References: Alabama

Table of Contents

Scene: Bram Pilcher’s cabin. Early morning. In a mining camp in the Red Hill section of Alabama.

There are many regions and parks throughout the United States named Red Hills most of these locations have little or no relevance to the setting of Candles. Here are the two references I found that can relate back to Candles.

(Proceed with caution, many of the following facts are post Candles information.)

Map of Alabama

(click image for full-size version)

Red Mountain is a long ridge running southwest-northeast and dividing Jones Valley from Shades Valley south of Birmingham, Alabama. It is part of the Ridge-and-Valley province of the Appalachian mountains. The Red Mountain Formation of hard Silurian rock strata lies exposed in several long crests, and was named “Red Mountain” because of the rust-stained rock faces and prominent seams of red hematite iron ore. Currently, most of Birmingham’s television and radio stations have their studios and/or transmitters located on Red Mountain. Red Mountain is also home to the newly-created Red Mountain Park, one of the nation’s largest urban parks at 1,108-acres making it larger than even New York City’s Central Park.

Red Mountain is now one of Birmingham’s most prominent upscale neighborhoods. It is home to the majority of the multi-million dollar residences and estates that are located within the city proper. The mountain developed a symbolic place as the source of wealth. Its slopes served as the site for large estates and upper-class developments which offered cool breezes and a panoramic view of the growing industrial city from above the constant layer of thick black smoke.

The proximity of Red Mountain’s ore to nearby sources of coal and limestone was the impetus to develop and promote the Birmingham District as an industrial site.

Birmingham

The turn of the century brought the substantial growth that gave Birmingham the nickname “The Magic City” as the downtown area developed from a low-rise commercial and residential district into a busy grid of neoclassical mid-rise and high-rise buildings and busy streetcar lines. Between 1902 and 1912 four large office buildings were constructed at the intersection of 20th Street, the central north-south spine of the city, and 1st Avenue North, which connected the warehouses and industrial facilities stretching along the east-west railroad corridor. This impressive group of early skyscrapers was nicknamed “The Heaviest Corner on Earth“.

The Great Depression hit Birmingham especially hard as sources of capital that were fueling the city’s growth rapidly dried up at the same time that farm laborers, driven off the land, made their way to the city in search of work. New Deal programs made important contributions to the city’s infrastructure and artistic legacy, including such key improvements as Vulcan‘s tower and Oak Mountain State Park.

Mobile

The turn of the century brought the Progressive Era to Mobile and saw Mobile’s economic structure evolve along with a significant increase in population. The population increased from around 40,000 in 1900 to 60,000 by 1920. During this time the city received $3 million in federal grants for harbor improvements, which drastically deepened the shipping channels in the harbor. During and after World War I manufacturing became increasingly vital to Mobile’s economic health with shipbuilding and steel production being two of the most important. During the Progressive Era social equality and race relations in Mobile worsened; segregation became a large issue in the area.

World War II led to a massive military effort causing a considerable increase in Mobile’s population, largely due to the huge influx of workers coming into Mobile to work in the shipyards and at the Brookley Army Air Field. Between 1940 and 1943, over 89,000 people moved into Mobile to work for war effort industries. Mobile was one of eighteen U.S. cities producing Liberty ships at its Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company to support the war effort by producing ships faster than the Axis powers could sink them.

Tuscaloosa

The home of The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa is also the center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for the region commonly known as West Alabama. From 1826 to 1846 Tuscaloosa was the capital of Alabama. During this period, in 1831, The University of Alabama was established. The town’s population and economy grew rapidly until the departure of the capital to Montgomery caused a rapid decline in population. By the advent of the 20th Century, the growth of the University of Alabama and the mental health-care facilities in the city, along with strong national economy fueled a steady growth in Tuscaloosa which continued unabated for 100 years. Also in Tuscaloosa is Stillman College, which opened in 1875, is a historically Black liberal arts college which enrolls approximately 1,200 students.

There is a Bald Ridge campsite in Georgia that happens to be on Lake Sidney Lanier, whom Williams’ received his middle name for. There is also a Bald Ridge in Jefferson County, Alabama, though it seems unlikely that this is where the reference is taken from. There is a Bald Ridge Reservation in Northeast AL.

The Red Hills Salamander is the official state amphibian of Alabama.

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