Locals believed oil flowed beneath rocks

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Did you know years ago those living in nearby rural areas surrounded by scattered brownish “iron rocks” believed that oil “flowed under them thar rocks?”

That certainly was the case where I lived with the same being true for many north Baldwin, Escambia and Monroe county residents.

But, with the recent oil discoveries that iron rock myth carries more ambiguities that a Sandy Bottom TV commercial. In fact, contemporary oil producing wells are found primarily on rick dark farmland. That is the case for all the discoveries in the Butler Street, McCullough, Monroe county areas. Rue Mason, my wife’s 100 year old grandfather, and all the other land owners in that area were never burdened with having to dispose of iron rocks from their farmlands.

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Now, Internet stories clearly indicate “iron rock” is no indication that petroleum passes into pools pressured into deep Jurassic pits.

But one fact is becoming quite evident. The current price of oil per barrel has drilling companies scampering to this area with sights set on signing new leases and erecting drilling rigs in an effort to cash in on the Atmore area ‘oil craze”. The more success they have the better chance new jobs will emerge here.

Now, before I write my final column depicting news, people and events from 1954, I must tell you about the contributions of four people who make Atmore’s landscape appealing to all its residents and to the many who travel through our town.

Ed Brown, Eddie Cook and Melvin Middleton, each retired from highly respected companies, avidly go about their work in an energetic manner. Ed‘s talented “green fingers” blends flowers and shrubs into the respective themes of every street throughout the city. Eddie has that knack of keeping grass and vegetation mowed in the same manner a barber trims a beautiful head of hair. Melvin uses his innovated talents keeping our parks in “showroom” condition. Unlike some area towns where horticulture has gone AWOL, these men bring identity to Atmore. The fact they are working beyond their retirement is an inspiration to all of us. In other words, when they took their retirement a few years ago, that was not an indication for them to merely “sit and rock”. And let me not forget Mark Elkins. It seems like he has been strolling our streets for years assembling loose trash into neat piles for easy pickups. Mark has that uncanny ability of remembering our names and the auto license numbers of just about every resident in Atmore.

Going back to 1954 Chapel Ministries were initiated at our local prisons. Since then countless ministers and laymen have participated in these ministries.

The Advance added a new community correspondent that year. Mrs. Leon Prestwood became our McCullough correspondent.

Dr. T Reed, our county health physician passed away in 1954. Residing in Brewton he served all of west Escambia for several years.

And speaking of doctors thirteen physicians from the state were called to military service through the draft.

Two Atmore doctors, Majors Crawford and Leslie Horn enjoyed an unexpected meeting when they served in Pusan, Korea. They ran across each other in a military hospital situation in that country.

Joyce Lambert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A T Lambert, graduated from the school of nursing at Providence Hospital.

Former ECHS gridiron standout Charles Madison was one of two University of Georgia football players selected to participate in Montgomery’s Blue-Grey game. Red Vickery, another former ECHS player years earlier was influential in Madison’s signing with Georgia.

Dr. Cecil Thornbloom opened a new chiropractic office here that year and Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Clayton extended their “Dime Store” variety business by opening a new variety store in Bay Minette.

Here is a news story that almost sends you reeling. As you probably know tax payers help pay for the nations flood insurance program. Now we read where a legislator or two are looking for ways to add wind coverage to the flood policy. Wind coverage is normally carried in a Homeowners policy. In other words they want us taxpayers to help pay for their wind coverage. The loss of coverage has resulted from so many cancelled HO policies, particular those living near the luring Alabama coastlines.

Let me ask you this. Do you think we should help these sea breezes loving residents pay for their wind coverage in a revamped flood policy? Thank about it.

After four years of these “‘nostalgia” columns I am nearing the point where I hardly know what to write about. And, the older I get the more difficult it becomes to continue. I do think I have found a solution. I think I will simply add fiction and let you try to separate the fiction from factual nostalgia. By the way, I always add a mistake in each column in hopes you will discover it. It may be grammatical, misspelled words improper personification, metaphors, etc.

Can you find the mistake in today’s column?

More, next week.

“….yes, it always whispers to me….those days of long ago……”.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net