Early Midfield Businesses

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By 1958, there were 40 businesses in Midfield that included everything from a dental clinic to a paint factory. New schools, parks and churches became realities with incorporation. During this time a new sport was born when the new town was still an infant. A group of citizens purchased land and built a new kind of racetrack, which they named “Dixie Speedway”. Many of the young rookies got their start at Dixie Speedway who would later become stars of the sport. The track was later converted to the exciting special event of figure eight racing. Thousands of spectators came to the speedway to see the races and many of the existing NASCAR rules and regulations were established and refined there. John Simmons and two other Birmingham businessmen acquired Dixie Speedway on Dec. 27, 1962 and spent a considerable amount of money improving the tracks.

In 1959 the first Midfield Post Office opened in the back of the new Williams Hardware, where Midfield Hardware is now. The postmaster was B.Y. Williams Sr. and the first postal clerk was Mary Lou Bingham. The very first postmark was given to Mrs. Bingham on a post card. It said “Midfield Ala., April 1, 1959 a.m.”. Mail was delivered to the new postal area from the back of the post office.

In November of 2010 the Midfield Area Chamber of Commerce decided to invite all business owners and managers in Midfield to an “Open House”. President Buck Williams did a business survey and mailing labels were created for 181 Midfield businessesAs mentioned earlier, the first businesses in Midfield were W.V.O.K. Radio , which went “on air” with 50,000 watts in 1947, Auto Movies No. 1 on the Bessemer Super Highway, and a tavern called Alabama Inn on the corner of the Super Highway and Midfield Street (B.Y. Williams Sr. Dr.), where Egg Roll Express stands today. Down on the corner of Midfield St. and Woodward Rd. the old 1929 realty building had become a grocery store owned by Charlie LaRocca.

Prior to Midfield’s incorporation, two restaurants opened up on the Bessemer Highway that are well remembered by old timers. They were “Mary’s Drive-In”, (where there would later be a Putt-Putt Golf, Midfield Volkswagen then Midfield Dodge), and “Russell’s Coffee Shop”. Charlie Salami. owner of Russell’s, was an active member of the Midfield Lions Club and invented the first “Hot Dog On A Stick”. He patented the name “Corn Puppies” and announced on a billboard next to his parking lot, “Home of the Corn Puppy”. The patent only covered the name and didn’t stop others from producing the treat and calling the new fast food a “Corn Dog”. Ma Retha’s Restaurant operated there for years and is now closed up.

In 1952 “Midfield Plaza” opened on the corner of Woodward Rd. and Midfield Street (B.Y. Williams Sr. Dr.) and became Midfield’s first shopping center. Charlie LaRocca moved from across the street to open up Midfield Food Center there. Next was B.Y. Williams Hardware and Sundries, Bookout’s Midfield Barber Shop, Bill Whiten’s Cleaners, and a drive in restaurant called “Toot & Tell It”. Beauty Masters and South’s Finest Meats stand there today.

On Jan. 13,1953 Toney and Vince Carnaggio (Identical Twins) opened up Carnaggio’s Italian Restaurant on the Bessemer Super Highway. They split shifts for the hours of operation and people who didn’t know them that well wondered how one man could work from 8:30 in the morning until 11:00 that night or 1:00 the next morning. Carnaggio’s Restaurant was credited with serving the first pizza in Jefferson County and maybe even the whole state.
In 2007, after 55 years of operation, Carnaggio’s Restaurant and a Chevron Station on the corner, were demolished to make room for the CVS Pharmacy that stands there today.

Charlie LaRocca sold his old store to ex-wrestler Sailor Watkins who opened a restaurant / tavern there. The restaurant didn’t last long and B.Y.Williams Sr. bought the building from Watkins for a toy store that he opened for the 1953 Christmas season. In 1954 Williams sold the building to the city for a City Hall.

In 1958, Neal Hemphill had a small shopping center building constructed on the west side of Midfield Street for his plumbing business. The building also housed Tuggle’s Barber Shop, Pasquale’s Pizza, and Kelly’s Drugs. Work also began on a 2.5 million dollar shopping center by J.F. Costa and William R. Phillips. The Midfield Park Shopping Center opened in 1959. For many years this became a major shopping district west of the City of Birmingham and a great contribution to the City of Midfield.

By 1958, there were 40 businesses in Midfield that included everything from a dental clinic to a paint factory. New schools, parks and churches became realities with incorporation. During this time a new sport was born when the new town was still an infant. A group of citizens purchased land and built a new kind of racetrack, which they named “Dixie Speedway”. Many of the young rookies got their start at Dixie Speedway who would later become stars of the sport. The track was later converted to the exciting special event of figure eight racing. Thousands of spectators came to the speedway to see the races and many of the existing NASCAR rules and regulations were established and refined there. John Simmons and two other Birmingham businessmen acquired Dixie Speedway on Dec. 27, 1962 and spent a considerable amount of money improving the tracks.

In 1959 the first Midfield Post Office opened in the back of the new Williams Hardware, where Midfield Hardware is now. The postmaster was B.Y. Williams Sr. and the first postal clerk was Mary Lou Bingham. The very first postmark was given to Mrs. Bingham on a post card. It said “Midfield Ala., April 1, 1959 a.m.”. Mail was delivered to the new postal area from the back of the post office.

In November of 2010 the Midfield Area Chamber of Commerce decided to invite all business owners and managers in Midfield to an “Open House”. President Buck Williams did a business survey and mailing labels were created for 181 Midfield businesses.

IntroductionBibliographyHistory Index
Early History of Jones ValleyEarly History of the Midfield AreaThe Development of the Community of Midfield
How A Community Became a CityMcDonalds and WilkesRutledge Heights & Fairfield Highlands
Midfield City GovernmentMayors and City CouncilsAdministrative Department (Mayor & City Clerk’s Office)
Public Safety DepartmentPublic Works – Part OnePublic Works – Part Two
Midfield LibraryMidfield City SchoolsMidfield Churches
Early Midfield BusinessesMidfield Chamber of CommerceRace Relations in Midfield