Skip directly to content

River Falls

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
River Falls is located in northwestern Covington County in the extreme south-central part of the state, on the Alabama/Florida state line. It has a mayor/city council form of government. The Conecuh River runs through River Falls.
History
The town was named for a nearby waterfall on the Conecuh River and arose around the Horseshoe Lumber Company during the late nineteenth century. Virtually all of the residents of River Falls worked for company into the twentieth century, and the majority of the town's citizens lived in housing leased from the company. The post office was established in 1891. The town incorporated in 1902, but incorporation lapsed in 1910, and the town did not legally incorporate again until 1935.
The Horseshoe Lumber Company suffered a series of disasters that fueled the town's decline. The mill burned down in 1907, was rebuilt, burned again in 1925, and was rebuilt once again. A huge flood in 1929 severely damaged both the sawmill and the town. The Conecuh River and its tributaries inundated the area with 10 feet of water, totally submerging River Falls.
In October 2012, law enforcement authorities arrested the 91-year-old mayor of River Falls, who had served in the office for 37 years, reportedly for stealing public funds from the town for the three years. The total she embezzled added up to just over $200,000, which she passed on to dependents and friends. Though sentenced to ten years in prison, the local judge reduced the penalty to five years of probation given her advanced age. She resigned as mayor, agreed to testify against accomplices, and took out a lien on her house to reimburse the town for the stolen money.
Demographics
The population in River Falls according to the 2010 Census was 526. Of that number, 60.8 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 35.0 percent as African American, 2.1 percent as two or more races, 1.5 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 0.8 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $26,667, and the per capita income was $16,234.
Employment
According to the 2010 Census, the workforce in River Falls was divided among the following occupational categories:
· Manufacturing (28.4 percent)
· Retail trade (14.8 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (10.9 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (10.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (8.7   percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (7.1 percent)
· Construction (6.0 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (6.0 percent)
· Information (5.5 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.2 percent)
Education
Students in River Falls attend Covington County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
Transportation
U.S. Highway 84 runs east-west through River Falls, then intersects with State Road 55 and exits town to the southeast. State Road 55 runs through town from the north before it intersects 84. County Highway 107 also enters town from the north.
Events and Places of Interest
River Falls abuts Point A reservoir and lies about six miles southwest of Gantt Lake, and both provide boating and fishing opportunities. Conecuh National Forest lies approximately 12 miles south of the town and offers hunting; it is home to the Blue Lake Recreation and Open Pond Recreation Areas.
Additional Resources
Covington County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
Robbie Brown, "Mayor, 91, Admits to Stealing from her Alabama Town." New York Times, October 12, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/us/alabama-mayor-91-admits-stealing-201000-from-taxpayers.html?_r=0
Published:  September 13, 2016   |   Last updated:  September 13, 2016