As the son of C.S. "Boss" Hinton, a well-known politician and prominent businessman, it was not surprising that Snow Hinton would follow in his father's footsteps. As a businessman, he owned rental property, and was associated with a local drug store and the Diamond Theater. Hinton served as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of First Alabama Bank in Tuscaloosa, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Foundry Co.
Hinton began his political career in 1961, when he was elected to the office of finance and water works commissioner. Described as dedicated to his duties and a skillful politician, he was popular enough to be elected as mayor of Tuscaloosa in 1969. With a reputation for openness and never meeting a stranger, he also had a calm public presence as well as a ready response to any issue. As a result of his popularity with his constituency, he was re-elected in 1973.
While Hinton was serving as finance and water commissioner, the Lake Tuscaloosa project was begun, resulting in not only recreational usage but also the city's eventual water supply. During Hinton's terms as mayor, the City Tuscaloosa purchased the post office building on University Boulevard, moving City Hall to its present location. Hinton implemented a number of improvements to the city's water and sewer department, and also was responsible for the widening of 15th Street, and purchasing park property.
Hinton was instrumental in securing the property located on McFarland Boulevard at Hargrove Road, which is today the location of Snow Hinton Park. He also helped to acquire the north-of-the-river property on Watermelon Road that now serves as Munny Sokol Park, one of the city's largest recreational areas.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Charles Stillman received his degree from Oglethorpe College in 1841, and then attained a divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1844. Licensed by the Charleston Presbytery, Stillman ministered at the Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston until 1845, when he was ordained by the Tuscaloosa Presbytery to serve at the Presbyterian Church in Eutaw, Alabama. He also served as minister in Gainesville, during which time he received the Doctor of Divinity degree from The University of Alabama. He began serving as pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Tuscaloosa in 1870, where he remained until his death.
Dr. Stillman was well-known for his community efforts outside his role as pastor. He was the Chairman of Tuscaloosa Presbytery's Home Missions Committee. Perhaps his most significant achievement was leading a group of Tuscaloosa Presbyterians to present the 1875 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States a training school for Black ministers. The 1876 General Assembly followed the recommendation of its specially appointed committee and authorized establishing the Institute for Training Colored Ministers at Tuscaloosa. Stillman taught the first classes at the institute.
The Institute came to be named the Stillman Institute in honor of its devoted founder who served as its superintendent from its founding until his death. Today, the institute boasts a strong academic program and is known as Stillman College.
Initially, the college focused almost exclusively on training blacks for the Presbyterian ministry. Soon after opening the institute, however, Stillman realized the college needed a strong academic program to prepare black theology students with poor educational backgrounds to study theology. An academic division developed that provided elementary, high school, and junior college education for blacks. The Presbyterian Church converted Stillman to a four-year baccalaureate-degree-granting college around 1948.
A native of Illinois who resided in Kansas before moving to Tuscaloosa, Frank Blair was a political outsider before gaining enough popularity to serve as Tuscaloosa's mayor.
In 1895, the Blair family moved to Tuscaloosa County, where Blair and his father his father constructed and operated a grain elevator (the Western Elevator Company) and engaged in mining operations in the Brookwood area. He was successful in business and was elected as a city alderman in 1900; however, he lost a bid for mayor to the incumbent, William G. Cochrane, in 1902.
Blair beat Cochrane in a rematch in 1904, and served a two-year term as Mayor of Tuscaloosa. As mayor, Blair was focused on improving infrastructure, finances, and quality of life. He is perhaps most well-known for changing the designation of city streets from names to numbers, using the help of a planning expert from Detroit, Michigan.
Once his term as mayor was complete, Blair continued to work for the betterment of Tuscaloosa. He served for five years as the city's Waterworks Commissioner. In 1909, he developed Tuscaloosa's first residential subdivision, Pinehurst. Blair was also instrumental in the construction of the L&N Railroad branch from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa that runs through the Brookwood coal mine area. He also served as a member of the State Docks Commission.
Talented in civic as well as business efforts, Blair was a charter member and president of the Rotary Club. He organized the Tuscaloosa Country Club, and served as its president. Following the 1932 tornado that struck Tuscaloosa and Northport, Blair led disaster relief efforts.
Born in Tuscaloosa in 1915, Frank McCorkle Moody was the son of Frank Maxwell Moody and Sara McCorkle Moody. He attended grammar school in Tuscaloosa and high school in Alexandria, Va. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1937, he did graduate work at Duke University's Finance School and Rutgers University's Graduate School of Banking. He served during World War II in the United States Air Corps, from 1941-45.
Moody spent most of his career at First National Bank of Tuskaloosa where he was chairman and chief executive officer from 1970 until his retirement in 1987. As chairman, he led stockholders in their decision to sell the home-owned bank to AmSouth Bank in 1987.
In addition to service on many nonprofit organizations, Moody and his family contributed to capital projects in the community by funding the University of Alabama Moody Music Building and UA's Moody Gallery of Art.
Moody was a member of the Directors of the Alabama Power Company, the Board of Trustees of Druid City Hospital and Executive Committee of the Alabama Banker's Association. He served as President of the Chamber of Commerce of Tuscaloosa, the United Fund and the YMCA. Moody received many honors including Tuscaloosa Citizen of the Year in 1958 and honorary degrees from the University of Alabama and Stillman College.
Moody was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2001.
George Alexander LeMaistre, a longtime Tuscaloosa businessman and attorney, was born in Lockart, Alabama. He came to Tuscaloosa to attend law school at the University of Alabama.
LeMaistre began practicing law in Tuscaloosa in 1933 and taught law at the University of Alabama beginning in 1939. He served in the United States Navy in World War II. Following his service, he returned to Tuscaloosa and formed the law firm of LeMaistre and Clement. They were later joined by Walter P. Gewin.
LeMaistre was instrumental in many community efforts, including serving as the first chairman of the Druid City Hospital Board, leading the fund drive to move the hospital from the Northington campus to its current location. He also served on the Stillman College Board of Trustees, retiring as Chairman in 1961.
In 1961 he became President and Chairman of City National Bank of Tuscaloosa. LeMaistre was named Director of the FDIC under President Richard Nixon in 1973 and Chairman by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
In 1990 he became chairman of a new consulting firm, The Pilot Group, which was formed to give advice to banks and thrifts.
LeMaistre was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Born in Bivins, Texas in 1907 and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Gwendolyn Faucett attended Mary Hardin Baylor College for Women and The University of Alabama before marrying Sam P. Faucett II and settling in Northport, Alabama in 1929.
Faucett developed a reputation for devoting herself unselfishly to her community. She served on a number of boards and committees including the Tuscaloosa Library Board, YMCA Board, Easter Seals, United Way, Park Board of Northport, PARA, and many others. She was particularly devoted to furthering the interests of education in the community, serving as PTA President for Northport Elementary and Tuscaloosa County High School. Faucett opened the first Northport Library and the first Northport Community Center and secured $1 million in pledges for the new Tuscaloosa County High School building. In 1996, she was named the Heritage Pioneer Award recipient.
Active at the state level, Faucett served on the Fed. Clubs of Alabama, as Health Chairman of the State PTA Congress, and on the Alabama Citizens Advisory Council.
In addition to her community contributions, Faucett was one of Northport's first female business leaders, working as a long-time retailer in the city. Her family business, Faucett's, was a fixture of historic downtown Northport for more than 130 years. In 1994, Faucett was voted Outstanding Business Leader.
A longtime Tuscaloosa leader, Harry Pritchett served on the City Board of Education for more than 30 years. In his dedication to education in the community, he also assisted The University of Alabama in the school's transition to integrated education. His efforts led to the University bestowing the Algernon Sydney Award to him in 1965.
In his more than 50-year career, Pritchett held many leadership roles in the community, and was named Tuscaloosa's Citizen of the Year in 1949. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the United Way of West Alabama. The City of Tuscaloosa declared January 27, 1971 as "Harry Pritchett Day."
Along with Marlin Moore, Pritchett founded the prominent insurance company Pritchett-Moore, Inc. The company continues to thrive today in insurance, building rentals, and real estate sales.
Pritchett is the namesake of the Harry Pritchett Award, an honor given for outstanding efforts toward the betterment of the Tuscaloosa community.
Buford Boone, a long-time publisher of The Tuscaloosa News, is also well known for serving as a community leader.
Boone received the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1957 in recognition of an editorial he wrote during the period when Autherine Lucy sought admittance as the first black students at the University of Alabama.
A Newnan, Georgia native, Boone graduated from Mercer University and began working as a newspaper carrier for the Macon Telegraph. He left the Telegraph for four years to become a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent, returning to the newspaper as an editor.
He became publisher of the Tuscaloosa News in 1947, winning a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for a piece on Autherine Lucy's pursuit for admittance as one of the first black students to The University of Alabama. While at the Tuscaloosa News, he aided in financial assistance for more than 300 students through gifts and grants to the university's Department of Journalism.
In 1954, he organized his own publishing company, Tuscaloosa Newspapers Inc., serving as its president until 1968, and then as chairman of the board until his retirement in 1974.
The recipient of a number of awards and honors, Boone held an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Alabama. He was named Mercer University's Distinguished Alumnus in 1979.
A lifelong resident of Tuscaloosa, Reese Phifer founded Phifer Wire Products, which is today a worldwide leader in textile production.
A graduate of The University of Alabama with both a business and a law degree, Phifer was also an accomplished pilot. During World War II, he trained British and French pilots in Tuscaloosa County, and then later transported airplanes from the United States to Europe to be used in the war effort.
Following the war, Phifer practiced law in Tuscaloosa. Decided to enter the manufacturing industry, he founded Phifer Aluminum Screen Company in 1952, which was later renamed Phifer Wire Products.
Phifer married Sue Clarkson Phifer, a great-niece of Ellen Peter Bryce, whose husband was the first superintendent of Bryce Hospital.
In 1981, The University of Alabama presented Mr. Phifer with the Tutwiler Award and, several years later, an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. In 1991, The University of Alabama College of Communication Building was renamed Reese Phifer Hall. Also in 1991, he was honored with the School of Commerce and Business Administration's Entrepreneurship Award and inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.
The Phifers became known for their charitable and civic contributions, which has become an enduring legacy. They established the Reese Phifer Jr. Memorial Trust, set up in honor of their late son, which continues to support local charities and The University of Alabama.
A native of Tuscaloosa, Julia Tutwiler was a strong advocate for education and prison reform. She attended Vassar College and served as the first female president of Livingston Normal College, which is now the University of West Alabama. A firm believer in education for women, Tutwiler was a key figure in the creation of the Alabama Girls' Industrial School, in October 1896. This institution eventually evolved into the University of Montevallo. She was an active member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, battling alcoholism. Known as the "angel of the prisons" or "angel of the stockades," she pushed for important prison reforms. She fought to separate female and male prisoners and to separate juveniles from adult criminals. As a result, the first Boys' Industrial School was opened. She also demanded better prison sanitation, education, and religious opportunities for prisoners. She lobbied to end the convict-lease system. The Julia S. Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama is named for her. Tutwiler Hall at The University of Alabama and a library at University of West Alabama also bear her name. She died from cancer, leaving $15,000 for a scholarship fund at Livingston Normal College. She was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame in 1953. When Judson College established the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1970, she was among the first group of inductees. As a poet, she contributed lyrics to the state song, "Alabama," which was adopted in 1931.
Maude Whatley made an indelible mark on West Alabama, both in education and healthcare. The first black female with a bachelor's degree to work in the Tuscaloosa school system, Whatley was also the first local black teacher to attain an AA teaching certificate from Columbia University.
Described as a strong, high-principled disciplinarian who cared deeply for her students, Whatley served the community as a teacher and principal for more than 50 years. Following her retirement, she tutored adult students.
Her contributions were not limited to education, and her name is more prominently known due to her work in the healthcare industry. Interested in the health needs of the medically underserved community, Whatley helped establish what would eventually be named the Maude L. Whatley Health Center in 1981. The West Tuscaloosa facility was expanded in 1989 and in 2012, with a dental center opening in 2006. Eventually, Maude Whatley Health Services expanded to 12 locations in seven West Alabama counties, serving about 30,000 patients.
A role model for many citizens, Whatley was a lifetime member of First African Baptist Church, where she served as a Sunday school teacher. She championed many civic causes.
A native of Wetumpka, McDonald Hughes attended educational institutions that include Alabama State University, Fisk University, Columbia University, Michigan State University, New York University, Stillman College, and The University of Alabama before embarking upon his own educational career in Tuscaloosa.
Hughes served as principal of Industrial High School, then Druid High School, for more than 32 years. In 1968, Hughes was one of 25 secondary school principals to tour six European countries to observe school systems there, and in 1980 he was chosen to serve a two-year term as trustee for the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
In 1983, he chaired the planning committee working with the Charles Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio, to plan a National Issues Forum in Tuscaloosa. In 1986 Troy State University selected him for induction into the Educational Leadership Hall of Fame.
The McDonald Hughes Center is named in his honor. Hughes was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Munny Sokol is perhaps best known for Sokol's Furniture Store, an establishment founded in Tuscaloosa in 1928. Over time, Sokol branched out, opening stores across Alabama and running the chain until 1969.
Sokol, a graduate of The University of Alabama in Business Administration, also used his considerable business knowledge to raise millions of dollars for the university and for the Tuscaloosa community. He led fundraising campaigns for youth and recreational organizations.
As someone who cherished outdoor sports, it was only fitting he serve as the namesake of Munny Sokol Park. The Munny Sokol Open, a golf tournament held at Indian Hills Country Club, benefited the Boys and Girls Ranch.
Known for his humor and charisma, Munny Sokol was well loved throughout West Alabama.
Although an Arkansas native, Paul William "Bear" Bryant is synonymous with Alabama. In 1931, Bryant was offered a full scholarship to The University of Alabama to play football, and the rest is history.
When Bryant was offered a scholarship, he had no high school diploma. So, he enrolled in Tuscaloosa High School and finished his requirements in the fall semester of 1931. When not studying or in school, he practiced with the Crimson Tide to prepare for his college football career.
The team won the 1933 SEC Championship, then played an undefeated season in 1934, beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Between 1936 and 1941, Bryant worked as an assistant coach, but then joined the United States Navy following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After the war, he accepted his first head coaching position at Maryland. He then coached at the University of Kentucky and Texas A&M before returning to his alma mater, The University of Alabama, for a 25-year coaching career.
In his career, Bryant achieved at 232-46 record, was a 10-time SEC Coach of the Year, and a four-time National Coach of the Year. The National College Football Coach of the Year Award is today named in his honor.
In 1975, the football stadium was renamed in his honor, and is now known as Bryant-Denny Stadium. The City of Tuscaloosa also boasts a high school and a city street that bear his name.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan awarded Bryant the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1996, thirteen years after his death, Bryant was memorialized on a postage stamp.
Known for his love of the community and his support for arts organizations, Robert C. Tanner spent his career as an attorney and an accountant. A native of Montgomery, Tanner obtained his accounting degree from The University of Alabama and his law degree from The University of Alabama School of Law and New York University. Tanner was a well-respected member of all local, state, and national organizations relevant to his profession, including the American Bar Association, the Alabama Bar Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, and more. He served on a number of boards and committees and received the Inland Press Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2000. Heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, Tanner served as the organization's legal counsel from 1983 to 1988 and assisted with the merger of the Northport and Tuscaloosa chambers into a single organization. He was named Chamber Member of the Year in 1988. Tanner provided many outstanding contributions to the community including raising funds for a new building for the Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl and providing funding through his law firm, Tanner & Guin, L.L.C., for projects that included renovation of the Capitol Park Center gazebo, the Black warrior Boy Scouts capital campaign, the Shelton State Community College atrium, the Children's Hands-On Museum, renovation of the Jemison Van deGraaff mansion, and others. Tanner was an avid supporter of arts organizations including Theatre Tuscaloosa, Kentuck, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and The University of Alabama Theatre and Dance Department. Tanner's advice and counsel were sought as to legal, accounting, political, civic, and personal matters by a wide circle of friends and associates.