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Tarrant

Claire M. Wilson, Auburn University
Tarrant City Hall
Tarrant is located in east-central Jefferson County in the central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
History
Settlers began coming to the Tarrant area as early as 1818, with the first church being built in 1823. Tarrant's first store was built in 1869, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad built a spur of the Birmingham Mineral Railroad through the area in that same year.
Tarrant remained primarily an agricultural community, in particular a dairy farming area, through the early part of the twentieth century. In 1912, the National Cast Iron Pipe Company (NCIP) built a manufacturing facility in the area, and also laid out a town near the facility. Sources differ as to how the town got its name. Some sources say that it was named after long-time resident Benjamin Tarrant, while others say that it was named after the president of NCIP, Felix I. Tarrant. Tarrant was incorporated in August 1918.
Royal Cup Coffee Roasting Facility
Tarrant's first school was built in 1920. A volunteer fire department was established in 1925; by 1928, it had become a professional department. Other manufacturing facilities continued to open in Tarrant throughout the 1920s, including a rivet manufacturer and a cement plant. By the 1930 census, the population had grown to 7,341.
Tarrant's economy suffered during the Great Depression, and many inhabitants, unable to pay their mortgages, moved away and abandoned their houses. The Red Cross played an integral part in providing food for those who stayed during the early 1930s.
Much of Tarrant's manufacturing base left with the closing of most of Birmingham's steel mills. NCIP, largely responsible for the town's existence, was bought first by Clow Industries and then by McWane Inc., which closed the Tarrant facility. Royal Cup Coffee, founded in Birmingham in 1896 as Batterton Coffee Company, maintains a roasting facility in Tarrant.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Tarrant recorded a population of 6,271. Of that number, 49.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, 39.3 percent as white, 10.9 percent as Hispanic, , 2.1 percent as American Indian, 1.4 percent as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.1 percent as Asian, and 0.9 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income was $26,800, and the per capita income was $16,892.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Tarrant was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (16.8 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (16.7 percent)
  • Manufacturing (12.6 percent)
  • Retail trade (10.1 percent)
  • Construction (9.2 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (8.9 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (8.3 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (6.5 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (5.8 percent)
  • Public administration (2.4 percent)
  • Information (0.8 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (1.8 percent)
Education
Schools in Tarrant are part of the Tarrant City School System. The city has one elementary school, one intermediate school, one middle school, and one high school. Jefferson State Community College is located just north of the city.
Transportation
The city of Tarrant is served by State Highway 79, which runs northeast-southwest through the city. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is located six miles to the southeast.
Events and Places of Interest
Tarrant maintains four parks and an athletic complex that feature a walking track, baseball fields, playground areas, basketball courts, and pavilions. It also has a recreation center that includes a gymnasium and a Senior Center, as well as an after school program.
Among the annual events sponsored by the city are an Easter Egg hunt, the Five Mile Creek Greenway Festival, and a Fall Festival.

Additional Resources

Jefferson County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Jefferson County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
White, Mary Longenecker. The Birmingham District: An Industrial History and Guide. Birmingham, Ala.: Birmingham Publishing Company, 1981.
Published:  September 5, 2012   |   Last updated:  November 10, 2020