City of Avondale

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The City of Avondale was an independent municipality founded in 1887 by the Avondale Land Company, which was owned by Benjamin F. Roden, William Morris and Martin Sumner. They purchased the land from Peyton King, who specified that the 40 rugged acres surrounding the spring remain dedicated as a public park.

The company financed a mule-drawn streetcar line along 1st Avenue North to the proposed business district on Spring Street. As Avondale's commercial district grew, the Spring Branch, which was the spring's outlet, flowed northward in two open channels on either side of the street.

The new town, incorporated in 1889, was named after the Cincinnati suburb of Avondale, which impressed the members of the company who had travelled there to seek backing for their development. Cincinnati's Avondale, in turn, was named for "Avondale Parish" in Scotland, the site of the Battle of Drumclog between Covenant and Claverhouse in 1679. The name was used in Sir Walter Scott's "Old Mortality". It is of Celtic origin, meaning "river", and thus several small rivers in Britain are so named, including the one in Warwickshire which flows past Shakespeare's Stratford.

In the 1890 census, 1,000 residents were counted within the borders of the new city. Ten years later that number had tripled, and was closer to 5,000 when it was annexed into Birmingham in 1907.

The Avondale City Hall was located at 4120 2nd Avenue South. Avondale's first Mayor, serving from 1887 to 1889, was butcher Henry F. Dusenberry. He was succeeded by Freeman Bradley Daniel (1890-1891, interim 1909-1910), Thomas Hearn Steele (1891-1892), John Robert Ellard (1893-1900), and William Starbuck (1901-1909).

Avondale Mills was built just outside the limits of the town in 1897 and became one of the area's largest employers. Important manufacturers in Avondale included the Smith Gin Company (later merged into the Continental Gin Company), and the Avondale Stove and Foundry Company.