It’s been a few weeks– well, months, actually– since I began the dive into my family’s move from Haw Ridge, Alabama to Enterprise.
Since then, I’ve discovered a 200-page gem that could reveal the information I’ve been seeking: was it the intrepid Nance spirit or a gentle push from the government (i.e., eminent domain) that prompted the move?
Last year I emailed the president of the Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society, which is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for information about the history of the Wiregrass area of Alabama. I asked if he knew anything about eminent domain and Fort Rucker. He suggested that I read The Origins of Fort Rucker, by Val L. McGee.
Lo and behold, Amazon had one copy of the book left. I just started reading the book last night, and the first few pages have provided a rich context for understanding southeast Alabama’s climate during the 1930s. Here you had a once-thriving community nearly suffocated by the Great Depression. It was a tableau that stretched from one end of the state to the other, one that repeated itself across the country.
But there was a difference in Dale County, Alabama: folks saw an opportunity to turn nothing into something.