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James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Madrid is located in southwestern Houston County in the extreme southeastern corner of the state just north of the Florida border. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
The town of Madrid (pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable) was founded in 1905. Land speculator J. B. Dell and a partner bought considerable acreage around the intersection of the Bay Line Railroad and a dirt road running from a nearby lumber company to meet the railroad that came through a few years later. They divided the land into lots for sale. Dell gave the town its name and unique pronunciation of the word.
According to 2016 Census estimates, Madrid recorded a population of 411. Of that number, 69.6 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 22.6 percent as African American, 2.4 percent as Hispanic, 5.8 percent as American Indian, 1.0 percent as two or more races, and 1.0 percent as Asian. The town's median household income was $39,792, and the per capita income was $16,042.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Madrid was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (20.1 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (16.5 percent)
  • Retail trade (14.0 percent)
  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (10.4 percent)
  • Manufacturing (10.4 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (8.5 percent)
  • Construction (7.3 percent)
  • Public administration (4.9 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (3.7 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (3.7 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (0.6 percent)
Students in Madrid attend Houston County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 231 runs through the west side of Madrid, going north-south. The Bay Line Railroad operates a rail line through Madrid.

Additional Resources

Houston County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Houston County, Alabama Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
Watson, Fred S. Hub of the Wiregrass: A History of Houston County, Alabama 1903-1972. Anniston, Ala.: Higginbotham, Inc., 1972.
Published:  June 12, 2017   |   Last updated:  September 22, 2020