Thomas

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This article is about the former municipality. For the current Birmingham neighborhood, see Thomas neighborhood.

Thomas is a former municipality, coinciding with the current Thomas neighborhood, one of Birmingham's 99 neighborhoods. The area, originally Williamson Hawkins' plantation, was purchased by David Thomas with his sons and Robert Sayre. They constructed the Thomas Furnaces for their Pioneer Mining & Manufacturing Corporation, which went into blast in 1888 and 1890.

The first worker homes built in Thomas by the Pioneer Corporation were modeled after those in factory towns in Pennsylvania. After the operation was purchased by Republic Steel in 1899 more typical house plans were adopted, including shotgun, square-top and bungalow-style houses. Plant superintendents and supervisors lived at the top of thetown site, north of 1st Street on "Silk Stocking Row". Successive streets, dubbed "Cotton Stocking Row" and "Bare Legged Row" as they sloped down toward the furnaces, housed skilled workers (mostly white) and unskilled workers (including Italian immigrants). The houses closest to the furnace were occupied by black laborers and their families. Within the town proper, which had a population of around 550 households in 1912, company workers kept the streets cleared and planted with crape myrtles and calla lilies. As operations grew, more workers settled in nearby East Thomas.

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