We still have them
Who would’ve thought it? Some of the places and things that helped describe Hartselle 59 years ago when my family moved to Hartselle haven’t changed.
Take the four railroad grade crossings in the central businesses district as an example. They have been torn up and rebuilt several times but remain an inconvenience and nuisance to the travelers who’ve used them since horse and buggy days. ˜Not until the early 2000s was the rickety, old wooden bridge on the north side of town replaced by a modern steel and concrete structure. Either motorists sit and wait at the four grade crossings for freight trains to pass or opt to use the north overpass to bypass downtown.
The chances are slim that a native son or daughter would not get lost in the central business district. That part of town has been revitalized through the joint efforts of city leaders and private property owners and tenants along with federal grants. Traditional merchants such as Belk Hudson. E.R. Roberts, Minor Furniture & Refrigeration and Citizens Bank has long since gone out of business and been replaced by antique and specialty stores. Federally funded sidewalk canopies have changed the appearance of Main Street but the early 1900’s buildings remain intact.
A couple of Hartselle’s well-known but out-of-sight landmarks are located in the southeastern sector of town. A dip bridge crosses Shoal Creek on Old Highway 31, south and one of its style and structure is seldom seen in the state. Its foundation is made of concrete priors and its roadway can accommodate two vehicles with little room to spare. A four-ft. concert wall exists on each side. Hartselle Tabernacle and Campground is located about one-half mile southeast on Tabernacle Road. The open air building with its original cedar supports and wooden pews on a ground floor had been standing for over 100 years. Weekly accommodations are provided in rustic, wooden cabins and a more recent co-ed dormitory and food service building. Worship services are conducted in June each year and the facility is available for rent to church and community group.
Noteworthy changes in recent years have been the commercial development of U.S. Highway 31 and the I-65 corridor on the west side of town.