Originally called Luxapallila, the Winfield area has been inhabited by settlers of European descent since the 1830s. Early settlers had to travel to Columbus, Mississippi, some 60 miles west, to buy supplies such as flour and sugar, a trip that could consume a week. The Kansas City, Memphis, and Birmingham railroad came through the town in 1887; in that same year, the first post office was established, and residents selected Needmore as the official town name. That name had already been used in the state, however, so the residents submitted three other possible names to William A. Musgrove, a prominent local landowner. He selected the name Winfield in honor of Gen. Winfield Scott, the longest-serving general in the U.S. Army.
The town was incorporated in either 1887 or 1891; sources differ as to the exact date. Early businesses in the area included several stores, a saloon, a boarding house, a tanning yard, and a shoe factory. The R. W. Harris Store, established in 1895, still operates in the town. The first bank, Winfield State Bank, was opened in 1907. Electrical service in the town was established in 1924 by Alabama Power Company, and the first water works was established in 1928; the facility was purchased by the city in 1946. Alabama Mills, a cotton mill, opened in 1929 and remained a mainstay of the local economy for several decades. The town had a local airfield by 1933 and a phone system by 1941.
Winfield's population at the time of the 2010 Census was 4,717. Of that number, 92.9 percent identified themselves as white, 4.5 percent as African American, 2.0 percent as Hispanic, 1.0 percent as two or more races, 0.3 percent as Asian, 0.3 percent as Native American, and 0.1 percent as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The city's median household income was $34,617, and per capita income was $19,386.
The workforce in present-day Winfield is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Manufacturing (29.5 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (22.0 percent)
· Retail trade (12.2 percent)
· Construction (6.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.3 percent)
· Public administration (5.9 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (4.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (2.8 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services (2.7 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.6 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.0 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (1.8 percent)
· Information (1.4 percent)
Schools in Winfield are part of the Winfield City School District; the city has approximately 1,313 students and 75 teachers in one elementary, one middle, and one high school.
Winfield is intersected by U.S. Highway 43/State Highway 171, which runs northwest-south, State Highway 253, which runs north from the city, and State Highway 118, which runs east from the city. Bird Nest Airport, with one runway, is located approximately five miles south of Winfield.
Events and Places of Interest
Since 1975, Winfield has hosted the annual Mule Day celebration on the last weekend in September, honoring of the role that the mule has played in Alabama history. The event features a parade of mules, a mule competition, arts and crafts, a flea market, antique tractors and automobiles, a Mule Day Run/Walk, food, and live music. As many as 25,000 people attend the celebration. The city also holds an annual Christmas Parade on the first Monday in December.
The Pastime Theatre, located in downtown Winfield, is a restored art-deco building built in 1937 that now is run by the city and hosts a variety of concerts, movies, and other shows.
Winfield has a 60-acre municipal park, which has baseball, softball, and soccer venues, a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, picnic areas and pavilions, a driving range, a Frisbee golf course, a community center, and a nature trail. Bankhead National Forest, the Sipsey Wilderness, and Smith Lake are within short driving distance of Winfield. The Thunder Valley Speedway also is located just south of Winfield; it is a quarter-mile clay oval.
Johnny Micheal Spann, a former Marine and CIA operative who was the first American killed in the Afghanistan War, is a native
The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.
"Winfield's History from First Beginnings Throughout the Years." Marion County Journal Record. 1 July 1976, B.6.
James P. Kaetz
Published May 8, 2011
Last updated August 8, 2012