The Hanceville area was first settled in the 1820s by settlers from South Carolina and Virginia and was located in Blount County when it was created in 1832. One account says the first town at the location was called Gilmer, but the name was changed to Hanceville in 1872 by postmaster P. H. Kinney, to honor his father Hance Kinney, an Irish immigrant and first mayor of the renamed town. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad arrived in the early 1870s and a depot was built by 1873, sparking some economic development. Hanceville was divided when Cullman County was created in 1877 and would be incorporated in May 1879. Half the town resided in Blount County until 1885, when boundaries were redrawn, and it became wholly part of Blount.
The boundary between the counties was again revised in 1901 and Hanceville became wholly part of Cullman County. A newspaper, The Hanceville Hustler, was published from the mid-1890s until about 1908. A high school was constructed in 1923, an elementary school in 1936, and a new high school in 1955, when the older school became a junior high. Wallace State Community College was established in Hanceville in 1966, becoming a cornerstone of the city's economy. Construction began in 1996 on the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at Our Lady of Angels Monastery, founded by Catholic nun Mother Angelica; it was consecrated in 1999. The monastery is home to the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, and the Knights of the Holy Eucharist reside on the compound as well.
Hanceville's population at the time of the 2010 Census was 2,982. Of that number, 92.4 percent of the population reported themselves as white, 3.6 percent as black, 2.4 percent as Hispanic, 1.6 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Asian, and 0.2 percent as Native American Indian and Alaska Native. According to 2010 Census estimates, the median household income was $30,903 and the per capita income was $16,078.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the Hanceville workforce was divided among the following major industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (18.1 percent) · Manufacturing (15.1 percent) · Retail trade (14.0 percent) · Construction (12.0 percent) · Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (9.5 percent) · Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.8 percent) · Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (5.7 percent) · Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.4 percent) · Wholesale trade (5.0 percent) · Other services, except public administration (4.0 percent) · Public administration (3.7 percent) · Information (1.7 percent)
Public education in Hanceville is administered by the Cullman County Board of Education. The city is the location of an elementary, middle, and high school that serve approximately 1,190 students and employ approximately 55 teachers. In addition, Wallace State Community College, a two-year higher-education institution, is located there.
Hanceville lies approximately eight miles east of Interstate 65, which runs north-south via County Road 365. Hanceville is also accessed by U.S. Highway 31 and State Highway 91, which run north-south.
Events and Places of Interest
Listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in Hanceville are the Burkart-Wilson Home (ca. 1949), the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church/Burkart Memorial Hall (ca. 1885-86), and the Potato House (ca. 1900). The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at the Our Lady of Angels Monastery is located just outside the Hanceville city boundaries and offers daily masses, welcomes pilgrims, and provides other spiritual activities; the associated Monastery provides several areas for spiritual reflection.
Hanceville operates a recreation center and a swimming pool.
Arroyo, Raymond. Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. New York: Doubleday, 2005.
Heritage of Cullman County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc., 1999.
Jones, Margaret Jean. Cullman County Across the Years. Cullman, Ala.: Modernistic Printers, 1975.
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