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Talladega National Forest Has Rich History

Petitioned by local officials, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Talladega National Forest, which included almost all the western half of Cleburne County.

An old photo of timber cutting in Cleburne County
An old photo of timber cutting in Cleburne CountyEast Alabama History Museum

Before this, the farmers had suffered through the Depression, and farm and forest lands in the county were worn out and unproductive.

The U.S. government purchased land from the individuals and lumber companies for an appraised value. This was the beginning of the Talladega National Forest lands in Cleburne County.

In June 1933, employees of the Civilian Conservation Corps began working to build a road along the top of Cheaha Mountain and develop Mt. Cheaha State Park.

The CCC built roads, lodges, cottages, cabins, picnic shelters, hiking trails, swimming areas, lakes and beaches that now form the basis of the present- day park.

Cheaha State Park Observation Tower is now on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Among the county's other small communities was Sugar Hill, just north of Heflin, and Belltown along the Tallapoosa River. Abernathy was settled in 1855.

Macedonia Baptist Church, built in the 1880s and nearly 130 years old today, continues to be the center of life in the Macedonia community. Hopewell was a thriving place in the 1890s, as money was generated by timber harvesting and transport.