The Calhoun County Gazette of Calhoun County Alabama presents local news, sports, and features of interest about the area. It is dedicated to the people of Calhoun County and to others who would like to know more about us and the great opportunities for travel, fun, and business in our region.
Feature Story 
Anniston Hot Blast
See the entire premiere issue of the Anniston Hot Blast from August 1883 only on!
By Norman Morrison               presents the founding story of Anniston, Alabama in a unique way....through the words of those who were there...
received a mail one day from a viewer, Terry McFall of Choccolocco, AL who said he had an original copy of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST. Well, I nearly flipped. For anyone familiar in the least with the history of the area, this would be a tremendous find and one I wanted to present very badly.
     It took awhile to make the arrangements to get my hands on the newspaper, and in the meantime the owner started having second thoughts. He said it really was in pretty good condition, which got me to thinking...
     Before I ever saw it I contacted the president of Consolidated Publishing Co. here in town, (aka Anniston Star)
Phillip A. Sanguinetti. My purpose was two fold. First, I wanted to see if there had been a commemorative edition published sometime in the past...and I knew this man would know because he's been there forever. Second, I just wanted an excuse to meet the power behind the throne at the Star.

Continued below...    
      I scored on both both accounts. As it turned out, I did indeed have a reproduction model of the Hot Blast, though Mr. Sanguinetti did not remember when it was published. On the last account, I had a very enjoyable chat with the man. He not only gave his blessings for GC to publish the Hot Blast, but indicated that it was a good thing. He also noted that the actual first edition resides in plastic on his office wall. I felt contacting the Anniston Star important not only because it is the direct descendant of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST, and because of copyright concerns, but because it was the right thing to do. It also helped to close the historical loop for me before progressing.
     The exact reason why the ANNISTON HOT BLAST holds the top position in long gone newspapers is a mystery to me. It was one of many local periodicals of the day including, The Evening Star, The Republic Weekly, and The Labor Review Weekly.
     Perhaps it was the name, ANNISTON HOT BLAST, which referred to the chief industry of the area, iron and steel. 
     There is limited information on the internet about the 1880 period. According to an undated piece in the Anniston Star, The [Evening] Star and the Hot Blast merged to form the Anniston Star. The ANNISTON HOT BLAST was begun as the Jacksonville Republican, which was moved to Anniston shortly after the relocation of the county seat from Jacksonville to Anniston late in the 19th century.
     Mr. Sanguinetti, in our chat, related that the minute specifics of the machinations of those days so long ago are a matter of dispute. However, in the broad matters of failures, mergings, and movings, the story above is accurate enough.

     History satisfied, we come now to the reproduction copy of the Hot Blast on
     The newspaper was scanned in 4 sections per page and then put back together. What you will view is a copy of a copy, since my copy is a reproduction. There are minor inaccuracies of matching the sections, but beyond that, there are notable flaws in the reproduction copy which for the most part may have been in the original. I find that the original graphic flaws actually add character to the project. (Less so my own! For that I apologize.)
     Each page runs to more than one meg each so if you're still using a modem it will take some time to load. High speed users won't see much lag time as the pictures appear quickly even though not fully loaded.
     I chose to magnify the pictures a little because the original text looks like maybe 7 point in size. The smallest text I can show you here is 8pt. Here is what 8pt looks like...  
This is 8pt text... The words on the ANNISTON HOT BLAST are smaller! In effect, imagine what it would look like to drag your paper across your computer screen...This is the apparent size of the pages of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST here on your pages. Cont Next Column...

    Click Here to do the Panoramic Maps!

To view the ANNISTON HOT BLAST pages click pictures above or these links:

     On the importance of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST project here on Well, if you can't read or don't care for history, it won't mean much. But, my friend, if you are a student of history, or perhaps an armchair social historian or anthropologist, you are in for a massive treat.
     The ANNISTON HOT BLAST is a treasure trove of information on the news, attitudes, people, products, and prices of the times at the very beginning of the town we call Anniston. Untold articles, essays, and projects could be made just from these 4 pages of tightly constructed prose.
     One neat thing is that it can all be done from the comfort of your computer right there at home. While there are additional microfilm copies of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST available at the library, you don't have to trudge 9 miles through the snow all barefoot and all. It's right here for you.
     Another neat thing, and perhaps the neatest, is that we also have the positively huge and detailed map of Anniston from 1888 on It shows Anniston when it was laid out like a doll house, perfect and mall like, before the years and sprawl blurred the edges. Placing these two artifacts together makes for a unique look at a community at the very beginning.
     As you scroll through the pages online here, you'll come to marvel as I did at the people of those times. Everything we have today was here when we arrived. In 1883 everything was in front of them. They had a town to build and a world to conquer and it seemed like anything was possible, including making a fortune. The story of the founder of Anniston, Samuel Noble is such a story, and it's presented in the opening words of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST.
     I feel that the presentation of the ANNISTON HOT BLAST along with the historical maps is a terrifically important resource for the residents of Calhoun County, Alabama to know. At the least enjoyable, and at the best, inspirational. The challenges of local life here today pale in comparison to that of our ancestors. They were a feisty bunch!

Special thanks
: This project would not have been possible without the ANNISTON HOT BLAST. The owner, Terry McFall of Choccolocco, has asked me to tell you that the 4 page copy you see here is for sale. It would make an eye popper of a collector's item for a local history fan, perhaps framed in plastic on a swinging hinge for easy reading....perhaps in the office of a doctor whose patients have plenty of wait time on their hands...etc. Contact if you are interested and I'll get you in touch.
The Maps: For the complete picture of Anniston in the 1880's you should make use of the maps we have here for you. First, you'll need to download and install the free viewer that allows you to fly around like Marley's ghost over the canvas. Afterwards, keep in mind that once you click the map link you'll need to be patient. Absolutely nothing happens until it fully loads. You could open a new window and go on surfing if you are of a nervous disposition. It's a treat worth the wait! ###


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