NOMA – When most people think of Noma they think of a sleepy little place but what they don’t know is that it used to be a bustling community of over 1,500 residents.
The town was named after the Noma Mill Company, which had a lumber mill there.
Noma earned its first charter on June 27, 1904 during the timber rush. By that time Noma already had its own post office, hotels, train station and several businesses to include Alabama Florida Lumber Company. The town was also the first in Holmes County to have a public high school.
They even had a newspaper The Noma Record.
Businesses included, butcher shop, barber shop, two drug stores, milliners, cotton gin, blacksmith and a movie theater. Three doctors, Dr. Manley, Dr. Ramsey and Dr. Warren all practiced there as well.
Even with all of these things, the town began to decline as the timber rush slowed down in the area. Businesses slowly closed up shop, lumber workers and families started moving away eventually leading to the closing of the school.
During the 1940’s, the town council stopped reporting to the state concerning budget matters, which led to the loss of its charter. The town became part of the county and its jurisdiction.
But all that would change when one local visionary remembered the vast potential of the one-mile town.
In the mid-eighties, Robert “Buddy” Skipper began the process of regaining the town’s charter. A lawsuit was filed against the county to reclaim the status of being a town with its own active government.
Former Holmes County Judge Owen Powell assisted Skipper throughout the legal battle and eventually the town recaptured its charter.
"Noma wouldn't be what it is today without Buddy Skipper," said Powell. "We all owe him a measure of gratitude."
Since then, Noma, albeit small, has had a steady government of its own thanks to Skipper.
Because of all the work, dedication and time Skipper has put into the town, the town council approved a measure to name the town’s park after the long time mayor. A monument was also placed at the park in dedication to Mr. Skipper.
Many of the town’s residents were on hand to celebrate Skipper and the park’s renaming on Jan. 27.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate congratulated the mayor and to thank him for being a friend.
“Mr. Buddy deserves this honor because of always being a friend to Noma,” said Tate. “Not only is he a friend to the town, he is true friend to myself and the Sheriff’s Office.”