Resident seeking old photographs for Chelsea-area history book

Published 1:14 pm Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pictured is a group riding the "Jitney Bus" in 1915. It was a popular means of transportation from Columbiana to Wilsonville. In the photo are Marjorie Nell Seal, Margurite Avveryt, Mary Louis Seal, Alice Lena Browning, George Averyt and Grady Curly. (Contributed)

The Jitney Bus, 1915. In a Columbiana, Ala. newspaper in 1915, an advertisement appeared about a new, convenient means of transportation. It touted that a “jitney bus” had been started between Columbiana and Vincent. This is a 1915 photo of a group standing in front of the bus. The jitney bus left Vincent in the morning and returned in the afternoon. People could ride for the small fare of five cents per mile, getting off the bus anywhere in between. Pictured are: Marjorie Nell Seal, Margurite Averyt, Mary Louis Seal, Alice Lena Browning, George Averyt and Grady Curly. (Contributed/Shelby County Historical Society)


CHELSEA – A Shelby County resident is seeking the public’s help in collecting old photographs and information related to Chelsea and surrounding areas.

Christi Bono, 40, of Chelsea is compiling old and new photographs, vintage postcards and accompanying information for a book featuring Chelsea, Harpersville, Wilsonville, Vincent and Sterrett history.

“Most of them need to be old photographs,” Bono said of the submissions. “Whatever anybody can dig up.”

The deadline for submitting photos is Oct. 15, Bono said.

She must send in the final draft of the book, which will be published by Arcadia Publishing, by Oct. 27.

The book will be Bono’s first.

Bono, a former television news producer, said the idea for the book “came by accident” as her friend Heather Skaggs had worked on something similar for Bluff Park in Hoover.

“I love history, I love old photos and I love learning about different areas,” Bono said. “I missed news and writing.”

Bono pitched her idea for a book about Chelsea history to Arcadia, who suggested she include nearby cities and towns to ensure she had enough material.

“You do have to have around 200 photos,” she said. “Gathering the photos has been a huge challenge.”

Bono said city leaders have helped her collect old and new photos, and local author Shelba Nivens shared several photos from her collection before she passed away in August.

“Because Chelsea has grown so much, (Arcadia is) allowing a whole chapter on new images of Chelsea,” Bono said. “Unfortunately for Chelsea, there just wasn’t much there as far as a downtown or stores.”

Bono and her family have lived in Chelsea for almost 12 years.

“I realized I had lived in Chelsea for 10 years and didn’t know a lot about it,” she said. “You’ve heard of these places, and there’s just a lot of history people aren’t aware they pass by every day. I’m just enjoying writing again and learning about the area.”

Bono’s book will include landmarks like the Weldon Store at the corner of Shelby County 47 and Shelby County 39; Chelsea High School and other local schools; Liberty Baptist Church; the Klein-Wallace house in Harpersville; and Lloyd’s Restaurant, which the Chesser family opened in Chelsea before the restaurant was bought out and relocated farther down U.S. 280.

Bono said her book likely will be published in the spring of 2016.

To share photographs or other materials for the book, contact Bono at 243-2898 or