GWTN Mansion 1

GWTN Mansion

I just knew this impressive GWTW Mansion at 3245 Thomas Avenue had a story to tell, but I just couldn’t find it. I knew it was the home of RR Equip mogul Royce Kershaw in 1946, and five years later it was the dwelling of William Thames, founder of Thames Lumber Company. But I guess the best story of this place goes back to 1937, when it was the abode of W Armstrong “Tacky” Gayle. Gayle was on the City Commission then, and he went on to serve as our Mayor from 1950 to 1958. I’m guessing that the savvy Tacky decided that this house was too ostentatious for a politician, so in 1938 he moved over onto Gilmer Avenue. Tacky was the last of the old Gunter Machine mayors, and his totally unexpected defeat in 1958 stunned the city (especially South Montgomery). The politically smooth old gentleman was replaced by a hot-head, and Montgomery’s last chance to mitigate the acrimony, dogs, marches and bad press of the Civil Rights era was gone. Mayor Gayle lost his high office on that election day 50+ years ago, but sad-to-say, Montgomery lost much more.

-Charles Humphries

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