Forgotten Trails: Saga on city's downtown street names continues
Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2006
This is a continuation of the articles I began last week. You can tell by the writing that I did not write these articles. They are the writings of Mr. Emmett Brooks and were in The Brewton Standard during summer and fall months of 1956. I thought everyone would be interested in some of the history.
July 26, 1956
Taking St. Nicholas Avenue as the next item on the agenda for discussion of names of Brewton Streets, it is interesting to note that this thoroughfare was only within recent years given its present designation, although there was one shown on the original map that was referred to last week.
For many years this avenue was officially and popularly known as Mill Street, the reason for which will be explained. However, some 15 years or so ago those who owned homes along its decided that the name was no longer appropriate and requested the city council to change it.
The council agreed and several suggested names were kicked around before someone referred to the first map of the town made by the Catholic priest. It was found that the father had designated it on the map as “St. Nicholas” and the new-old name was adopted by the council.
For many years the name Mill Street was most appropriate. Located on the west side and extended from the present Farmer's Exchange to a point about opposite the county jail were operations of, first, Blacksher-Miller Lumber Company and later Lovelace Lumber Company.
Blacksher-Miller was owned by the Blacksher brothers Dave, Jeptha and Uriah and Thomas R. Miller. After a number of years, the company sold its plant to E.M. and W.Y. Lovelace and their company manufactured lumber there until 1922 when their supply of marketable timber was exhausted and they liquidated their properties.
In the meantime, the Blackshers moved to Mobile where they continued in the lumber business and Mr. Miller became associated with F.C. Brent of Pensacola (for whom the Brent building is named) and W.W. Downing in the Cedar Creek Mill Company which later became the present T.R. Miller Mill Company.
The only immediate descendant of either of the Blackshers who resides in Brewton is E.M. Blacksher, a son of Uriah. His sister was the late Mrs. L.A. Touart and she and her first husband, Samuel S. Foshee erected the brick home on Belleville Avenue which is now owned by Mrs. Ed Leigh McMillan and occupied by the Seaman Hudson family.
Mr. Miller built the home in which Mrs. John R. Miller now resides and he had a large family, only three of whom are now living.
These are Mrs. T.Sidney Frazer of Union Springs, Mrs. Ed. Leigh McMillan and David B.(Brent) Miller of Brewton.
Mr. Downing also had several children. The family's first home was on St. Joseph Avenue on the lot just south of the city hall. Later Mr. Downing erected the large home on Belleville which is now owned and occupied by one of his sons, Adrian. Two other sons, Wiley Jr. and John R., also reside here while all of his daughters live elsewhere: Mrs. Anna D. Sawyer of Montgomery, Mrs. Claude Allen of Miami, Fla., Mrs. John Moulder of New York City and Mrs. Dick Pope of Cypress Gardens, Fla.
The two surviving sons of Edwin M. Lovelace and the two daughters of William Yancey Lovelace now live in Brewton. These are Ed Mac and Flournoy Lovelace, Mrs. Dallie Shackelford and Mrs. Stella Kate Downing. The two sisters reside in their father's home and Flournoy and his family occupy the E.M. Lovelace home.
The first home of W.Y. Lovelace was a three-story, colonial type residence that burned in 1931. The destruction by fire is, or was, the only such misfortune to befall any owner of the many large homes here.
None realizes more than I that I have digressed considerably from this week's subject, but all of the comments are related to it. After all, you can't wax eloquent over anything that for so many years bore the unromantic name of “Mill Street.”
Next week I will continue with another street and how it got its name. If you can add anything to what I am telling, let me know.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me at 867-4876 or mail to P.O. Box 887, Brewton, Ala 36426.