I Remember Old Tuscaloosa, February 12-13, 1971

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I Remember Old Tuscaloosa, February 12-13, 1971


History--Tuscaloosa (AL)
Maxwell, Fred (Frederick Richard Jr.), 1889-1988


Fred Maxwell wrote "I Remember Old Tuscaloosa" for a weekly newspaper in Tuscaloosa called The Graphic from December, 1970 through December 1971. The Graphic was founded, owned and published by Maxwell's daughter Camille Elebash and her husband Karl Elebash beginning in 1957. It was sold to The Tuscaloosa News in 1976 and ceased publication sometime later.

To see the complete article enlarged click on the image.


Fred Maxwell


Camille Elebash


The Graphic


February 12-13, 1971


Brenda Harris (Description)
Tuscaloosa Public Library






Tuscaloosa (AL)


The era 1905-12 saw a big change in family transportation. This was the period that transition from horse and buggy travel to the automobile was being experience by local families and commercial travelers.

Most families had used horse and buggy means of local travel for a long time. Many families became attached to the horses and I am leaving it to these individuals to recount the interesting stories of their favorites.

I would like to tell of two pair of horses that were much in the public eye and were widely admired in Tuscaloosa.

“Peaches and Cream” were the names of two lovely Palominos—light cream color with long white mane and tails. Their place of residence was a livery stable located at what is now the site of Perry’s Pride (corner University Blvd. and 22nds Ave.). Their harness was resplendent with bright metal and patent leather trimmings. The most popular “rig” or vehicle to which they were hitched was a landau—a four-wheel vehicle with top divided so it could be used open or closed.

Although sometimes used at weddings, formal parties and dances, the prime use of this horse and carriage was to transport and provide a sideline seat at football and baseball games at the University of Alabama for the beautiful young ladies who were sponsors and maids for the game. They were escorted by the team manager and assistant manager since the team captain and his assistant were both players.

The landau had two seats facing each other. The coachman was resplendent with top hat, long coat and other trappings and he had a high front driver’s seat on his rig.

“Samson and Dewey” were the names of the other pair of horses. Their residence was at the City Fire Station located on the northwest corner of the Court House square until about 1907 and thence on 7th St. about the center of the block east of the Court House square.

These handsome steeds were large, coal black in color with a white “star” on their foreheads. A Mr. Weatherby was caretaker and custodian of the fire station and he made an excellent trainer. At the sound of a gong and trip of the chain across the horse stalls the horses rushed up to their places under the suspended harness. It was only a matter of seconds to snap the horse collars together and snap the driver lines (bridle reins) to the horse bit, and all was ready for the driver’s command, “let’s go.”

The horse cart or fire wagon was painted a brilliant red. It was equipped with fire hose, two small extension ladders, and two chemical fire extinguishers. It was a thrilling sight to see the fire wagon go by with the horses in full gallop.

There were no successors to these two famous pair of horses. “Peaches and Cream” were replaced by Packards, Cadillacs, etc., and “Samson and Dewey” lost their job to a larger red fire truck (circa 1910) whose successors now have a high pressure water booster pump, snorkels, self-erecting ladders and other sophisticated equipment.

“Samson and Dewey” were kept by the city and used to pull a wagon for collecting ashes since without gas service both stores and residences largely used coal for heating. One day the ash wagon was parked within one half a block of the fire station while the driver was loading ashes. True to tradition when these horses heard the alarm and gong they took off on their own, driverless, and followed the truck to the fire, spilling ashes right and left from the wagon.

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