Jones sees old tables gain new life in chamber’s backyard

Frank Jones learned about hard work early in life, and there’s “concrete” evidence of it all over town.

When Frank was a kid, his dad, Herman Jones, a longtime employee of the City of Trussville, recruited Frank and his older brother, Rennie, to put in some after-school time helping him build some picnic tables. But not just any kind of picnic tables; these tables would be ultra-sturdy, weatherproof, and built to last. They would be made of concrete and placed in local park areas for the enjoyment of anyone who cared to use them.

The tables and matching benches, which appeared to be one big chunk of carved concrete, were actually separate components that fit together atop a concrete base.

“We would help mix the concrete, set up the forms, and pour the concrete into the forms,” said Frank. “It was hard work, and I was just a little kid back then. But every time I would see one of those tables, I’d remember what it was like to help make them, and it would always make me proud.”

In the past few years, the concrete picnic tables have given way to newer, sleeker models, but several of the old tables survive. And thanks to Frank, now serving as assistant director of Public Works for the City of Trussville, and his crew, two of the vintage tables recently came to roost under a shade tree behind the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street.

“We’re inviting anyone who needs a place to sit in the shade, have a bite of lunch, or simply take a minute to breathe to stop by and make use of the tables,” said June Mathews, the chamber’s executive director. “Several folks have already discovered them, and it’s always fun to see somebody sitting out there.”