Colonel O.R. Hood House
Backstory and Context
Colonel O.R. Hood
Colonel O.R. Hood was born in 1867 in Asheville, Alabama and studied law at Peabody Normal College (what is now the University of Nashville, in Nashville, Tennessee). After graduating in 1889, he opened a law practice here in Gadsden. He also met and married his wife, Julie, at this time. Hood was elected alderman in 1893 and remained in that position until he became a member of the City Council in 1895. In that role, he also served on the council's education committee, where he proposed implementing a grading system. As noted above, in 1901, Hood attended the state constitutional convention.
Gadsen is fortunate to be in an area with significant amounts of raw materials necessary to manufacture iron and steel production as well as next to the Coosa River. These factors prompted Hood, a local developer named William Lay, and Lay's son, Earl, to establish the Alabama Power Company in 1906. Willam Lay's goal was to build a hydroelectric dam on the river. It was eventually built in 1913 after three years of construction and is named after him. Another accomplishment Hood achieved was convincing the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to select Gadsden as the location of its southern branch. In the 1930s, he became became president of the Gadsden Loan and Investment Company, vice president of Sanquoit Spinning Company of Alabama, and director of Gadsden's Chamber of Commerce. His law firm continued to be very successful (he added additional partners) and served as a legal advisor to many local companies. He died in 1951.
The Woman's Club was founded in 1923 and originally called the Axis Club until 1929. Its mission was (and continues to be) to promote the social and educational development of the community. Over the years, the club has participated in a variety of activities such as organizing blood drives, awarding scholarships, sponsoring fund drives, planting trees, and promoting the expansion of the Gadsden Public Library. The club has also offered the Hood House as meeting space for other community groups.
"Colonel Hood House." Alabama Historical Commission, Historical Marker Program. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://services2.arcgis.com/XBn0Kai3hQ20FeCo/arcgis/rest/services/AHC_Historical_Markers_1/FeatureServer/0/145/attachments/145.
Qualls, Shirley D. "Colonel O.R. Hood House." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. May 8, 1986. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/9f7538fa-2563-40d4-97de-db50a179adef.
Both images by Chris Pruitt, via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Colonel_O.R._Hood_House