The Geraldine area was settled sparsely prior to the Civil War but did not become a town until the early 1880s. Originally called Lee, possibly in honor of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, Geraldine's current name is of uncertain origin. When the soon-to-be postmaster filed an application to establish a post office in 1882, he entered the town's name as "Lee." At some point in the process, however, that name was crossed out and the name "Geraldine" substituted. Thus the town became known by that name. One colorful version of the name's origin relates that it was dubbed Geraldine after an "Indian maiden."
Early businesses in town included a mill where wheat and corn were ground, a tanning yard, a cotton gin, and two general stores. Early schools in the area merged in 1910 to form Geraldine school; a building for the new school was opened in fall of 1911. Geraldine had the first accredited high school in the county, and the first vocational school. Geraldine was incorporated in February 1957.
Geraldine's population according to the 2010 Census was 896. Of that number, 93.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 3.7 percent as Native American, 2.0 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 1.8 percent as two or more races, and 0.3 percent as African American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $34,348, and the per capita income was $20,031.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Geraldine was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (26.6 percent)
· Manufacturing (26.1 percent)
· Retail trade (9.2 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.6 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (6.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.3 percent)
· Construction (6.0 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.4 percent)
· Public administration (3.4 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.9 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (2.6 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.6 percent)
Schools in Geraldine are part of the DeKalb County school system; the town has approximately 1,142 students and 60 teachers in one K-12 school.
State Highway 75 bisects Geraldine running southwest-northeast, and State Highway 227 runs north-south through the center of town.
Events and Places of Interest
Taylor's Emporium (Horton and Bryant General Store) is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Geraldine
sponsors an annual Fourth of July Picnic and a Christmas Parade.
DeKalb County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of DeKalb County, Alabama. Vol. I. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 1998.
Landmarks of DeKalb County, Inc. Landmarks: A Pictorial History of DeKalb County, Alabama. Collegedale, Tenn.: The College Press, 1971.
James P. Kaetz
Published April 12, 2013
Last updated April 12, 2013