Eugene Allen Smith

*

1841-1927
Scientist


As State Geologist for fifty-four years he explored and surveyed the geological assets of Alabama. His reports serve as the basis for development of the mineral resources of the state.


State Geologist for more than half a century, Eugene Allen Smith cleared the way for the development and utilization of the state's natural resources; discovering, mapping and publicizing the rich mineral deposits in Alabama - deposits tempting in their abundance, unique in their combination.

Not content with providing the first comprehensive geological survey of the state, nor with providing a survey of such accuracy that his charts would be regarded as law a century later; Dr. Smith took it upon himself to spread the word of those rich mineral treasures waiting to be grasped. Throughout the fifty years he served as State Geologist he wrote official reports to fill volumes. Only a little less extensive, however, were the reports he wrote to the press, bringing to the view of public and capitalists each new discovery of a seam of coal, iron ore or other valuable mineral.

In other respects Alabama is indebted to Dr. Smith. The Alabama Museum of Natural History as it stands today was given its nucleus from the hands of the doctor. Federal troops burned and sacked the University of Alabama during the Civil War. The original museum was destroyed and the carefully labeled specimens were burned or scattered. From his surveys of the length and breadth of the state, Dr. Smith brought back hundreds of thousands of mineral and other specimens. His characteristic thoroughness placed the museum collection among the finest in the nation. And, it was Dr. Smith who first realized the historic value of Moundville and its relics and focused public interest on the ancient Indian burial grounds which now attract thousands of visitors annually.

Elected 1953.


Sources:
Alabama Hall of Fame, 1968


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Created: 1/18/96