Person:Joe W. Davis
Joe W. Davis
Joe Davis, from Huntsville-Madison County Public Library
|Born:||October 22, 1918, New Market, AL|
|Died:||November 14, 1992, Huntsville, AL|
|Buried:||Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, AL|
• Known warmly as a "city father" by some. - Editor's Note
• WWII vet, teacher and business man before he becoming mayor. - Wikipedia
• The city changed in many ways during his tenure. The size and tone of the town became quite different.
Key changes included:
Construction of the Von Braun Civic Center
Joe Davis Stadium - Congressional Record
• "The stadium was named after Joe Davis, a long time mayor of Huntsville. Davis played a huge role in gaining support for the construction and completion of the stadium. Also known as 'The Crown Jewel of the Southern League', the Joe Stadium is considered the oldest venue in the entire league." - City Profile
• Elected mayor five times. Served for twenty years. - Wikipedia
• A direct descendent of Samuel Davis, early settler - Huntsville Historical Review
• "Mr. HEFLIN. Mr. President, the people of north Alabama were greatly saddened recently by the death of long-time Huntsville Mayor Joe W. Davis. During his 20 years as mayor of this fast-growing, high-technology city--widely known as `the Rocket City'--Joe was instrumental in recruiting many of its most prominent industries, making it one of the economic strongholds of the State. He won an award in 1975 as the top mayor in the United States. I personally knew him to be in the category of great civic leaders, one of the very best Alabama has ever seen.
Joe Davis was a former teacher and real estate businessman when he was elected to his first of five terms as Huntsville's mayor in 1968. He gave the city strong leadership when it most needed it in the 1970's, as NASA's Apollo Program came to an end. During this decade, Huntsville was able to bring in high-technology industries to give it some immunity from funding changes in the space program. In the post-Apollo era, the growing city saw its job base increase by 45,000.
Other accomplishments during Joe Davis' 20 years as mayor were a new library, Interstate 565, the Werner Von Braun Civic Center, funding of a $72 million solid waste incineration plant, and the Huntsville Stars baseball stadium, which bears his name. He was the driving force behind the development of Research Park East and West, recruiting industry and seeing Huntsville's population grow from 100,000 to 160,000.
Mayor Davis' foresight in funding much-needed improvements in the sewer, water, and drainage systems paid off in later years when the industrial base expanded. Most people who knew him remember his determination to set goals and then do what was necessary to achieve them. This ethic carried over to the city's relationship with the military. As retired Maj. Gen. Louis Rachmeler, commanding general at Redstone Arsenal from 1977-80, said, `Joe was the epitome of wanting a relationship between the military and the community.'
The people of Huntsville and north Alabama, whose economy is so dependent upon the space and defense industries, can be thankful for the superb leadership exhibited by its outstanding former mayor, Joe Davis. He was a true individual with a firm set of convictions, strength of personality, and ability to work well with people in doing what was most beneficial to the long-term interests of the area. Most important of all, he prepared his city splendidly for the tremendous growth it is now experiencing. He will long be remembered as the symbol of all that a city should be about, and an example of the very best relationship between the government and the governed.
I extend my sincere condolences to all of Joe's family, and join his many hundreds of friends in saluting him for a job well done." - Congressional Record
• Freemason and member of Helion Lodge #1 in Huntsville - Wikipedia
• City Profile
• Congressional Record - Tribute to Mayor Joe Davis 103rd Congress, Senate, January 7, 1993.
• Huntsville Historical Review - Huntsville Historical Review, New Market Celebrates Its History, September 17, 1989, from Volume 17, #1, Jan-90, page 29 & 30. (Article describes celebration when the Historic Markers were placed in New Market)
• Huntsville Stars - Huntsville Stars Stadium is named in honor of Joe Davis.
• Huntsville-Madison County Public Library - Photo of Davis at Home
• Huntsville-Madison County Public Library - Photo - "Best Friend of Charleston" replica
• Huntsville-Madison County Public Library - Photo - Lunar Landing Celebration at Court House
• Huntsville-Madison County Public Library - Photo - Sparkman & Friends
• Internet Archive - Image of Joe Davis at the ribbon cutting for SkyLab Exhibit
• Why Is It Named That? - Joe Davis Stadium article in Why Is It Named That? By Nilsson Dex, Twinbrook Communications, © 2003, p. 110.
• Wikipedia - Bio
• baseballpilgimages.com - This site critiques Joe Davis Stadium, but also tells of the early negations between Joe Davis and minor league owner, Larry Schmittou.
• City of Huntsville - List of City Presidents and Mayors