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.

Michael Gross and the beginnings of the Homewood School System.

We have talked a lot about the beginnings of Shades Cahaba High School and the beginnings of Shades Valley High School but now I want to talk more about the beginnings of other schools in Homewood and the beginning of the Homewood School System....

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Wade Kirkpatrick, Fighting Patriots – Special Edition

The Shades Cahaba Oral History Project is going to publish some special edition episodes this year to celebrate other Homewood schools, the beginnings of the Homewood Board of Education and other events. We still have other Shades Cahaba stories to tell as well. On...

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The 2019 Year In Review

If you have been a listener to the podcast then you know this is the 100th Anniversary of Shades Cahaba as a school. The first day of school was September 19, 1920. There was a dedication held a few days before and It was...

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All About The Shades Cahaba Owl

The Shades Cahaba Owl has had a very interesting life. It first appeared when Shades Cahaba High School was built in 1920. It stood watch over the front entrance as “a symbol of learning to all who enter here.” It stayed there until the...

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Sheryl Summe – Author of “Homewood: A Life of a City”

When I decided to start an oral history of Shades Cahaba I knew it would be difficult. Luckily I was able to find people that I could interview and I have others who have become valuable resources for me.  What really turned things around...

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A Thanksgiving story with Principal Sue Grogan

I spoke with former Shades Cahaba Principal Sue Grogan in episode 5 of the podcast. She shared with me a Thanksgiving story that I saved to share with you during this Thanksgiving season. SPONSOR The Shades Cahaba Oral History Project is supported by

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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

Hall-Kent Elementary School

Oak Grove, what we now know as West Homewood, was annexed into the city of Homewood in 1955. This brought Hall-Kent Elementary into the Homewood Family of schools. Schools in this area go all the way back to the 19th century and includes the Zelosophian Academy which I mentioned earlier.  Hall-Kent originally began as Oak...

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Edgewood Elementary School

The community of Edgewood became a full-fledge town in 1920 and soon after, leaders decided they needed their own school. Six acres of land just off Broadway was purchased and the town deeded five of the acres to the Jefferson County Board of Education in 1924. Before the school was even completed, the School Improvement...

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Athletic Letters from the 1950s

Bill Cather found these varsity letters when he was digging around looking for his Shades Cahaba scrapbooks to share with me. It’s the varsity letters that were awarded to players at Shades Cahaba during the 1950s. Bill tells me that similar to what Jeff Underwood said in his post, in the years after the high...

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