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

What really turned things around for me and helped me launch a podcast was coming across the book, “Homewood: A Life of a City.” When it comes to the history of Homewood, everything is spelled out for me in this book. I am able to use the book to ask questions of the people I am interviewing and to put together timelines and ideas for special episodes.

Since the book has become such a valuable asset for me, I decided to find the author, Sheryl Spradling Summe, have her on the podcast, and thank her in person. With assistance from mutual friends, I was able to track her down and ask her to be on my podcast. 

We talk about Shades Cahaba, but we also discuss how the book came together, Edgewood Lake, the still located behind the high school, the fear of polio, how WWII affected the community, Rosedale, and whether being an outsider helped or hurt when writing the ultimate insider book.

Sit back and I hope you enjoy the episode as much as I did recording it. If you happen to have the book on your shelf, crack it open and follow along. 


As Sheryl mentioned in the podcast, the book is sold out. It was printed almost 20 years ago, and if you are lucky, you might find a copy in a Homewood Garage sale. You can find used copies on Amazon.com but they are wanting $99 each. $196 for a signed copy! You should be able to find a copy at the Homewood Library, but a quick search says there are copies at the Adamsville Library, Botanical Gardens, Central Library Archives, Linn Henley Library, and Fultondale Library.