History of Dolomite (PART III)
as told by Mildred Brown Crain to her daughter, Martha Jean Crain

When I was a child, the people voted in my father's store.  They used a paper ballot and dropped the ballot in a box with a slot in the top.  The votes were counted that night.  I registered to vote in my father's store in 1922.

My father, D. W. Brown; was a justice of Peace and held "small" court in his store.  He also married couples in his store.  Mr. A. W. Mock was another justice of Peace in Dolomite.

I talked with my older cousin, Lucy Brown Jenkins, age 88, today and she told me some of the teachers names at the old Browntown school.  She named Asbury Brown (her uncle) and Marvin McDonald.  She said Marvin McDonald was her first teacher.  She said Alice Brown (a cousin) would fill in when the teacher was absent.

I started to school the first year the new school was opened on Edwards Street.  Ira Brown was the teacher (my uncle).  At one time, my father was on the school board in Dolomite.  I did not start to school until I was eight years old.  The usual age was seven years old, but my mother held me out a year.  I went through the eighth grade at this school.  At one time it had a high school, too, but later the high school students went to Bessemer High School and then later to Hueytown High School.  I went to Bessemer High School and some of my teachers names were Miss DeWitt, Miss Thomas, Mr. Collier, and Professor Vance, the principal.

The first service station I remember was where Raymond Vowell had his station.  The building is still there, I do not remember where the people bought gasoline before Dolomite got a station.

I can remember the first funeral I attended that was not by horse and buggy, but by automobiles.  After the funeral, one woman remarked, "It looked like they couldn't get him there fast enough".

When I was small, people did not use funeral homes.  When a person died, the neighbors would bathe and dress the deceased.  The Undertaker would bring the coffin to the home.  The coffins were made of wood and the prices varied. My father died in 1922 and he was taken care of by the neighbors.  He had a steel vault, but had a wooden coffin.

I don't remember when they started embalming, but they did do it in 1922. I guess embalming was by choice when it was first started.  I imagine it was like using the funeral homes when they started, it was by choice.  I don't know what the rules are now.

Medicines that my father sold in his store were as follows:  Quinine for chills and fever, Swamp Root for kidney trouble, turpentine for cuts, etc., kerosene for a nail puncture in the foot. Laudnam for pain.  Laudnam was taken off the shelf because they said it was "dope".  Black Draught was a laxative.   Castoria was used for babies to relax them.  Castor Oil was also used back then.

Dolomite received two newspapers, The Birmingham Ledger and The Birmingham News.  They were delivered to the homes of people who subscribed.  Young boys also sold "Grit", a weekly publication.  When I was a small child, there were no radios, etc.,  We kept up with things through the daily papers. Mr brother, Wilson S. Brown, was a carrier for The Birmingham Ledger. 

As I remember, early social life in Dolomite consisted of parties, Square dances, box suppers and spelling bees.  The Sweet Gum Flat School was used for social events after the school closed.  I can remember of a tacky party being held there.  Square dances were there.  I cannot remember who did the square dance calling.  I just sat by and watched.  We never had square dances at the school on Edwards Streeet because there wasn't room.  By the time I was big enough to participate, they had quit having square dances.

When I was a small child, a black church was located somewhere in the area back of where Charlie Zimmerman lives today.  A tornado completely destroyed the building.  I'm sorry I do not know where the black churches were located after this church, but there are more than one today.

Whe I was a young teenager, J. T. Sloan had a dairy on Owen Circle.  My father bought milk from him for his store.

An ice wagon use to come around once or twice a week to deliver ice to the homes and stores for their ice boxes.  At one time, Dolomite had an ice house.  Raymond Vowell ran a service station for many years.

Today, the main street through the Dolommite areas is dotted with business of all types.  There is a funeral home, Brown-Service West.  It is located in the Hueytown area, but prbably at one time the land was in Dolomite.  I have never really known just where Dolomite ended and Hueytown began.  As stated before, Hueytown took in the Garywood area last year.

Some time after we sold the Garywood land, around 1925, George Knight's father opened up a store there.  George ran the store for many years after his father died.  George just closed his store about 5 years ago.  It was a nice big store and a fine place to trade.  George sold the business instead of closing.

Also in the more recent years, Nan Wilson ran a store, then the Ashecrafts ran it, then Clowdus.  There were others who ran the store, but I do not know them.  I've just mentioned the ones I can recall.  The B&W Auto Parts store is in the building today.

Buchanan ran a hardware store and Barber Shop.  Have not been closed many years.  At one time around the 1950's, Ed and Margie Baughn ran a store in Garywood.  The Tennyson's had a cafe there, too.  Clara Posey ran a beauty shop.

Also the Barnes ran a service station in Dolomite.  I think it was a Pan Am.  The Whittle's run the station now.  It is an Amoco station.  Others may have run the station, but these two are the only ones I can think of.

Henry Daniel had a small store above me and also Charlie Zimmerman had a store on Pleasant Grove Road.

New business of all types are here now.

The new I-59 freeway is nearby.  One can get on the freeway at Rutledge Springs just below The Bethlehem Methodist Church and be in Birmingham or Bessemer in a matter of minutes.  Garywood Baptist Church was built around the late 1940's or early 1950's.

Since the Dolomite Post Office moved to its new location, it has gotten new customers from people traveling on the main road.  Dolomite got rural mail delivery about three years ago.  It was a blessing to the sick and elderly who could not get to the Post Office to get their mail.  Maybe I should have said house delivery instead of rural delivery, but anyway prior to this we had to get the mail from the post office.

I have tried to cover as much history as I could think of.  I have not intentionally left anyone or anything out.  I just could not possibly think of everything.  I have also tried to give an accurate account, but if I have made a mistake, it was accidental.

I see I failed to give the name of our present Postmaster.  She is Mrs. Betty McGown.  Mrs. McGown is a lovely person and a dedicated Postmaster.

Also I have learned that before the Knight's ran the grocery store in Garywood that Mr. & Mrs. Paul Gulledge ran the store.

Martha Jean Crain

The following prices were taken from my father's store ledger that I have, dated 1883-1884.  These prices were 1883.

    Salt  - 5 cents                 Watermelon - 5 cents            Shirt -75 cents
    Tobacco - 5 cents               Starch - 5 cents                    Soda- 5 cents
    Dipper - 10 cents               Castor Oil - 10 cents           Cigar - 5cents
    Thread - 5 cents                Pepper - 5 cents                Tea - 5cents
    Bluing - 5 cents                    Bucket - 25 cents               Sugar- 10 cents
    Suspenders - 25 cents           Crackers - 5 cents              Matches-5 cents
    94# beef at 5 cents  $4.70
    300# corn at 65 cents per bu.   $2.70
    Axle grease - 5 cents
    1 B Bl. Flour  $7.00
    1/2 bu. potatoes - 70 cents
    Soda Water - 5 cents
    1 gal. cider - 50 cents
    14# hame at 16 cents  $2.25
    5# butter at 20 cents lb.  $1.00
    1/2 bu. meal - 45 cents

    To my knowledge, my father's store was the oldest store in Dolomite.  My father sold miners oil to the miners.  When they changed over to carbide lights, he sold them carbide.