylacauga vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Mount Ida, County Road 11, Sylacauga vicinity, Talladega County, AL
Alpine, County Road 46, Alpine, Talladega County, AL
East Alabama Masonic Female Institute, 205 East South Street, Talladega, Talladega County, AL
Jenkins-Carlton-Autry House, County Road 52, Mount Ida vicinity, Crenshaw County, AL
Talladega Superspeedway, located in east central Alabama, is the largest race track in the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) and typically produces the fastest race speeds in the NASCAR circuit. The track is 2.66 miles in length, making it slightly longer than the 2.5 mile tracks at Daytona International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The track currently is home to two of NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series races each year (the Aaron's 499 and the Amp Energy 500), as well as annual races in the lower-level Nationwide Series, Truck Series, and ARCA Series. The grandstand has a seating capacity of 143,231, but actual attendance for the Sprint Cup races usually ranges anywhere from 150,000 to 170,000 because fans also are allowed to watch from the track's infield.
NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. helped create the track in the late 1960s. At the time, most major NASCAR facilities were located along the Atlantic Coast. France wanted a track that was more
Talladega Superspeedway centrally located within the Southeast. He chose a 2,000-acre site just off Interstate 20, approximately 40 miles east of Birmingham near the town of Talladega, on an abandoned airfield. France envisioned a track that was longer, wider, and had greater banking in the turns than Daytona International Speedway, which had been designed to be the fastest track in NASCAR. The banking in the turns at Talladega is 33 degrees, compared with 31 degrees at Daytona. The backstretch straightaway is 4,000 feet long. The 4,300-foot, curving frontstretch creates a slight fifth turn in front of the main grandstand, which is why the track is called a trioval.
Track construction began on May 23, 1968. The facility opened the following year as the Alabama International Motor Speedway. The track would adopt the name Talladega Superspeedway in 1989. The track's first race, the Bama 400, was held on September 13, 1969, in NASCAR's second-tier Grand Touring circuit, with Ken Rush winning the event. The first Grand National race, called the Talladega 500, was held the next day. Richard Brickhouse won, taking the checkered flag seven seconds ahead of runner-up Jim Vandiver.
The inaugural race almost did not happen at all because many of NASCAR's top drivers did not participate. Observing that cars were reaching nearly 200 miles per hour in practice and qualifying, drivers were concerned that the tires would not be able to handle such speed for an entire 500-mile race. These concerns prompted the Professional Drivers Association, led by Richard Petty, to call for a boycott of the race. Rather than cancel the race at the last minute, France decided to proceed with the drivers who did not participate in the boycott. The full 500 miles were completed without a major incident in front of a crowd estimated at 62,000.
The track quickly became accepted by drivers and fans alike. Two NASCAR race weekends were scheduled in 1970, and the track has since held twice-a-year visits by NASCAR. The first Talladega race of 1970, the Alabama 500, also was the first stock-car race nationally televised live under a new agreement between NASCAR and the America Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). In 1971, that same race was sponsored by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and was renamed the Winston 500. The sponsorship enabled Talladega to offer a total of $100,000 in prize money, which at the time was the largest in NASCAR's 23-year history. In addition, NASCAR's premier series became known as Winston Cup racing. Brothers Donnie and Bobby Allison, natives of the Birmingham suburb of Hueytown and part of what became known as NASCAR's "Alabama Gang," finished first and second in the inaugural Winston 500. The 46 lead changes in the race made it one of greatest in NASCAR history to that point. The track's second race each year continued to be called the Talladega 500 before picking up its first corporate sponsor, Sears DieHard batteries, in 1988.
Races at Talladega continued to become faster and have closer finishes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and consequently became more dangerous. The track's first racing fatality occurred at the 1973 Talladega 500 when Larry Smith, the 1972 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, died after his car hit the outside concrete wall in the first turn on the 14th lap. The only other death at the track during a NASCAR-sanctioned race occurred in the 1975 Talladega 500. Dwayne "Tiny" Lund died when his car spun on the sixth lap and was hit in the driver's side by Terry Link's car. Four drivers in the Auto Racing Club of America series (ARCA) died at Talladega in races between 1982 and 1991.
Talladega's reputation for producing some of the most exciting races in NASCAR was firmly established in the late 1970s, when the margin of victory for the winner began to be measured routinely in tenths of a second. The 1981 Talladega 500 produced one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history when Ron Bouchard, Darrell Waltrip, and Terry Labonte crossed the finish line together, with Bouchard outpacing Waltrip for the victory by about 2 feet. Talladega reached the peak of competitive racing in the 1984 Winston 500. The 75 lead changes in that race established a NASCAR record that still stands today.
The track hosted another NASCAR milestone on April 29, 1982, when Benny Parsons became the first driver to exceed 200 mph in qualifying, clocking 200.176 mph. For several years after that, qualifying itself became a major event at Talladega as drivers attempted to break the speed record. Cale Yarborough reached 202.650 mph in 1983 and then topped that mark a year later with a run of 202.692. In 1985, Bill Elliott shattered the record with a qualifying speed of 209.398. He reached 212.229 in 1986 and 212.809 in 1987. All 43 cars in the field for the 1987 Winston 500 qualified at speeds of more than 200 mph, and there was talk of the cars eventually reaching 220 mph.
All of that changed on May 3, 1987, when Bobby Allison lost control of his car during a race when it blew a tire. The rear end of the car spun around and the car became airborne, slamming into the catch fence that separated the track from the grandstands. The impact wiped out a 35-yard section of the fence, but fortunately the car bounced back onto the track, and no major injuries occurred among the fans in the grandstands. Allison suffered only minor injuries as well. Still, the image of an out-of-control car careening through the crowd horrified NASCAR officials, and it was quickly decided that the ever-escalating speeds had to be reduced.
When the circuit returned to the track later that year for the Talladega 500, the cars were equipped with smaller carburetors that reduced engine horsepower and speed. The top qualifying speed was 203.827, which was 9 mph slower than Elliott's record-setter in May, the final time that NASCAR had a car top the 200-mph mark. In 1988, carburetor restrictor plates were introduced for the races at both Talladega and Daytona. Over the years, NASCAR tweaked the size of the holes in the plate to cut back on the amount of air reaching the engine, further reducing horsepower and speeds. By 2001, top speeds had dropped to as slow as 185 mph, though they have since increased to the 190-mph range.
Although the restrictor plates succeeded in slowing the cars, they also forced all the competitors to drive at approximately the same speed. As a result, Talladega became known as a track that produced thrilling races in which 30 to 40 cars would be packed tightly together, circling the track two- and three-wide. Most of the drivers hated it because it became very difficult for them to avoid trouble whenever there was a crash. Because the cars raced in a tight pack, even the slightest contact between two cars could start a chain reaction that would take out 10 to 20 others. These spectacular multi-car accidents were dubbed "The Big One," and for better or worse, they have become a staple of racing at Talladega. This style of racing was extremely popular with the fans, and crowd size has surged to more than 150,000 for most races.
One driver who mastered the art of restrictor-plate racing at Talladega was Dale Earnhardt Sr. In his 27 Winston Cup races at the track following Allison's accident, Earnhardt finished in the top five 17 times, including eight victories. He finished his career with 10 victories at Talladega, the most in track history, and he is the only driver to sweep both Talladega races in the same year twice (in 1990 and 1999). After Earnhardt's death in 2001, his son took over as the dominant driver at Talladega. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won five Winston Cup races at the track from October 2001 to October 2004, including a record four in a row. The only driver other than the Earnhardts who has more than four career Winston Cup victories at the track is Jeff Gordon, who won there six times between 1996 and 2007.
After the April 2006 race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, work immediately began on repaving the massive track for the first time in 26 years. When the drivers returned to Talladega that October, they gave the new racing surface rave reviews after participating in a race in which there were 63 lead changes, the most in a NASCAR event since 1984.
While races take place at the track only two weeks a year, the facility is used year-round in a variety of ways. One program allows fans to ride and drive around the track. Automakers use the track to test cars for both speed and endurance. Television commercials have been filmed there, as was part of the racing movie Talladega Nights. Alabama State Troopers and other law enforcement personnel use the track to train recruits in high-speed pursuit and defensive-driving techniques.
But Talladega Superspeedway was built specifically to produce the fastest, most-exciting racing in NASCAR. Forty years after its creation, the track is still doing exactly that.
The mid-1960's: Anniston race driver and insurance man Bill Ward has a casual conversation at Daytona with International Speedway Corporation founder William H.G. (Bill) France about the possibility of building a speedway in Alabama.
1966: Ward orchestrates a meeting between then-Talladega Mayor James Hardwick and other city officials to consider the idea of building a major racetrack on land owned by the City of Talladega. After a trip to Daytona, the men were convinced.
May 23, 1968: Construction begins on what would come to be known as Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS).
Sept. 14, 1969: Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS) opens with its first race, the Talladega 500, named in honor of the local people who helped bring the track from vision to reality. Richard Brickhouse wins the inaugural event. Richard Childress makes his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start and later credits his winnings with getting the ball rolling on forming Richard Childress Racing.
Late 1969 - Early 1970: The track is paved for the second time.
1970: Don Naman becomes the first general manager of Talladega Superspeedway.
April 12, 1970: The second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race - the Alabama 500 - is held at AIMS, marking the beginning of twice-a-year visits by the sanctioning body's top series.
May 16, 1971: Donnie and Bobby Allison, famed "Alabama Gang" brothers finish first and second respectively in the first ever Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Winston begins a race sponsorship at Talladega Superspeedway that endures until 2000.
Aug. 20, 1971: Paula Murphy, or "Miss STP" as she was first known in drag racing, made a record closed course run at TSS for women in the STP '71 Plymouth (assigned to Fred Lorenzen) at 171.499 mph.
May 7, 1972: Darrell Waltrip makes his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in the Talladega 500.
Aug. 12, 1973: Dick Brooks wins the Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, posting his first and only win in NASCAR's top series.
May 5, 1974: Neil Bonnett makes his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in the Winston 500. The race is stopped twice by rain, but is shortened in laps because of the international energy crisis. Although it is scored as a 188-lap race, only 170are run because it is one of 15 events NASCAR voluntarily cut short for the sake of fuel conservation.
Aug. 9, 1975: Mark Donohue replaces A.J. Foyt as the world record holder for speed on a closed course by driving a Porsche 917-30 around Talladega Superspeedway at 221.160 mph. Donohue's world record stands for four years until it is broken in Italy. His national record stands until 1986 when it is broken by Rick Mears at Michigan International Speedway.
May 2, 1976: Buddy Baker takes a third consecutive Talladega win, a streak that goes unbroken until 2003.
May 6, 1979: Bobby Allison wins the Winston 500 by what is still considered the largest margin of victory at Talladega Superspeedway - one lap and 50 seconds.
Aug. 5, 1979: Kyle Petty makes his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in the Talladega 500.
Late 1979: The 2.66-mile Talladega tri-oval is paved for the third time since the track was constructed (including initial construction and then repaving in late 1969-early 1970).
Aug. 3, 1980: Alabama native Neil Bonnett takes his first and only Talladega Sprint Cup Series victory in the Talladega 500.
Aug. 2, 1981: In one of the closest finishes in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Ron Bouchard beats Darrell Waltrip by a foot, who is only one foot ahead of Terry Labonte as the cars come across the line three-wide in the DieHard 500. While Bouchard was in third place 500 yards from the finish line, he used the draft to "slingshot" around both Waltrip and Labonte to capture his only win in stock car racing's premier series.
April 29, 1982: Benny Parsons becomes the first Sprint Cup Series driver to break the 200 mph mark in qualifying at a speed of 200.176 mph.
Aug. 1, 1982: Darrell Waltrip becomes the first repeat winner of the Talladega 500. There had been 13 different winners since its inception in 1969.
July 31, 1983: Dale Earnhardt posts his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Talladega in the Talladega 500. He would go on to become the track's winningest driver.
May 6, 1984: The Winston 500 firmly establishes Talladega Superspeedway as NASCAR's Most Competitive Track, setting the all-time NASCAR record for lead changes with 75, a number that still stands.
May 5, 1985: Bill Elliott comes from nearly two laps down after a lengthy pit stop to repair a loose oil line to spectacularly take a win under green and turning an average speed of 186.288 mph.
July 28, 1985: Davey Allison makes his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start in the Talladega 500.
Nov. 26, 1985: Lynn St. James sets the record as the first woman to exceed 200 mph, driving a Ford Mustang Probe Prototype at Talladega Superspeedway.
May 4, 1986: All but one of the 42 starters in the May 4, 1986 Aaron's 499 qualified at more than 200 mph. Positions 41 and 42 made the field on provisionals, thus the event technically became the first "all-200" field in stock car history.
July 27, 1986: Twenty-six drivers lead laps in the Talladega 500, setting an all-time series record that stands until the Talladega fans again see 26 different leaders in the 2001 Aaron's 499.
May 1, 1987: Bill Elliott sets an all-time series qualifying record by winning the pole for the 1987 Winston 500 at a blazing 212.809 mph speed. Patty Simko establishes the world record for women's qualifying with a speed of 199.604 mph.
May 3, 1987: Alabama native Davey Allison celebrates his first NASCAR Sprint Cup career win in front of hometown fans. His father Bobby, the race's defending champion, was involved in a frightful crash that later resulted in NASCAR's implementation of restrictor plates at Talladega. Bobby Allison suffered only minor injuries in the accident. The average speed of the field was 207.049 mph, the fastest field in stock car history.
Early 1988: Current NASCAR President Mike Helton becomes Talladega Superspeedway's new general manager and in less than a year, is promoted to president of the facility. Don Naman becomes executive director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
July 31, 1988: Ken Schrader wins the DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, marking his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win.
Oct. 11, 1988: Lynn St. James sets women's national speed record at 212.577 mph driving a Ford Thunderbird at Talladega Superspeedway.
Early 1989: AIMS becomes officially known as "Talladega Superspeedway." The announcement is made at the Talladega Country Club, where members of the media have gathered for an "unveiling" but see nothing within the room to unveil. However, the darkness outside the room's large windows successfully cloak a large-scale rendering of the track's new name and logo, until spotlights illuminate it for all to see.
Dec. 14, 1989: Patty Moise breaks the women's speed record by going 216.607 mph around Talladega Superspeedway in a Buick.
Jan. 23, 1990: Patty Moise breaks women's speed record again by going 217.498 mph around Talladega Superspeedway in a Buick.
May 6, 1991: Harry Gant becomes the track's oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at 51 years, 3 months and 26 days.
February 1993: Grant Lynch becomes the third general manager of Talladega Superspeedway. He was promoted to his current post of president in November of that year. Mike Helton relocated to Daytona Beach, Fla. at the start of the next year to become NASCAR's vice president of competition.
July 25, 1993: Three drivers swap the lead four times on the final lap of the DieHard 500 until Dale Earnhardt edges Ernie Irvan by six inches for the win. That dramatic finish also makes the DieHard 500 at Talladega the first 500-mile race to produce 1,000 official lead changes over its history, an amazing feat considering the race was only 25 years old and has only 188 laps - or opportunities -to record lead changes.
July 24, 1994: Apollo 11 Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was the Grand Marshal of the DieHard 500 at Talladega. Aldrin added a personal touch in commanding the drivers to start their engines, stating "Gentlemen, energize your groundcraft."
May 10, 1997: Mark Martin wins the Winston Select 500, which has no caution flags and still stands as the track's fastest race to date at an average speed of 188.354 mph. The event is completed in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 18 seconds.
Oct. 12, 1997: The second Talladega race of the year is moved from the summer months of July and August - as it had been enjoyed since 1969 - to the fall.
April 26, 1998: The day of the DieHard 500 is made all the more special when the Grand Marshals are introduced. Alabama Gang members Bobby and Donnie Allison, Red Farmer and Susan Bonnett (on behalf of her late husband, Neil) give the command "Gentlemen, start your engines."
April 23, 1999: When teams and fans arrive for the first Talladega race of the year, they are greeted by a new entrance to the track's tunnel and main parking areas, the first of several facility improvements that have occurred in the off season. In the infield, a new NASCAR Sprint Cup garage awaits to accommodate up to 62 cars, as well as a new care center. Also, a big announcement is made to herald even more facility improvements. Track officials announce that a new and improved grandstand will replace the one existing out of Turn Two, and will be named "Allison Grandstand" after the legendary Alabama racing family of Bobby, Donnie, Davey and Clifford Allison.
Oct. 17, 1999: Dale Earnhardt wins the Winston 500, completing a sweep of both events at Talladega that year. He is the only driver in the track's history to sweep both events in a season on two separate occasions. However, some may argue that Darrell Waltrip shares that distinction, since he visited Talladega's Gatorade Victory Lane twice in both 1977 and 1982. However, the second 1977 trip was for a win credited to Donnie Allison, who had Waltrip take over the wheel for him as a relief driver on the last 23 laps of that race.
Mid-November, 1999: W. Brett Shelton is promoted from director of operations to become the fourth Vice President/General Manager of Talladega Superspeedway after having joined the staff in August of 1997.Construction begins to add 7,400 seats to Talladega Superspeedway's Tri-Oval Tower. Crews also begin work on four new tram routes to transport fans from parking areas to points near speedway entrances.
April 16, 2000: Talladega Superspeedway fans are introduced to a variety of new services and accommodations to make their experience at the track better than ever through the implementation of a new Guest Services program, which includes tram service, security and guest relations centers located throughout the grounds, as well as informational booths for general information.
Oct. 15, 2000: The final Winston 500 is run at Talladega Superspeedway, drawing to a close a 30-year race sponsorship which is considered at the time to be the longest-running.
Late October 2000: Talladega Superspeedway begins off-season construction to add 25 rows - or 5,200 seats - to the O.V. Hill South Tower, just south of the middle of the tri-oval on the frontstretch. The track also adds a Shower House complete with dozens of showers, water closets and diaper changing stations to accommodate fans in the track's all-reserved infield.
January 2001: Rick Humphrey is promoted from director of operations to become the fifth Vice President/General Manager of Talladega Superspeedway after having joined the staff in 1997 as director of public relations. W. Brett Shelton takes the post of president of Michigan International Speedway.
Oct. 6, 2002: Recording artist Sheryl Crow and her band perform for fans just before the start of the race in support of her "C'mon C'mon Tour." Legendary quarterback Ken Stabler serves as Grand Marshal and the musical group Little Big Town perform the National Anthem. Jamie McMurray fills in for the injured Sterling Marlin in the EA SPORTS" 500, making his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start ever at Talladega Superspeedway.
April 6, 2003: Dale Earnhardt Jr. concludes a four-race winning streak at Talladega, winning the Aaron's 499. The win establishes him as the driver with the most consecutive wins at Talladega, a record set previously by Buddy Baker's three wins between spring 1975 and spring 1976.
Sept. 28, 2003: The newly-crowned 2004 Miss America Ericka Dunlap gives the command, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" as the Grand Marshall of the fall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Oct. 3, 2004: Talladega Superspeedway officially celebrates its 35th Anniversary with the running of the EA SPORTS" 500. Grand Marshals of the event, Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul, Jr. of Orange County Choppers, unveil a custom motorcycle commissioned by the track to commemorate the occasion. The bike is later auctioned on eBay, with proceeds benefiting Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. takes his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Talladega Superspeedway, making him second only to his father in number of wins here.
May 1, 2005: Jeff Gordon posts his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Talladega Superspeedway in the Aaron's 499, tying him with Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and Darrell Waltrip for third place on the all-time series win count list behind Dale Earnhardt (10 series wins) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (5 series wins). Popular comedian and actor Adam Sandler served as Grand Marshal for the event. Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs performed the National Anthem.
July 12, 2005: Eight families competing in the three-time Emmy winning television show "The Amazing Race" found a clue at the world's largest office chair in Anniston, Ala. that directed them to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and then inside Talladega Superspeedway to compete against one another racing multiple-rider "party bikes" around the track. The Bransen family of Park Ridge, Ill. was the first family to successfully complete the challenge at TSS to earn the next clue. The "Think Like An Office Chair" episode aired Oct. 18, 2005 on CBS.
July 26, 2005: Talladega Superspeedway officials announce that on Oct. 7, 2006, the track will host a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for the first time in history. The announcement was kept a secret until the media assembled on pit road, and Talladega Superspeedway Vice President and General Manager Rick Humphrey unveiled a sign welcoming the series as two race trucks zoomed out of Turn Four and down the front straightaway. The trucks doubled back and drove up to pit road, and driver Ricky Craven emerged from one of the vehicles to greet the media and give comments on the announcement. The track was also pleased to have NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director Wayne Auton as a guest for the announcement.
Sept. 1-2, 2005: History was both made and remembered when David Donohue and NBC Television "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno set a series of Grand American speed records at the track, driving a Porsche Carrera GT production car. David is the son of Mark Donohue, who set a similar series of records in a Porsche here three decades ago. The younger Donohue set three flying speed records in the production category, including a closed-course speed record here of 196.301 mph. Donohue also set records for the measured mile at 198.971 mph and the measured kilometer at 195.755 mph. Leno set three standing-start speed records in the same car, the fastest being 156.603 mph over the closed-course.
Oct. 2, 2005: As UAW-Ford made its debut as the fall race sponsor at Talladega Superspeedway, Dale Jarrett concluded the UAW-Ford 500 event weekend in storybook fashion, putting a Ford in Gatorade Victory Lane for the first time in seven years. Statisticians recorded 50 lead changes in the race, the most all season. Alabama Governor Bob Riley proclaimed the day "Rusty Wallace Day" in honor of Wallace's final full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing prior to retirement. Other special guests included RCA recording artist and Alabama native Bo Bice, who sang the National Anthem.
April 27- April 30, 2006: Dale Earnhardt was remembered at Talladega Superspeedway in several special ways during the 2006 Aaron's Dream Weekend. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday evening and in honor of that award and in celebration of Dale Earnhardt Day on Saturday, the four Dale Earnhardt, Inc. cars entered in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races were adorned with special black paint schemes reminiscent of the scheme he ran while competing in the Nationwide Series. One of those cars, driven by Martin Truex, Jr. in the Nationwide Series race, wound up in Victory Lane on Saturday, on what would have been Earnhardt's 55th birthday. Special guest Will Ferrell was also a highlight of the race weekend as he visited the track to promote his forthcoming comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." Ferrell served as the official Grand Marshal of the Aaron's 499.
May 1, 2006: Jimmie Johnson became the 34th different race winner at Talladega, emerging victorious in the Aaron's 499. The race contained 56 lead changes among 22 drivers - tying it for 10th in all-time lead changes and third for the all-time highest number of leaders. Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership Ken Butler took over Grand Marshal duties and enlisted the near-capacity crowd to participate. He started the command with "Gentlemen . . . " and thousands answered by thundering "Start Your Engines!"
May 2, 2006: Talladega Superspeedway President Grant Lynch kicked off the track's fourth paving project - the first in 26 years - by climbing aboard a trackhoe excavator entering Turn 3 of the track, and using the machinery to remove a large portion of the track's asphalt. Many members of the media were on hand to document the start of the monumental project.
July 17, 2006: Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart visited Talladega Superspeedway to lend a hand in the monumental paving project currently underway. Before meeting with members of the media, Stewart talked with members of the paving crew, then climbed aboard the paver as it progressed through turn one applying the level-up course of asphalt.
August 30, 2006: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Dennis Setzer visited Talladega Superspeedway to help complete the paving project. Setzer climbed aboard a paver and helped completed the 12-foot transporter truck lane along the inside of the racing surface. Setzer also met with members of the media about the project in relation to the track's first NASCAR Crattsman Truck Series race set for Saturday, Oct. 7.
September 19, 2006: Talladega Superspeedway officials announced the official completion of Talladega Superspeedway's Paving Project 2006.
September 20, 2006: Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams participated in a Goodyear tire test on the new surface, and all commented on the smoothness of the new asphalt and the durability of the tires. Drivers and teams participating in the test were No. 1 Martin Truex, Jr., No. 25 Brian Vickers, No. 38 David Gilliland, No. 40 David Stremme, No. 32 Travis Kvapil and No. 12 Ryan Newman.
September 21, 2006: Hoosier brought two ARCA RE/MAX Series teams to Talladega for a tire test: Bobby Gerhart and A.J. Henriksen.
September 25, 2006: Thirty-five ARCA RE/MAX Series teams practiced on the new surface in a series open test
September 28, 2006: Five-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. flew in to give members of the media and superspeedway sponsors rides around the track in a brand new Monte Carlo SS.
October 6, 2006: The most successful driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history, Frank Kimmel, takes his first career superspeedway win in the Food World 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. The event also marked the first stock car start for former Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who competed in preparation for the his career in NASCAR driving for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Montoya finished third behind Kimmel and Steve Wallace, son of veteran driver Rusty Wallace.
October 7, 2006: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competes at Talladega Superspeedway for the first time in the John Deere 250. Mark Martin won from the pole position, becoming the first driver to win a race in each of NASCAR's top three series at Talladega Superspeedway.
October 8, 2006: Talladega Superspeedway enjoys its largest fall race crowd in history for the UAW-Ford 500, the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the track's smooth new surface. Brian Vickers posted his first career win in a race that saw 63 lead changes among 23 different drivers, the most lead changes fans had witnessed anywhere on the circuit since the July 1984 race at Talladega in which the lead swapped hands 68 times.
International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum
The International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF) is both National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) founder Bill France's tribute to the legends of motorsport racing and a museum to preserve the sport's history. Located next to the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega County, about 50 miles east of Birmingham, the hall has been inducting members since 1990, and in 2007 the list of inductees contained more than 120 names.
France founded NASCAR in 1944 and served as its president from 1949-1972. In the late 1960s, with the help of his friend and political ally, Gov. George Wallace (France headed the fundraising effort for Wallace's 1972 presidential campaign), France built the Alabama International Motor Speedway (now Talladega Superspeedway), the largest, fastest race track in the world at 2.66 miles around. Soon, France and speedway director Don Naman formed plans for the first hall of fame for motorsports, the goal being a "museum and hall of fame to preserve the history of motorsports and honor those who had contributed to its growth." During the next few years, France gathered support from state and national interests, and in 1975, Gov. Wallace established an 18-member commission to oversee the creation of the hall of fame and museum. After a state bond issue to finance construction of the facility failed to pass, France donated 35 acres next to Talladega Superspeedway for the project, and other private and public funds were raised to complete construction under the leadership of Alabama State senator Richard Dial. Total costs came to about $2 million.
The museum, which was the project's first phase, opened in early 1983 and included two exhibit halls, a rotunda, International Speedway Corporation (France's NASCAR corporation) offices, and ancillary spaces. One exhibit room, the "Daytona Room," focuses on the racing culture of France's Daytona, Florida, holdings. The other exhibit hall, called the "International Room," contains memorabilia relating to a variety of different motorsports. The 15,000 square-foot hall of fame addition opened during a July 1990 ceremony in which the 20 charter members were inducted. Other collections housed at the facility include the 14,000-volume McCaig-Wellborn Motorsports Research Library, as well as the Alabama Racing Pioneers Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Writer's Hall of Fame, the Auto Custom Carpets Hall of Fame, the Automobile Racing Club of America Hall of Fame, the Quarter Midgets of America Hall of Fame, the Western Auto Mechanics Hall of Fame, and the World Karting Hall of Fame. Exhibits include the twisted remains of spectacular crashes, as well as legendary racing vehicles such as the Budweiser Rocket Car that first broke the sound barrier on land, and the 1985 Ford Thunderbird driven by Bill Elliott in 1985 when he broke the record for fastest 500-mile race finish, averaging 186.288 miles per hour.
The hall of fame panel consists of 150 members of the motorsports racing media, and potential inductees must have been retired from racing for at least five years. Today the IMHOF is funded mainly on the strength of admission fees to about 100,000 visitors per year, who take self-guided tours of the museum and hall of fame, as well as tours of the Talladega Superspeedway next door.
Famous people from Talladega:
Tinsley R. Harrison, founding editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine
The Talladega Municipal Airport was renamed Boswell field in honor of Eastaboga resident Lewis Archer Boswell. Local legend states that Boswell actually made the first successful flight before the Wright Brothers.
Lee De Forest was not a native of Talladega but he spent most of his young life there. De Forest, who invented the vacuum tube and held over 300 patents, was the son of a president of Talladega College.
Jack Nelson was born in Talladega in October 1929 to Alonzo and Barbara O'Donnel. The Pulitzer-winning Washington correspondent and former Washington bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times, Nelson was a reporter for forty-five years and has written a number of books. Beginning in September 2007, "The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press" will offer one-year fellowships for recent law school graduates. The fellowship honors Jack Nelson who is a former Chair of The Reporters Committee's Executive Committee, and served on its Steering Committee for 25 years. Jack Nelson currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Barbara Matusaw.
Robert Bradley grew up in Evergreen, Alabama, but attended school in Talladega at The Alabama School for the Blind (also known now as Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind). He is now a famous blues/rock artist that fronts his band Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise. He crafted his musical talent at a young age performing in churches around Talladega.
The gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama formed in Talladega when the original members met at The Alabama School for the Blind.
Colleges and universities
Talladega College, founded in 1865, is a historically black liberal arts college located in Talladega, Alabama. The Savery Library holds the Amistad murals, painted by Hale Woodruff in 1939.
Hale Aspacio Woodruff (August 26, 1900 - September, 1980) was an African American artist known for his mural, paintings, and prints. One example of his work, the Amistad murals can be found at Talladega College in Talladega County, Alabama. The murals depict the ship itself and a sequence of scenes depicting various stages of the revolt upon the ship. Local tradition at the school has decreed that no one shall ever step upon the mural of the ship despite its central location in the library’s lobby.
The Amistad Murals consists of three panels: The Revolt, The Court Scene, and Back to Africa. They are housed in Savery Library and are known as one of artist Hale Aspacio Woodruff’s best known works. Woodruff was commissioned to paint the murals in 1938 and they have become known as one of his best documented works. After completing a time in Mexico City studying and working with Diego Rivera, the world famed Woodruff went to Talladega and completed a true documentation through art of La Amistad and its cargo. The murals attract visitors and art enthusiasts from around the world.
The incident began during April 1839 on the West Coast of Africa when 53 Africans were kidnapped from the Mende country, in what is now known as modern Sierra Leone. They were sold into Spanish slave trade. The men, women and children were shackled and loaded aboard a ship where many endured physical abuse, sickness, and death during a horrific journey to Havana, Cuba.
The case took on historic significance when former Preside John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the captives before the U.S. Supreme Court. This was the first civil rights case in America. In 1841, the 35 surviving Africans won their freedom, two years after they were captured. The Mende Association was then formed which later became The American Missionary Association
The third panel represents the landing of the repatriated slaves on the shores of Africa. Here, the principal figures are Cinque, the missionaries, James Steel with his sea chest, and the little Black girls, Margue, who in later years had a son who returned to graduate from Yale University with a Ph.D. degree. In the background lie their ship at harbor, and a boatload of their party just landing on the beach.
The history of the Underground Railroad is one of individual sacrifice and heroism of enslaved people to achieve freedom from bondage. Perhaps the most dramatic protest against slavery in the United States, it was an operation that began during the colonial period and later became part of the organized abolitionist activity in the 19th century, and reached its peak in the period 1830-1865.
While most runaways began their journey unaided, many completed their self-emancipation without assistance. Each decade during slavery in the United States, there was an increase in the public perception of an underground network and in the number of persons willing to give aid to the runaways.
In 1867, Freedmen were poor and unable to pay tuition on the first day of registration. They, therefore, are depicted bartering with their chickens, pigs, barrels of fruit and vegetables, musical instruments, a plow, sugar cane, etc. They are advised by the counselor and curriculum coordinator on classes and what to expect in school. In the background is Swayne Hall, the oldest building on campus.
Funds raised by Talladega College, individual contributions, a grant form the General Education Board totaling $65,000, a grant from The Harkness Foundation, sale of college land and insurance on a barn destroyed by fire allowed for the construction of Savery Library. Construction began in September 1937, with Joseph Fletcher, a 1901 alumnus, serving as Superintendent of building and grounds and in charge of the construction. He viewed the library as his masterpiece. Talladega students furnished much of the labor, though in a few instances, whites worked alongside blacks.
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