Throughout the year, Judge David Duggan, author of “Alcoa: A Century in Words and Pictures,” will give historic tours of key locations in Alcoa’s history.
Duggan created the tour, collected many historical images and wrote a historical outline about each of the stops. Outside of the book, the tour represents one of the best ways to get to know the city, its history and the people who built it.
Here, you’ll find route highlights, a few images of old Alcoa and snippets of information from the detailed history Duggan wrote and will review during the tour. The city plans to print brochures for the tour, complete with a wealth of images, memories and facts.
Start: The Alcoa Municipal Building
The Holston Conference office building on Lincoln Road: “In 1914, a barn was built on this property to house teams of mules used in construction of the first plant buildings.”
Drive along one of the Bassel streets and then Joule Street: “The first approximately 150 homes were constructed in 1916 in the Bassel and Hall communities, the latter at the time being known as Peniel, then Walnut Hill.”
• Alcoa City Center — former Charles M. Hall School: “(The aluminum company) heavily recruited African American and Mexican workers; it sent a black recruiter through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to hire workers to come here and help construct the plants and then to work in the potrooms. The homes built for workers in the Hall community were smaller than the homes constructed for white laborers, and often the bathroom consisted of only an enclosed toilet on the back porch.”
• Alcoa Public Works Building — former Babcock Lumber and Land Company site: “As dominant as the aluminum company was in this area, it was not Alcoa’s only business. In 1916, Babcock Land and Lumber Company acquired 350 acres along Pistol Creek and constructed a sawmill, planing mill, commissary store and clubhouse/dormitory.”
Drive along Poplar Street
Alcoa North Plant — “The crowning achievement of the company came in 1940 to 1941 when the North Plant was constructed in order to produce aluminum sheet for airplanes for World War II. When the North Plant was built, it was the largest aluminum sheet mill in the world, consisting of the world’s largest factory under one roof (55 acres) with the world’s longest continuous mill of nearly a half mile.”
Drive along some of the old Springbrook streets
First United Methodist Church
The former West Plant Site: “ALCOA began construction of the sheet mill, later known as the West Plant. By 1920, the first aluminum sheet was being produced at the plant. By 1923, the West Plant led all ALCOA plants in the nation in aluminum production, producing 2,500,000 pounds of aluminum per month, 750,000 pounds of which were being shipped to the Ford Motor Company.”
End: The Alcoa Municipal Building
Transportation: Most of the tour will be by bus, but there will be a few opportunities for people to get out and stretch.
When: Dates for the tour include:
2019: July 20, Sept. 15, Nov. 16
2020: Jan. 11, March 15, May 16
See calendar on page 2 for specific times.
Questions: Groups such as churches, businesses or other organizations may request a tour of their own through the city of Alcoa at 865-380-4787.
Length: The tour will last about two hours.