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Oak Grove

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Oak Grove is located in south-central Talladega County in the east-central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
History
Oak Grove owes its growth to Italian immigrant Giuseppe Moretti, the sculptor who would craft the bronze Vulcan statue for Birmingham, Jefferson County. In 1904, Moretti moved to Alabama and was informed of marble deposits in Talladega County. Upon investigating the rock formations, the internationally renowned artist asserted that the marble's quality rivaled Italian marble, then the standard in the international marble industry. For the next two decades, Moretti became heavily involved in developing rock quarries in Talladega County, sculpting statuary with Alabama marble in area studios, and convincing other investors to fund the foundation of marble quarries. The proliferation of quarries in south-central Talladega County led to population growth in nearby Sylacauga, which doubled in population between 1920 and 1940. People began settling in the unincorporated community of Oak Grove on the outskirts of Sylacauga just to the north of Gantt's Quarry to live in closer proximity to work. Alabama Marble Company, still a major employer in Talladega County, lies a few miles west of Oak Grove.
In 1954, Oak Grove resident Ann E. Hodges became the only person ever to be struck by a meteorite as one crashed through her roof and hit her on the hip. Because Oak Grove was unincorporated at the time, Sylacauga, Talladega County, is often identified as the site of the strike. The Hodges meteorite is on display at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa.
Oak Grove operates a community garden that formerly was a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm. The owner donated the land to the city with the stipulation that it be used as a community garden and that it be called Comet Grove. Oak Grove incorporated in 1966.
Demographics
Oak Grove's population according to the 2010 Census was 528. Of that number, 91.3 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 7.0 percent as African American, 1.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.8 percent as Asian, and 0.2 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $30,048, and the per capita income was $17,142.
Employment
According to the 2010 Census, the workforce in Oak Grove was divided among the following occupational categories:
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (18.9 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (18.1 percent)
· Retail trade (10.2 percent)
· Wholesale trade (9.8 percent)
· Manufacturing (9.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.3 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (5.5 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (3.5 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (2.8   percent)
· Public administration (1.6 percent)
Education
Students in Oak Grove attend Talladega County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
Transportation
U.S. Highway 231/280 State Highway 31/53 runs through Oak Grove northwest-southeast. County Highway 36 runs through Oak Grove northeast-southwest. The Sylacauga Municipal Airport is located less than a mile south of town.
Events and Places of Interest
Oak Grove maintains a park with a pavilion and a walking track, and has a senior center. The town sponsors a Festival in the Park the last week of April, featuring food and craft vendors and live musical acts. The town has a "Gravity Hill," an optical illusion in which cars appear to roll uphill. Oak Grove lies just to the west of the Talladega National Forest Talladega Ranger District that offers opportunities for biking, boating, camping, hiking, and hunting.
Additional Resources
Talladega County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Talladega County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.
Published:  August 31, 2016   |   Last updated:  August 31, 2016