Traveling west on Viking Drive from Highway 118 into Jasper the old roadbed can be seen as one approaches the office building of the Daily Mountain Eagle. This long ago deserted roadbed continues behind the DME building and the building housing the American Red Cross to the T.R. Simmons Elementary School property where it no longer exist, having been erased by decades of progress. The old road continued through downtown Jasper crossing the creek behind the site where the Engles would build their store. Continuing westward the road roughly followed the present day Holly Grove Road and exited Walker County at Eldridge. From the East the road ran through Elyton (Birmingham) into present day Walker County, entering at Democrat (Sumiton).
The old road is rich in history, orginating as an Indian trail blazed by Native Americans as they inhabited and traversed this area.
When I was first made aware of this old road, it was represented as being a Northern branch of the old Spanish Trail. Traveling east along this trail the route led to the Atlantic at Charlestown, South Carolina. A westward journey would extend all the way to the Pacific in California. This was a coast to coast route, which led one through present day Jasper, Alabama.
There is a lot of history associated with Walker County, of which many are not aware, that predates the first forages and settlements of the white man in their new land. Jasper and Walker County are rich in this history and a study group is being formed to identify and preserve this history.
The early settlers who homesteaded and developed this area left a treasure of historical importance which should be preserved. Sadly, much of it has already been lost, lying in the many cemeteries throughout the county.
Those who may be interested in learning more about this effort to preserve as much of this history as possible can contact Lane Reno at the Bankhead Community Center at 816 20th Court (off 9th Avenue) in Jasper.