Blocton chronicles the history of a community built on coal. In 1883 two entrepreneurs-Truman Aldrich, a New York engineer, and Cornelius Cadle, a former Union Army officer-created the Cahaba Coal Mining Company and built a railroad eight miles into the wilderness of northern Bibb County to tap thick veins of coal deep underground. There, they built the town of Blocton and beside the town rose a sister suburb, West Blocton. In 1892 the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company took control of the Blocton mines, and fifteen years later US Steel swallowed the Tennessee company. Blocton coal was in high demand during World War I and production continued. By the end of the 1920s, however, a devastating fire, mine closure, and the stock market crash devastated the area. Blocton is more than a history of wealthy men, great deeds, greater crises, and giant corporations. It recounts the hopes and dreams, accomplishments and everyday tragedies of the miners, housewives, store keepers, teachers, and all the people who gave personality and perseverance to the community.
Charles Edward Adams was born in West Blocton and attended public schools there before entering the University of Alabama and earning B.S. and M.A. degrees plus a certificate in graduate history. After teaching in Bridgeport and Robertsdale high schools and serving in the US Air Force during the Korean War, Adams became Conference Director in Continuing Education at The University of Alabama, a position he held for twenty-eight years.