Person:William Houston Goodson (b1909)

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William Houston Goodson (b1909)

William Houston Goodson (Sesquicentennial)
 Businessman, Councilman, Civic Leader

Born:May 3, 1909, Tennessee
Died:April 13, 1986, Huntsville, Alabama
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Alabama
Residence:1308 Clinton Avenue E
Husband of:Alma Naomi Englebert Goodson
Father of:Dr. William Houston Goodson (b1936)


•  Son of Roland "Rolling" Hickman Goodson (March 24, 1876 - June 15, 1948) and Leona Bell "Belle" Bain Goodson (1880-1954). -

•  "William Houston Goodson, Sr., was born in Texas May 3, 1909, moved to Tennessee, where he lived until he was six years old, at which time he moved to Huntsville. He now resides at 1205 East Clinton Street. He attended the City and County public schools, and attended Auburn and Florence State Teachers College. He taught school and coached in the county for five years, was in the grocery business ten years, later entering the automobile business. At present he is owner and manager of Zesto Drive-In at Five Points. He married the former Alma Englebert of Huntsville, and they have three children, Mrs. Herbert Walker, William Houston, Jr., and Patricia. He is a member of the Methodist Church. In 1952 he was elected to represent the Second Ward, and now serves as chairman of the School and Library Council Committee." - Sesquicentennial

•  Married Alma "Alma lived her entire life in the Five Points area. Growing up on "Bosses Row," now Oakwood Avenue in the Dallas Mill Village area, her father was a foreman at the mill." - Marshall

•  Houston Goodson and Miss Alma Englebert married on July 11, 1933 in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
     On the line that reads, "Name of Parent, Guardian or Next of Kin of Female" is the name "C. B. Englebert" (This seems strange by today's standards because Alma's age is listed as 22. Did everyone woman of any age need to have an extra approval in 1933 Tennessee?)
     On the copy of the Marriage Record is attached the note: "Don't Publish" They were both teachers at Rison School and there was a rule against married couples teaching in the same school. So they kept their marriage a secret until their first child came. This is also the reason they went to Tennessee to be married instead of Huntsville, Alabama. - Marriage

•  The Goodsons owned several stores in the Five Points and surrounding neighborhoods.
     Five were small grocery stores that went out of business when larger stores came to the area.
     In 1950, the Goodsons purchased Zesto's restaurant (south west corner of Pratt Ave. and Russell St.) famous for "Dip Dogs" and soft served ice cream.
     "From 1955 until 1975 the family also owned Goodson's Variety Store, a Five and Dime, which Mrs. Goodson managed. She got to know many people from the neighborhood this way. The store was located behind Zesto's where the clock shop used to be. The smaller stores and five and dimes closed as Parkway City and strip malls were built." - Brasher

•  Owned:
     Zesto(1950-1975)home of the "dip dog" and the "Zesto burger" and the first to serve soft ice cream in Huntsville Five Points Restaurant,
     Wells Avenue Grocery and four other neighborhood groceries,
     Goodsons Variety,
     A five and dime (managed by Mrs. Goodson).
     These businesses were closely connected with the community and as business trends changed so did the demand for such businesses. Shoppers turned to chain groceries and malls. - Marshall

     The Zesto Drive-In is located at 719 Pratt Avenue.
     Here ice-cream, sandwiches, cold drinks and other snacks are served to patrons. As a special feature, picnic tables and benches beneath tall trees are available to accommodate customers.
     This Drive-In was started in 1948 by Roy Jones, but was later bought by Houston Goodson who still owns it.
     There are four members of the personnel ready to prepare tasty tidbits from ten in the morning until the after-the-movies-hour of twelve at night - and for seven days a week.
     Mr. Goodson's birthdate is May 3, 1909; and his birth place is Texas. However, he has lived here for a long time. He, his wife, Alma, and children, Bill, Pat and Mary Lou Goodson Walker, consider Huntsville as their real home.
     As a member of the City Council and Chairman of the school commission Mr. Goodson has contributed valuably to civic life.
     And like most men, he has a hobby, but his has an unusual angle, "the developing and selling of lake property!'" - Sesquicentennial

•  "Baseball was a big sport in the days of the old mill villages in Huntsville. Early stars of the sport here were Hub Myhand, Houston Goodson, Don Mincher, Jim Tabor, and Gabby Street. Even Willie Mays played ball here early in his career. In the 1930s Martin Park was the main baseball field. It was located in Big Spring Park near where the Hilton Hotel is now. The St. Louis Cardinals played an exhibition game against some Huntsville Big Spring All-Stars, according to an article in the Huntsville News of January 13, 1981, recalling the memories of James Record. Dizzy Dean pitched for the Cards, but the score got so lop-sided that the Cards loaned Dizzy to Huntsville, so he finished the game pitching for the home team. Huntsville has also given birth to a number of football stars: John Stallworth, Benny Nelson, Billy Neighbors, Bobby Luna, and Boots Ellet were named in the Huntsville News article." - Heritage

•  Houston was well-known in Huntsville as a city councilman and served as president of the council in his last term. - Marshall

•  President, Huntsville City Council 1964-1968 - Record

•  Huntsville Alderman 1952-1956; Councilman 1956-1960; President of City Council 1964-1968 - Record

•  Huntsville Hospital Board - Record

•  Played Baseball for Auburn - Record

•  "Talk, talk, talk of a municipal auditorium reached the action stage after a new citizens Advisory Committee got to work pushing the matter during 1964. The committee consisted of Dr. Raymond Christian, James R. Cleary, the author, Mrs. M. K. Cummings, Jack Giles, Mrs. Katherine Porter, H. Clyde Reeves, M. B. Spragins, LeRoy Simms, Cleve Humphrey, Vance Thornton, Tom Thrasher, Walt Weisman, Col. R. M. Allgier, Ralph Perrill, James W. Johnson, and Houston Goodson.
     In April, the City Council authorized the Huntsville Public Building Authority to employ a firm to study plans for a Municipal Auditorium. A contract was given Booz, Allen, and Hamilton of Chicago, who would give their final report on January 9, 1965, recommending a much smaller Civic Center than would finally be built." - Record

•  "One of the big events of 1967 was the Jetport dedication on October 29. Symbolically, jetting from the old airport for the dedication were Mayor Glenn Hearn, Council President Houston Goodson, General Charles Eifler, Werner von Braun, Dr. William McKissack, and the author (James Record)." - Record

•  The Library Committee of the City Council is now (book published in 1955) composed of the following: Mr. Houston Goodson, Chairman; Mr. Vance Thornton; and Mr. John Rodenhauser. These men are untiring in their efforts to promote the interests of the library." - Sesquicentennial

•  "July 21, 1959 - Mrs. Davis, Chairman of the Library Board, and Mrs. Murphy, Director, had a meeting with Mr. Goodson, Chairman of the Library Committee of the City Council, about hiring an architect for a new library building. Mr. Goodson suggested the board needed to meet with the city council to discern its position before discussion about an architect went further." - Hays

•  "In the 1960s Huntsville received considerable federal money under Urban Renewal Legislation. Mayor Glenn Hearn, City Council President Houston Goodson and Councilmen Dark, McNaron, Pearsall and Rodenhauser embraced urban renewal, slightly regretted (a little) tearing down historical buildings and said it was 'in the public interest.' Many old areas of downtown Huntsville were demolished. Thus, when a large public parking garage was built close to the courthouse area, our Carnegie Library was on the block that was chosen, and it was leveled. It was unanimous, and there was no Huntsville Historic Association to protect 'Our Carnegie.' The Public Building Authority records of that era could not be found by this author to see if there was even a passing discussion about preserving the Carnegie Building." - Hays

•  "The Huntsville City Council exercised the authority given in the 1953 acts of the legislature and adopted ordinances on March 25, 1954, establishing the Gas Utility Board and the Waterworks Utility Board. Members of the Council, who were unanimous in this momentous step in city government, were John Broadway, President; William A. Brown, Hall B. Bryant, Robert L. Eslick, Houston Goodson, C.D. Howard Sr., Gordon Loftin, J.E. Mitchell Jr., John Rodenhauser, Vance J. Thornton, and Jimmy Walker. The ordinances took effect June 1, and the boards assumed jurisdiction over the two systems on July 1, 1954." - McCaulery

•  This profile by Debra Brasher is based on an interview Mrs. Alma Naomi Englebert Goodson, Houston's wife at age 90. It tells the story of this amazing family from the perspective of Mrs. Goodson (the article can be reached through the link below.) - Brasher

•  "There were also more changes in city government than simply moving from the decrepit City Hall on Madison Street to the gleaming marble-and-glass Municipal Building. And the changes were not just in the many more city and county boards and offices formed during the period.
     A decade earlier, city government was an informal affair when citizens simply sought out the late R. B. (Speck) Searcy, the mayor, or one of the councilmen: Vance Thornton, John Rodenhauser, Hall Bryant, Houston Goodson, or Louis Lee, Sr.
     If there was something that needed to be done, the only way to get it done was to drive by Louis Tumminello's Central Cafe on Clinton Avenue, where the Mayor, maybe a Councilman or unofficial advisors and County Commissioners, were discussing politics over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer.
     Central Cafe is no more, either in fact or principle. If its business, then it's off to the mayor's office or the council suites in the new City Hall, or the County Commission in the Courthouse. But often as not, the action is more swift than even Central Cafe could offer." - Record

•  Towery collected stories from Pat Goodson (daughter of Houston) about Zestos & Goodson's Variety Store. - Towery

Related Links:
• - Article titled "Five Points Historic Homes" by Jean Brandau for with biographical information primarily collected from Brasher's Article.
• - Page owned by VirginiaKobler and is private. It can be viewed only with an paid subscription and the permission of the owner.
•  Brasher - Article titled "A Five Points Portrait: Alma Goodson" by Debra Brasher for Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. XXVII, #1-2, pages 28-29.
•  Find A Grave - Page created by Heather (This page lists his birth place as Dekalb County, Tennessee. Other sources list Texas as birthpace. We are not certain)
•  Hays - From Carnegie to Fort Book: The History of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, by Paul A. Hays, 2005, pages 95 & 100.
•  Heritage - The Heritage of Madison County, Alabama, by The Madison County Heritage Book Committee, John P. Rankin, Chairman, page 10.
•  Marriage - Page viewed through an paid subscription.
•  Marshall - Article titled "From Maple Hill Cemetery to former site of Zesto Drive-In, there's plenty to savor on Five Points Walking Tour" by Mike Marshall, The Huntsville Times on October 02, 2010.
•  McCaulery - Article titled "The Origins of Huntsville's Waterworks Utility Board" by Patrick McCauley for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 25, #1, Jan-98, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, page 12.
•  Pruett - Article titled "Looking Back: A Sports History of Huntsville" by John Pruett for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 9, #1 & #2, Jan-79, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, page 7.
•  Record - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentially of Alabama and the United States, Volume II, by James Record, 1978, pages 213, 345, 364, 414, 444, 445, 446, 448, 560, 753, 784, 788.
•  Sesquicentennial - Commemorative Album, Celebrating our City's Sesquicentennial of Progress, Huntsville, Alabama, by James E. Taylor, General Chairman, 1955, pages 64, 120 (photo), 121, 295.
•  Towery - The Baby Boomer's Guide to Growing Up in "The Rocket City", by Tommy Towery, 2010, pages 205-209.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  1308 Clinton Avenue E
•  Alma Naomi Englebert Goodson
•  Dr. William Houston Goodson (b1936)

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