· Founding Date: December 30, 1868
· Area: 695 square miles
· Population: 43,643 (2010 Census)
· Major Waterways: Coosa River
· Major Highways: I-65, U.S. 82, U.S. 31
· County Seat: Clanton
· Largest City: Clanton
Chilton County was created by an act of the Alabama State Legislature on December 30, 1868, from land taken from Autauga, Bibb, Perry, and Shelby counties. The county was originally named Baker County for Alfred Baker, credited as the founder of the town of Clanton. After the Civil War, Baker served as the first mayor of the town and came into conflict with townspeople after cooperating with local Republican politicians. On December 17, 1874, citizens of Clanton voted to change the name of their county to Chilton to honor William P. Chilton, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and a member of the provisional and regular Congress of the Confederacy.
Since the late nineteenth century, Chilton County's most profitable industry has been timber. The county received a boost to its economy in 1914 and 1922 when Alabama Power built its first two hydroelectric plants, Lay Dam and Mitchell Dam, on the Coosa River. Peaches remain a popular industry in Chilton County, but the area is also known for other fruit and vegetable crops, including strawberries, watermelons, and tomatoes. Cattle, poultry, corn, and cotton are also important economically. The Thorsby Nursery was established in 1937 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop new commercial plants. In 1969, Clanton mayor F. B. Clark established the Possum Growers and Breeders Association in an ill-fated attempt to raise the North American marsupials for meat.
· Manufacturing (15.0 percent)
· Construction (13.9 percent)
· Retail trade (12.4 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, administrative and waste management services (6.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (6.6 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.2 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.2 percent)
· Public administration (4.6 percent)
· Wholesale trade (4.3 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.7 percent)
· Information (1.0 percent)
Comprising approximately 695 square miles, Chilton County lies in the central area of the state, almost wholly within the Coastal Plain physiographic section. It is bounded to the north by Shelby County, to the east by Coosa and Elmore counties, to the south by Autauga and Dallas counties, and to the west by Perry and Bibb counties. Part of the southwest corner of the county lies within the Talladega National Forest.
Events and Places of Interest
As the state's largest commercial producer of peaches, Chilton County is host to the annual Chilton County Peach Festival, which includes a parade, beauty pageants, a peach cook-off, and an auction hosted by the local Lion's Club. Lay Lake and Lake Mitchell, along the Coosa River, offer abundant fishing for spotted and large-mouth bass, crappie, bream, and walleye. The Talladega National Forest, located in the southwestern part of the county, offers hiking trails and several scenic views. Water Course, created by Alabama Power, is an interactive educational center focused on the state's water resources and environment.
Heritage of Chilton County. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc., 2000.