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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Susie and Richard Headrick


In 1951 the new Highway 78 cut through Dora, Alabama. Businesses began dotting the roadside to catch travelers on their way into Birmingham. One of the first to open its doors was the Green Top. Popular for its barbecue but better known for its beer, the Green Top was an oasis in a desert of dry counties.

In 1973 coalminer Leo Headrick saw an opportunity to get out of the mines, make a good living, and work alongside his wife Susie. They, along with their sons Richard and Preston, bought The Green Top and put everything they had into the place. But it was Susie who taught the rest of her family about barbecue. And it was Susie who corralled their roadhouse clientele and helped the Green Top evolve into a family-oriented place. Eventually, they expanded their menu and the building, as well. Today, the Green Top sells far more barbecue than beer. Leo passed away in 1997, but Susie is still at the helm. Richard still makes the sauce and his son, Tony, is now the third generation to the work the pits at the Green Top.

Two interviews, from Susie Headrick and Richard Headrick, are featured for this establishment.

Date of interview:
2006-09-29 00:00

Interviewer:
Amy Evans

Photographer:

Download Transcript Download Transcript 2

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