‘Dodge City wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Doc’

Portion of Alabama Highway 69 South in Dodge City has been named in honor of the late Elvin W. “Doc” McSwain

Friends and family of Elvin W. “Doc” McSwain pose under the new memorial sign Friday afternoon. Standing left to right are Doc’s sister Ilavee Brown, nephew Gene Cordes, daughter Nina Judkins-Harvison, Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope and Doc’s great-granddaughter Madison Lambert. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

DODGE CITY, Ala. – When driving into Dodge City, you’ll notice new signs erected along Alabama Highway 69. The portion of the roadway in Dodge City has been named in honor of the late Elvin W. “Doc” McSwain.

McSwain was born Dec. 1, 1931 in Cullman and worked in real estate form many years in Cullman County; he passed away May 19, 2010. Owner of the Dodge City Grocery (from which the town got its name, according to McSwain’s family) McSwain heavily influenced the development of Dodge City and even donated some of the land on which the municipality’s town hall is located.

“Everything he opened, every store, you know me and there were a lot of us kids that worked for him at Dodge City,” said family friend Kenneth Fine. “Dodge City wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Doc. He was always visual, going, ‘What else could be here? What else?’ He meant a lot to me, almost like a father-figure, really. I know (Rep.) Corey (Harbison) really well, and I asked Corey if he could do a resolution and get it through the (Alabama) Legislature to have this part of 69 named after him. It was my idea; that’s when I called Corey. You have to get a senator or representative to get it through both houses.”

Of the process, Fine shared, “It was done in one session. For them to get it through the Legislature it probably had taken a month’s time or a few weeks. It was over a year ago, but we didn’t get to the state department to have the signs done. I just wanted everybody to realize what Dodge City really is. He’s the reason it’s here.”

Fine said it took the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) eight months to get the signs up, saying, “I called the guy from ALDOT asking when they would be up, and he said that they’d had audits and you know if they’ve got interstate signs they have to do, they’ll do that first.”

Fine is happy the signs are finally up for his friend.

“To me, I would say a lot of thanks to Corey, and it makes all of us proud to know that when we come through here, we can remember Doc McSwain.”

McSwain’s daughter Nina Judkins-Harvison is proud of the way her dad is being honored.

“Well they (Fine and Harbison) promoted it and I just wanted to make sure Daddy was recognized, I just made sure to pay the funds to put it up through the state. It makes me feel proud that he is honored for everything. He promoted Dodge City and he loved all the people here and he did real estate for years, all of his life! He’s helped a lot of people here and he promoted Dodge City. He promoted the town to be a town. He wanted it to be a town. He didn’t get to see all the progress it has made. I wished he had. He had major involvement in the town being developed.”

Added Fine, “It’s a way of honoring him; he should be honored.”

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The Elvin W. “Doc” McSwain Memorial Highway sign as seen entering into Dodge City on Alabama Highway 69 South. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)