Berry


Berry is located in southeastern Fayette County in the northwest part of the state. It has a mayor/council form of government.

History 

Berry is named for one of the early large landowners in the area, Thompson Berry, who also owned a cotton gin and a gristmill. The Georgia-Pacific Railroad came through the town when the company built a line connecting Birmingham, Jefferson County, to Columbus, Mississippi in 1882-1883. The Berry family donated land for a depot and town, and both were named Berry in his honor. The town was incorporated in 1883. Its first municipal elections, however, were not held until 1899.

The first school was built in 1891, but it burned and was rebuilt in 1895. Alabama Christian College operated in the town from 1912 to 1922. Two fires, in 1902 and 1913, severely damaged the central business area, but the town rebuilt both times. The first phone system was installed in 1906, electricity for the town in 1925, and a municipal water system in 1935.

Demographics 

Berry's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,148. Of that number, 90.8 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 7.4 percent as African American, 1.2 percent as two or more races, and 0.8 percent as Hispanic or Latino. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $20,792, and the per capita income was $12,960.

Employment 

According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Berry was divided among the following industrial categories:

· Manufacturing (35.3 percent)
· Construction (10.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (9.7 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (9.0 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (8.3   percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.7 percent)
· Retail trade (5.3 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (4.0 percent)
· Public administration (4.0 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.7 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services   (3.7 percent)

Education 

Schools in Berry are part of the Fayette County School District; the town has approximately 607 students and 33 teachers in one elementary school and one high school.

Transportation 

County Highway 18 passes northeast-southwest through Berry, and County Road 63 runs north-south from town.

Events and Places of Interest 

Berry maintains two city parks, one with five baseball/softball fields, a playground, and two concession stands, and the other with a walking trail and pavilion.

Berry holds an annual Heritage Festival in April that features food, crafts, live music, a car, motorcycle, and tractor show, and children's activities.

The Theron Cannon and Company building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in April 2010; a year later, it was destroyed in the massive tornado outbreak of April 2011.

Additional Resources 

Fayette County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Fayette County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc., 1999.

Newell, Herbert Moses, Jr., and Jeanie Patterson Newell. History of Fayette County, Alabama. Fayette, Ala.: Newell Offset Printing, 1960.

James P. Kaetz
Auburn University


Published October 23, 2012
Last updated October 24, 2012