Shades Cahaba Oral History Project

Classes started at Shades Cahaba High School in 1920 and has continuously served students in Homewood and other over-the-mountain communities for 100 years. This project was started to record the memories of those that attended and worked at Shades Cahaba and those that just have a great story to tell. This project will continue to the end of 2020.


Listen to the stories told by those who went to Shades Cahaba. Teachers, students, staff and parents. The shool means something a little different to each person.

Shades Cahaba Athletics

As soon as the school was built, teams were formed and Shades Cahaba entered competition with other Birmingham area high schools, which had already been competing for a number of years. This was no small feat. You only have to listen to the episode...

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Social Distancing in Homewood

It is the second day that Shades Cahaba and other schools around the state have been shut down due to the state of emergency declared by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Coronavirus COVID-19 has been quickly spreading around the world and is now in our...

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Homewood Elementary Schools

We talk about Shades Cahaba a lot on this podcast for obvious reasons. With a school that taught grades 1-12 you get a little tunnel vision and start to think this is all there was in Homewood. Not true. There were other schools and...

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The Building

This episode is about the Shades Cahaba building. How it grew over the years. What changed and why. This podcast is audio-only but there is a version with pictures and an overhead view of the building to better illustrate what I am talking about....

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The Underpass

This episode is about the Shades Cahaba Underpass. Some of you may call it the tunnel but from the time it was conceived in the early 1950s and for the next 40 or 50 years it was called the underpass. I had actually forgotten...

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Michael Gross and Homewood High Athletics

This is the second episode of my conversation with former Homewood High School Principal and Superintendent Michael Gross. In the first episode we talked about the beginning of the school system, opening of the high school and the unique challenges he faced.  We had...

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Show Host

Shawn Wright - Show Host

My name is Shawn Wright and I attend Shades Cahaba Elementary from 1970 through 1974. My first year was in Mrs. Lemmon’s 2nd grade class. Both of my children have attend Shades Cahaba and my youngest will “graduate” during Shades Cahaba’s 100th year.  

The Underpass

I shot this video around 2010 with my new iPhone 4. The video was terrific back then. I shared it on the Facebook page “I went to Shades Cahaba when the main entrance was on Hollywood Blvd.” There was a tremendous response from Shades Cahaba alumni. I thought you might like to see the Underpass.

Do you have a story to tell?

If you have a story that you think would make a good episode, contact me! Maybe you’re a former student or teacher? Maybe you worked for the school system? The stories come from everywhere and we want to preserve them. If you are in the Birmingham area, we will get with you to record your story. If you are are out of town, we can still record using Facetime, Skype or a similar service.

Homecoming 3

Blog Posts

The Mountaineer – Final Edition

During Shades Cahaba’s 100th Celebration party in the fall of 2019, I met many former Shades Cahaba students, including some who attended school when it was a high school. One of those was Denny Pappas, who brought along his family. In the photo below, Dr. Pappas is on the left with his family in the...

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Early Homewood Area Schools

There were many early schools in Shades Valley in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can learn more about those on the Homewood Elementary School episode or in the book Homewood: Life of a City by Sheryl Summe. The two that I have images of are listed here. Union Hill Union Hill School which...

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Rosedale School

Community leader and educator B.M. Montgomery established a school for black children in the 1920s in Rosedale Park. They initially met in Montgomery’s home. Sometimes in the 1930s a wooden building was built up on the hill in the northeastern section of the community. The school was damaged by fire twice and some think that...

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