City of Guin, Alabama: The Early Years
In 1889, Dr. Jeremiah Guin gave land to the Kansas City, Missouri & Birmingham Railroad to allow completion of its Memphis to Birmingham railway. The rails connected at Dr. Guin's farm, about ¼ mile west of the present railroad crossing, with a ceremonial golden spike being driven to commemorate the occasion. A flagstop (depot) called Guin was established and soon thereafter 32 citizens petitioned the Alabama legislature for incorporation of a town. The depot was operated until the 1960s, and was the site where many local soldiers boarded trains to fight in WWI, WWII and the Korean War. The Town of Guin, incorporated on December 30, 1889, initially had about 350 citizens, 13 storehouses, four hotels, two cotton yards and a livery stable. Over the following years, Guin became home for Marion County's first high school, a bank, automobile dealership and America's first combined Senior Center/Disaster Shelter facility with the Collins Life Center.
The Storms of 1974
On April 3, 1974, the Guin area was struck by an outbreak of violent tornadoes which still rank among the most severe in recorded history. The tornado which struck downtown Guin was classified as an F5 super cell tornado registering speeds of up to 250 miles
per hour. Twenty-Three local people lost their lives that night and hundreds more were injured. About 2,000 residents were left homeless from the total loss of 221 homes and partial damage to 358 more. Guin's business district was flattened, with 55 businesses, its hospital, City Hall, and rural electric office all sustaining damage. The Baptist, Church of Christ, and Methodist Churches were also demolished. In the months after the storm, The Alabama National Guard, U.S. Small Business, H.U.D. Administration, the American Red Cross, and thousands of volunteers from all over America poured into Guin to assist in the rebuilding effort.