Early History of the Midfield Area
Williamson Hawkins was related to David Crocket and when his first son was born, he named the child David Crocket Hawkins. When David Hawkins married Mary Finley in 1831, his father, Williamson Hawkins, gave the young couple land which surrounded the Big Blue Spring (now Midfield). David selected a high site near the spring upon which to build his home. He selected “the Carolina plan”, which were two or more rooms connected by a long hallway or dogtrot. The house was built of cedar logs and soon became a center of gracious hospitality for weary travelers who stopped at the big spring to drink of the cool water.
The Civil War was devastating to the Hawkins family. (They were slave owners.) David Hawkins and his wife, Mary, died a short time after the war. With the coming of the industrial era in Jefferson County, Williamson eventually sold his property to Samuel Thomas of Pennsylvania, one of the founders of Republic Steel and Iron Company, which still stands today. The land around the great spring was eventually developed by the Hawkins Spring Land Co. The Bessemer Highway barely missed the old Hawkins cemetery that was located at the Woodward Rd. intersection across the road that leads down to the left of the library.. The graves across the highway were moved to the back of the Walnut Grove cemetery.
The land in and around Midfield was at one time fertile farmland and adjoining the town from the east was dairy farms. The Hodges’ Dairy Farm operated here and also Hereford Dairy. On the south side of Woodward Rd. stands historic R.P. McTyeire House, one of the first Colonial Revival houses in Jefferson County. Mr. McTyeire was at one time Mayor of Bessemer.
With the development of Birmingham, and later Bessemer, Hawkins Spring became a favorite place for picnics and outings. By 1888 two streetcar lines ran regularly between the two industrial cities, a north line and a south line. The north line, which was located on what (in Midfield) is now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., passed a short distance from the spring and stopped for those wanting to picnic, fish, or play there. A restored streetcar waiting station can still be seen on the corner where Birwood Street connects to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.. Walnut Grove Methodist Church was built in 1910 near where the carline and Huntsville Road (Woodward Road) intersected. Walnut Grove cemetery still stands on the corner of Woodward Rd. and the Bessemer Super Highway today.
Note: B.Y.Williams Sr. Dr. was once Midfield St. and before that, Fairfield Rd. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. was once Woodfield Dr. and before that, the North Birmingham – Bessemer Streetcar Line. Woodward Rd. was once The Old Huntsville Rd. Valley Road was once Possom Valley Rd.