Emmett Gordon Gray, Sr.

Emmett Gordon Gray, Sr. (Ancestry.com/Reb25cav)
 Road Building Business

Born:May 27, 1910, Gurley, Madison County, Alabama
Died:January 1, 1970
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Alabama
Son of:James William Lee Gray


•  "He was born near Gurley in 1910. Mr. Gray has two children, Pat Gray, Jr., and Edna Gray. Mr. Gray is a member of the following clubs: Elks, Mason, Shrine, V. F. W., American Legion, and Chamber of Commerce. During World War II Mr. Gray spent one year with the See Bees at Okinawah in the Pacific Theatre of Operations." - Sesquicentennial

•  Son of James William Lee Gray (1876 - 1943) and Annie Lee Webster (1884 - 1964). - Ancestry.com

•  1920 Census: He is listed as 9 years old living with his parents in Maysville, Madison County, Alabama. His father, James W. Gray, was born in Tennessee and his mother Annie Webster was born in Alabama. His father's occupation is listed as a farmer. - 1920 Census

•  1930 Census: He is listed as 20 years old and living with his parents James W. & Annie Gray in Maysville, Madison County, Alabama. He occupation is listed as laborer, Public Roads. - 1930 Census

•  "In early 1946 Cecil, along with Emmet G. ("Pat") Gray, formed the partnership of Ashburn and Gray in Huntsville - a city of one square mile. They started out with an Army surplus drag line and bulldozer.
     By the late 1950's, Ashburn and Gray had become one of the largest road building contractors in the state with branch offices in Decatur and Guntersville and with jobs spanning all of North America.
     Ashburn and Gray played an important role in the expansion of Redstone Arsenal as Redstone was in the forefront of our country's missile and space programs.
     Ashburn and Gray also played a primary role in the construction of the runways and roads serving the Huntsville Airport. During his career Cecil witnessed Huntsville grow from its one square mile to a city of over 170 square miles." - Alabama Road Builders' Association

•  1949: "While innovative changes came to Huntsville, the reminder that Mother Nature still kept score was never more apparent than when devastating floods hit the city, the worst since 1886. The Binford Court area was flooded, resulting in the evacuation of 400 families, with the Red Cross having to step in to take care of many of the families. When the flood waters continued to rise, the National Guard was called in, and dynamite was used to blast a channel for the flood waters. Later Ashburn and Gray were paid $10,000 to rechannel Big Spring Branch. This came after the January 1, 1949, 3" snow." - Record

•  1964: "West of Huntsville, site preparation work began on the 3,050 acre, $3 million land cost, Huntsville-Madison County Jetport. Ashburn Gray got the first contract for $1.5 million. The jetport would later be hailed as one of the finest in the country. The unique groundbreaking consisted of Governor Wallace, Mayor Searcy, and the author each taking turn at driving a bulldozer, breaking ground. The event was held on September 22." - Record

•  1966: "At the new Jetport, progress continued with Ashburn and Gray receiving a runway and apron-paving contract for 1.4 million dollars." - Record

•  "At Ashburn and Gray Contractors. on Memorial Parkway there is a continuous stir of activity. The company which is engaged in roadbuilding, primarily is the largest of its kind in North Alabama. It was formerly located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Canal Street.
     When Cecil Ashburn and "Pat" Gray started this Company in January of 1946, they were the only employees and had one piece of equipment. Today they have working for them approximately three hundred and fifty employees, and equipment valued at well over six hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
     In 1952 this company opened its own asphalt plant, which is located south of the Huntsville Airport.
     Among the recent jobs completed by Ashburn and Gray are the Highway through the Bankhead Forest, Highways in Etowah and Winston Counties, Street improvements in Huntsville, Athens, Decatur, Guntersville, Paint Rock, Woodville, and Scottsboro. They have also done construction work on Redstone Arsenal for the last five or six years. Recently, they have completed the resurfacing of the Huntsville-Athens Highway, and are now completing the Decatur-Huntsville Highway. At present they are doing the base and paving on the Memorial Parkway which will be completed by the first of November." - Sesquicentennial

•  One of the hardest to build was Governors Drive "over rocky Monte Sano to where Hampton Cove is now." - Nilsson

•  "In 1961, Pat Gray Jr., Johnny Smith and Webster took over the speedway, but the following year, Pat Gray Sr., bought out Smith and Webster and started making major changes, including switching from dirt to asphalt, making it the South's fastest quarter-mile track.
     In 1965, Gray leased the track to Bill Donoho, who ran Nashville Speedway, Mark Parrish and Benny Goodman. Gray took the track back in 1966 and held it until he sold it to Moody Knight, Robert Rucker and Porter Dunaway in 1970. The following year, Joe Stafford bought out Rucker and Dunaway." - White

•  "For more than 50 years, the Ashburn & Gray Division of APAC-Alabama, Inc. has paved, resurfaced and overlaid the roadways and Highways of Huntsville, and North Alabama. From I-65 to I-565 to the U.S. Highway 231 and 431 overpasses, from the Redstone Arsenal Roadway System to the Residential Roads crisscrossing the city of Huntsville, and from the Huntsville International Airport Runway and Apron Expansion to the streets, curbs, and gutters of New subdivisions, APAC's Ashburn & Gray Division continues to meet the area's road construction needs. As a division of the nation's largest highway contractor, APAC's Ashburn & Gray is backed by the financial and operational stability of a major corporation, while also providing the service and attention of a locally managed company. Started in Huntsville in 1946 by the uncle-nephew team of Cecil Ashburn and Pat Gray, Ashburn & Gray Construction was purchased by APAC in 1988, making it a part of a subsidiary of Ashland Incorporated, a Kentucky-based, worldwide energy, chemical, and construction company." - Davis

•  "Building North Alabama's Roads
     The Ashburn & Gray Division is one of four APAC divisions in Alabama and among 42 APAC divisions in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Ashburn & Gray's territory stretches from the Mississippi state line to the Georgia state line, and from the southern part of Tennessee to Cullman, Alabama. While its highway and roadway construction projects give Ashburn & Gray its most significant local profile, the company is also involved in private development and environmental projects.
     Paving and base operations and resurfacing and asphalt overlay are areas of expertise for the 200 employees of Ashburn & Gray. They also have extensive experience in the construction of drainage, storm, sewer, and utility systems; the preparation, excavation, and stabilization of soil at construction sites; and the installation of landfill liners and leachate collection systems.
     The company assists customers with determining a project's construction methods, preconstruction costs, quality control, and environmental impact. Ashburn & Gray takes an innovative approach in the use of new asphalt blends, designs, and construction alternatives, all determined by the company's goal to provide the best-quality products and service to meet customer needs.
     To better serve the western section of its territory, Ashburn & Gray maintains the Holland & Woodard Branch in Decatur. The division also operates asphalt plants in Huntsville, Decatur, and Fort Payne, and a sand and gravel operation in Guntersville to provide construction materials for its projects and to sell to other contractors.
     Though providing quality roads and construction projects is the division's goal, its number one priority has always been the safety of its employees and the public it serves. The division's low accident and injury rates are unparalleled in the industry, and it also strives to protect the environment, provide clean air and water, and research new construction and recycling technologies.
     Offering competitive costs and inventive solutions for its customers, providing quality roads and construction for its public and private users, and ensuring safety and job security for its employees, Ashburn & Gray continues APAC's tradition of being a company built on a century of innovation." - Davis

•  Board of Examinations & Appeals for Construction Industries (16 members, appointed by council for five year term) 1967-1970. - Record

Related Links:

•  1920 Census - As viewed through an Ancestry.com paid subscription. (Originally found at http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1920usfedcen&indiv=try&h=1395856.)

•  1930 Census - As viewed through an Ancestry.com paid subscription. (Originally found at http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1930usfedcen&indiv=try&h=119018427.)

•  Alabama Road Builders' Association - Feature article for Cecil Ashburn, Pat's business partner and included information about their shared business. (Originally found at http://www.alrba.org/events/hall-of-fame/james-cecil-ashburn/.)

•  Ancestry.com - Page owned by Reb25cav (Originally found at http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/17852927/person/580851620.)

•  Davis - Huntsville Madison County: To the Edge of the Universe, Introduction by Jan Davis, 1999, page 189.

•  Find A Grave - Page created by Heather.

•  Nilsson - Why Is It Named That?, by Dex Nilsson, 2005, page 115.

•  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 389, 278, 279, 291, 743.

•  Sesquicentennial - Article written in 1955 and titled "Ashburn and Gray Contactors" in Commemorative Album, Celebrating our City's Sesquicentennial of Progress, Huntsville, Alabama, by James E. Taylor, General Chairman, page 331.

•  White - Article titled "The Winning Tradition continues" by Ronnie White, The Huntsville Times. Tells the Track History for Huntsville Speedway. (Originally found at http://www.huntsvillespeedway.com/?page_id=35.)

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  James William Lee Gray
•  Nilsson
•  Record
•  Sesquicentennial