Bayview is a former coal mining village on 200 acres on the south shore of Bayview Lake in the Warrior coal field in western Jefferson County. It has since been annexed into the town of Mulga, which is enclosed within the corporate limits of Adamsville. The compact planned settlement is accessed by Bayview Road off of Mulga Loop Road.
The area of the present village of Bayview was developed by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TCI) , beginning in 1909. The town, planned for 500 workers and their families, was sited on bluffs above the shore of the newly-created industrial reservoir. Along with Docena and Edgewater, it was one of three "model mining villages" planned by the company to implement the industrial welfare program developed by president George Crawford. The company hoped to attract better quality, more settled and dedicated workers by creating a company-owned village with modern sanitation, orderly houses, schools, churches, and recreation opportunities.
Compared to the already-settled village of Docena, Bayview demonstrates a more highly-developed layout. Concentric curving streets follow existing site contours and leave space at the center for community facilities. A railroad extended along Railroad Avenue, connecting the village to a railroad junction at Edgewater. The first houses were of the 4-room square top, pyramid-roof type common to many industrial villages of the early 20th century. The houses were framed with southern yellow pine and topped with metal roofs.
Each house had a yard and a privy building at the alley which contained a coal scuttle and garbage bin, all serviced by TCI sanitation department trucks. A group of two-story supervisors' houses and a "teacherage" were built. Later workers' houses, built after 1915, were constructed in other styles with varying rooflines, including shotguns, 6-room duplexes, and 4-room gabled houses with attached porches. The village was racially segregated, with separate lots for white and black churches and schools.
In 1913 TCI reorganized their health department, hiring Lloyd Noland to supervise from a made-to-order infirmary in Fairfield. A medical dispensary with one doctor and an assistant was opened in Bayview, providing free services to those miners who opted into the company's $1.25/month "medical list." The company also provided social workers to each of its villages. Each worker kept a "community house" with a full slate of programs for children and wives aimed at applying modern scientific ideas about proper housekeeping and social health.
In 1916 residents of Bayview participated in a major pageant, called Wenonah: The Magic Word produced through the company schools to celebrate the establishment of a new model village at Wenonah. Other recreational and artistic opportunities included industrial league baseball, weekly dances, community sings, company sponsored lectures and literature libraries covering technical topics on mining and manufacturing, and various competitions for gardening and decorating the houses.
The town was expanded to accommodate a wartime boom in demand for steel in 1918. Renovations to existing houses provided running water and, in some cases, indoor toilets. The program of social welfare continued at full strength through the 1920s, but the company's commitment to it was tested by numerous factors that emerged during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The mine tipple was shipped to TCI's mine in Whitwell, Tennessee in 1928. The company's schools were turned over to the Jefferson County School System in 1932 and the social science department was dismantled the following year.
During the second World War, employment in Bayview reached its peak. These workers were more mobile and less dependent on the company for goods, services and recreation. In 1952 all the village real estate was sold to the John W. Galbreath Real Estate company ("America's foremost broker of company towns.") to be subdivided and sold. TCI workers living in the houses were given the first option on the properties, with the company offering a financing plan to help them make the transition from renters to owners.
In the years since, the village has gradually lost most of the unique elements of its role as a model village. The schools were closed by the county after the mines closed. Several of the houses have been destroyed or dismantled. Others have been extensively modified or enlarged. Most of the privy buildings have been removed. The community was annexed into the city of Mulga. The commissary stayed open for a while as a convenience store, but was left vacant before the 1990s.
- White, Marjorie Longenecker (1981) The Birmingham District: An Industrial History and Guide. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society ISBN 9990230099
- Rikard, Marlene Hunt (November 1981) "'Take Everything You Are...and Give it Away': Pioneer Industrial Social Workers at TCI." Journal of the Birmingham Historical Society Vol. 7, No. 2, p. 24-41.