***Update: Pic above from Micah Gravley’s Facebook page, shows citizens holding the new sign at the dedication ceremony on August 3rd.
One of the busiest and most traveled overpasses in Douglasville and Douglas County is about to get an honor straight from the Georgia General Assembly. The Chapel Hill Rd bridge over I-20 will be dedicated in a ceremony on Monday August 3rd in honor of a local civic icon many longtime residents of Douglas County know all too well, but newer residents might not. Since the days of Alpha Fowler Jr. a lot of residents have moved into Douglas County and the city of Douglasville and the markings of the Fowler family might not be known to them. As a younger resident at 32, not having been in Douglas County when Alpha Fowler Jr made his mark on Douglas County, The Menu sought out help from well known Douglas County historian Lisa Land Cooper and with her help we began to see The Fowler family’s contributions to our city and county…and even our state and in Cherokee County in 1866 is where the story begins. From Lisa Land Cooper:
Alpha Fowler Sr, born in Cherokee County in 1866, moved and settled in Douglas County in the Chapel Hill community around 1916 where he began and operated a cotton and cattle farm. Marrying Julia Emily, Fowler had 2 sons and a daughter including Alpha Jr. 10 years later he would move to the city of Douglasville and planted the roots of his family firmly in the community. Sadly, shortly after moving to the city Fowler lost his wife Julia. He married again in 1933 to Dorothy Selman who gave birth to two more sons. He was an avid fox hunter and a very involved member of the First Baptist Church of Douglasville. Among the accomplishments of Fowler Sr. after the move to Douglasville included organizing of the First National Bank of Douglasville during the Great Depression which later became Commercial Bank. During that same period, he would use his limited personal funds to bring in food to Douglas County residents going through the harsh depression that had none. He helped organize and became the first chairman of the Douglas County Hospital. He helped to secure the space for the current Douglas County High School. He helped to organize the Douglas County Rural Electric Co-Op, which later became Douglas County EMC…later to become Greystone Power. But his most prestigious and most memorable accomplishment was being elected to the Georgia State Senate and House of Representatives for 13 terms, being called “The Senator” until he died in 1948.
The son, Alpha Fowler Jr. would continue his father’s call to service to his community. Born in 1920, Fowler attended Douglas County schools then headed for UGA where he graduated in 1942. His country called him to service soon after and he saw action in World War II where he entered as 2nd Lieutenant for the Army, soon after flying fortress in Italy with the rank of Major. For his service in World War II he received the distinguished Flying Cross. Upon returning home from service, he and his now wife Suzie Fowler had four sons, two of which became doctors, one a lawyer, and one a banker. He was actively involved at First Baptist Church of Douglasville being a deacon for 30 years as well as a sunday school teacher. In 1946 Alpha Fowler Jr. was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives where he would serve seven terms. His other accomplishments to Douglas County include two years as adjutant general during which time he placed the local national guard unit here in Douglasville. Fowler would serve six years on the Public Service Commission, also serving as board member of Commercial Bank in 1948. In 1959 he helped to organize Douglas County Federal Savings and Loan and became the president and board member. He would serve as commander of the American Legion and VFW posts here in Douglas County, President of the Kiwanis Club, President of the Douglas County Chamber, Chairman of the Housing Authority, Chairman of the Hospital Authority, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Parkway Medical Center, served on the Airport Authority, and the Industrial Development Authority. Alpha Fowler Jr’s mark on Douglas County is iconic.
With that understanding, it’s easy to see why the Fowler family name is in some prominent places here in Douglas County. The Housing Authority of Douglas County honored Alpha Fowler Jr. by naming a housing community for him right next to the courthouse on Hospital Dr. Fowler Field maintained by the city of Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department also honors the family. And as of Monday August 3rd, visitors and residents alike will see the name even more as they pass over I-20 on Chapel Hill Rd, where a ceremony with local political and civic leaders as well as state leaders from the assembly will be there to honor and dedicate the bridge in honor of Civic Icon Alpha Fowler Jr.
We found the House Resolution from the 2010 Legislative session that put the honor in motion. 2010 HR 1385 is the resolution to dedicate the bridge for Alpha Fowler Jr. and was sponsored by Roger Bruce, Bill Hembree, Tyrone Brooks, and Tim Bearden. Read the resolution here.
**The Douglasville Menu would like to say a gracious and most amazing Thank You! to Lisa Land Cooper for helping us with the information into the history of Alpha Fowler Sr. and Alpha Fowler Jr. To see her blog and website of her amazing work documenting the history of our wonderful county, head here.