Albertville, located near the border of the former Cherokee and Creek nations, arose at the juncture of several Native American trails. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his forces are believed to have passed through the area on one of these trails in 1540. Settlers from eastern states first reached the area in the 1840s and 1850s. The town was named for Thomas Albert, one of its founders, and was incorporated on February 18, 1891. A train depot was constructed in the early 1890s by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway (it would remain busy until the 1940s, when passenger traffic was phased out). The state constructed a secondary experiment station and agricultural school in Albertville in 1894. Hard hit by the Great Depression, it was turned over to the Albertville City Board of Education in 1936.
The town was devastated by a tornado on April 24, 1908, and some 35 residents were killed. More than 150 houses were destroyed at a cost of $350,000 in 1908 dollars. Reconstruction efforts included adding water service and electricity. Beginning around 1909, the town began hosting court sessions twice a year for the section of the county surrounding Albertville and constructed a large wooden courthouse in 1911; it was torn down in 1935.
In the post-World War II era, Albertville became a hub of the poultry-processing industry. After the war, the Alabama legislature selected the town as the site for the first commercial poultry processing plant in north Alabama; thereafter, the industry grew and helped transform the region. Raising poultry appealed to cotton farmers who faced a shortage of farm labor and who could raise chickens and sell them all throughout the year, unlike their cotton crop, which they sold only once a year. The industry brought to Albertville feed mills, hatcheries, and additional processing plants as well as much immigrant labor from Mexico and other Latin American countries. The relocation of Mueller Company's fire hydrant manufacturing operations from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Albertville in 1975 has since prompted the town to be called the "Fire Hydrant Capital of the World." Mueller celebrated the production of its one millionth fire hydrant in Albertville by erecting a 4,800-pound nickel-plated hydrant in the town. Despite the presence of the poultry industry and manufacturing, poverty is high compared to state and national levels.
Albertville's population at the time of the 2010 Census was 21,160. Of that number, approximately 75.9 percent identified themselves as white, 27.9 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 1.9 percent as African American, 0.8 percent as American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.5 percent as Asian, and 0.1 percent as Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. In 2009, the median household income in Albertville was estimated at $36,280 and the per capita income was $16,757.
The workforce in present-day Albertville is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Manufacturing (28.0 percent) · Educational services, and health care and social assistance (14.1 percent) · Construction (11.8 percent) · Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (9.8 percent) · Retail trade (8.8 percent) · Wholesale trade (7.8 percent) · Other services, except public administration (6.6 percent) · Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.9 percent) · Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.9 percent) · Public administration (3.7 percent) · Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.8 percent) · Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.8 percent) · Information (0.8 percent)
Public education is administered by the Albertville City School System, which oversees one kindergarten, a 1st-2nd grade primary school, one 3rd-4th grade elementary school, a 5th-6th grade elementary school, one 7th-8th grade middle school, and a 9th-12th grade high school. Collectively, the schools serve about 4,000 students and employ approximately 230 teachers. An aviation center of Enterprise State Community College is located at Albertville Regional Airport.
U.S. 431 runs just to the north of the center of Albertville, and the city center is bisected by State Route 205, which runs roughly east-west. The Albertville Regional Airport southwest of town provides general aviation services. The Alabama & Tennessee River Railway operates a line through Albertville.
Events and Places of Interest
Lake Guntersville State Park lies north of Albertville and provides fishing, swimming, boating, camping, convention facilities, and overnight accommodations and hosts fishing tournaments. Also nearby is the Albertville Golf and Country Club, a private 18-hole facility. Albertville Recreation Complex has numerous athletic facilities and fields.
In early August the city holds a two-day music festival and hosts a Christmas parade during the holiday season. In 1975, the train depot became the first building in Marshall County listed on the National Register of Historic places; it has seen many uses since being phased out as a train stop and currently serves as the Albertville Senior Citizen Center. The Albertville Museum is housed in a former Louisville and Nashville train caboose next to the depot. Listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage are the East Main Street Historic District, Albertville High School (ca. 1912), and Christ Episcopal Church (ca. 1882).
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