Congratulations Robertsdale and here’s to another 100 years of growth

GCM Staff
Posted 7/22/21

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the city of Robertsdale on the celebration of its 100th anniversary this year.

The City of Robertsdale kicked off its Centennial celebration, …

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Congratulations Robertsdale and here’s to another 100 years of growth

Posted
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the city of Robertsdale on the celebration of its 100th anniversary this year. The City of Robertsdale kicked off its Centennial celebration, marking 100 years of incorporation this month. The town was initially established in 1905 by the Southern Plantation Development Co. of Chicago. The community was named for Dr. B.F. Roberts, an officer in the company. Robertsdale was founded along the newly established Louisville and Nashville rail spur, which was extended north from Bay Minette in 1904. By 1915, a rural route was established in Robertsdale and the town was incorporated in February of 1921 with William Andrew Hammond serving as the town’s first mayor. A native of Ontario, Canada, Hammond was traveling with his family to Cuba when he landed in Mobile, was introduced to Roberts, who convinced him to start a store which would eventually become one of Robertsdale’s most iconic landmarks, Hammond’s Grocery, through Hammond’s son, Walter “Pop” Hammond. Hammond was also instrumental in obtaining Robertsdale’s first post office and became Robertsdale’s first postmaster. He held this position for 20 years. During its 100 years, Robertsdale has had just 11 mayors, along with numerous council members and city leaders who all had a vision of growing this small farming community into what it is today. Visionaries like Dr. Amos Garrett, a dentist who served as mayor for more than 14 years, carried the town through the depression and purchased land for a city park, which would later bear his name. J.D. “Josh” Sellars, who served as Robertsdale’s mayor for 28 years, led the town through the purchase of electrical and gas systems from the town of Foley, paved every street in Robertsdale and brought Vanity Fair Mills to town. The Robertsdale Livestock Auction was also established during this time and served Baldwin County and the surrounding area for more than six decades until it closed in 2014. The Baldwin County Fair calls Robertsdale home and will celebrate its 70th annual event in September. Under Sellars leadership the town also built and paid for a new fenced football stadium with concrete bleachers, a press box and score board at Robertsdale High School. J.D. Sellars Stadium continues to serve Robertsdale High School to this day. In the 1908s George P. “Pervy” Thames, took the helm as mayor and helped secure a $385,000 grant to improve sewage and drainage, a $24,982 grant for the pavilion at Garrett Park, and a $140,000 grant for street improvements. He also led the city to purchase a 60-acre tract of land in northwest Robertsdale to be used as an industrial park and won a $150,000 grant for utilities at the park. Baldwin County E-911 and UPS opened offices on the site while Thames was mayor. Robertsdale also upgraded its water system and got a new water tank during his tenure. Baldwin County Mental Health opened offices on property set aside for doctor’s offices on U.S. 90 during this time, the Park and Street Trees Committee was formed, and Baldwin National Bank donated an ambulance to the City of Robertsdale. The city also received a $190,000 grant for the construction of a Senior Citizen’s Center and Park under Thames’ leadership, which were both established on East Chicago Street. The Senior Center now bears his name. The city has continued to grow with the help of Mayor Charles H. Murphy and city leaders. Murphy, who was elected in 1992, recently passed Sellars as the longest serving mayor of Robertsdale. Robertsdale will continue to celebrate its Centennial throughout 2021 with events planned during the Central Baldwin Education Foundation’s Honeybee Festival in November, culminating with a parade and Centennial Ball in February of 2022. The city is also in the process of completing a Centennial project, which includes improvements to Honeybee Park, the construction of a new Utilities Complex, and plans for a new amphitheater. While the city of Robertsdale today might not be recognizable to those who established the town more than 100 years ago, we are sure that they would be proud of what the city has accomplished. Congratulations to the city of Robertsdale and here’s to another successful 100 years.