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Claire M. Wilson, Auburn University
Gardendale is located in Jefferson County in the north-central part of the state to the north of Birmingham. It has a mayor/council form of government.
Early History
What is now Gardendale was settled originally in the mid-1820s by veterans of the War of 1812 along an existing Indian trade route; it became known as Jugtown because of a local pottery industry. In the 1870s, the town's population expanded rapidly with the establishment of the
Gardendale Homesteads, 1937
nearby New Castle coal mines by Birmingham cofounder John T. Milner and also the establishment of a grist mill and farmers' cooperative. Jugtown's first school, named after Milner, opened in 1892, and the town continued to expand as workers from Birmingham moved to the less crowded areas outside the city. Embarrassed by what she considered the town's lowly name, local schoolteacher Hettie Thompson Cargo successfully lobbied town officials to have the town's name changed to Gardendale in 1906. The town was not officially incorporated, however, until 1955.
According to the 2010 Census, Gardendale's population was 13,893. Of that number, 88.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 8.6 percent as black, 1.5 percent as Hispanic, 1.2 percent as Asian, 1.0 percent as two or more races, and 0.3 percent as Native American. The town's median household income was $60,244, and the per capita income was $30,748.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Gardendale was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (20.9   percent)
· Retail trade (11.0 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (9.5   percent)
· Manufacturing (9.5 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (9.1 percent)
· Construction (8.5 percent)
· Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (7.5 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services   (6.5 percent)
· Wholesale trade (5.0 percent)
· Public administration (4.8 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (4.6 percent)
· Information (2.6 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (0.4 percent)
Gardendale is part of the Jefferson County School System. Gardendale schools serve approximately 2,425 students and employ 160 teachers in two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The town also has three private academies.
Gardendale is served by U.S. Highway 31, which runs north-south through the city. County Roads 112 and 118 connect Gardendale with Interstate 65, running north-south, approximately one mile to the west.
Events and Places of Interest
Each spring, the city hosts its Magnolia Festival on Main Street, near the Gardendale Civic Center. The celebration features food and craft vendors, a classic car show, carnival rides, musical entertainment, and a Little Miss/Miss Gardendale Magnolia Festival.
G. William Noble Park (formerly known as Moncrief Park), Celebration Park, and Luman Harris Park offer a variety of sports facilities, playgrounds, picnic areas, and water play in summer. A new soccer complex featuring two fields also has been completed. Memorial Park is dedicated to residents who have served in the U.S. military. The Quail Ridge Golf Course is an 18-hole facility located in Gardendale.
Published:  January 14, 2012   |   Last updated:  July 13, 2012