· Founding Date: February 7, 1818
· Area: 643 square miles
· Population: 57,322 (2010 Census)
· Major Waterways: Locust Fork and Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River
· Major Highways: I-65, U.S.31, U.S. 231, U.S. 278
· County Seat: Oneonta
· Largest City: Oneonta
Blount County was created by an act of the State territorial legislature on February 7, 1818, almost two years before Alabama became a state. Sections of Blount County later became part of Jefferson, Marshall, Walker, and Cullman counties. The county was named for Gov. Willie Blount of Tennessee who sent Andrew Jackson to Alabama to aid settlers during the Creek War of 1813-14. Many of Jackson's men became the first settlers of the county and established a trading post at present-day Blountsville. One of the earliest settlers of the area was George Powell, who became one of the first surveyors of Alabama and later authored the first historical account of Blount County.
During the nineteenth century, farming was the prevailing occupation in Blount County, with cotton, corn, and wheat being the major crops. After the Civil War, iron ore mined in Blount County helped feed the industrialization boom in Birmingham. In 1889, Henry F. DeBardeleben and James Sloss purchased Champion Mines and brought the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to the area. From 1925 to 1967, the mine supplied raw materials to the Woodward, TCI, and Sloss furnaces in Birmingham and the Republic Furnace in Gadsden. The decline of the steel industry in Birmingham during the 1970s affected Blount County as well, and thousands of residents lost jobs.
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (16.8 percent)
· Retail trade (11.4 percent)
· Construction (10.8 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (6.4 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services (6.2 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (4.8 percent)
· Wholesale trade (4.2 percent)
· Public administration (4.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (3.2 percent)
· Information (1.7 percent)
Comprising approximately 643 square miles, Blount County lies in the northeastern area of the state within the Appalachian Plateau. It is bounded to the north by Marshall County, to the east by Etowah County, to the southeast by St. Clair County, to the southwest by Jefferson and Walker counties, and to the west by Cullman County. The Locust Fork and Mulberry Fork, two major tributaries of the Black Warrior River, run along the western border and the center of the county. Ebell Mountain and part of Sand Mountain lie in the northeastern area of the county. Interstate 65 is Blount County's major transportation route, running north-south in the western edge of the county. U.S. 31 and 231 are the county's other major transportation arteries.
Blount County's rolling hills and valleys are ideal for outdoor recreational areas. The area is home to several caves including Bangor Cave and Rickwood Caverns. Estimated to be more than 260 million years old, Rickwood Caverns was carved from an ocean bed and displays shell fragments and fossils of marine life along the cavern ceiling and walls. The mile-long cavern is home to underground pools and marine life such as blind cave fish.
Palisades Park, located atop 1,300-foot Ebell Mountain, features an arboretum and amphitheater as well as a historic village; it includes Murphree's Pioneer home, built in 1820 by settler Daniel Murphree and one of the oldest structures in the county. The park also features rock bluffs that are ideal for rock climbing and scenic views. The park is home to the Locust and Mulberry Forks of the Black Warrior River, renowned for their Class II and III rapids that attract kayakers and canoers from all over the country. Each spring, Alabama paddlers host the Alabama Cup, which is made up of three events, the Mulberry Fork Canoe and Kayak Races, the Locust Fork Invitational, and the Locust Fork Classic.
Heritage of Blount County. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Pub. Consultants, Inc., 1999