In May 2011 the Hoover Historical Society formed a committee to restore the Crawford Fire Tower Cab. The committee worked as a team with the City of Hoover to document its history, restore the cab, furnish it with accessories and construct an exhibit showcasing the fire cab.
The tower which was built on the site of the Aldrich Villa, a home built about 1911 by William F. Aldrich. Aldrich, and his brother Truman, owned coal mining facilities in Aldrich, near Montevallo, Alabama.
In 1939, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the fire tower near the intersection of Shades Crest Road and Farley Road in the Bluff Park Community. Initially, it was called the Hale Springs Lookout. The one hundred (100) foot high tower was manufactured by Aermotor and was of the steel structure type.
In 1942, the tower was dedicated and named for the late George Gordon Crawford, president of the Tennessee, Coal, Iron & Railroad Company (presently USX) for many years. Locally, it was called the Bluff Park Fire Tower. The Crawford Fire Tower was used in conjunction with the Wharton (Ruffner) and Ted Joy (Rock Mountain) towers to pinpoint forest fires in Jefferson County.
When several small airplanes became more economical for spotting forest fires, in 1992, the tower was demolished and only the cab, which is the top of the tower, was saved. At that time, the Alabama Forestry Commission gave the cab to the City of Hoover. The cab, which was in deteriorating condition, was moved from the site adjacent to Hoover Fire Station No. 4 on Municipal Drive to a maintenance shop where it was reconditioned and cab accessories were purchased.
After considering several sites, a decision was made to locate the Exhibit adjacent to Hoover Fire Station number 2 at 1591 Patton Chapel Road in Hoover. The location is across from Gwin Elementary School. The Exhibit was dedicated on October 31, 2012 and is open to viewing by the public.
The project was accomplished through team work with the City of Hoover Leadership, Public Works Department, Fire Department, HHS Fire Cab Committee and a number of individuals who were interviewed
Prepared by: Jim Lyons, Chairman Crawford Fire Cab Committee