Excel is located in southeastern Monroe County in the southwestern part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Former University of Alabama and National Football League star linebacker Lee Roy Jordan was born in Excel.
The first settlers to the Excel area arrived around 1875, establishing homesteads and primarily raising sheep and cattle. By 1894, the community had expanded enough to warrant its own post office, which was named Excel, because of the excellent farm land there. The first school, a one-room structure, was built also around 1894; it was replaced in 1896 with a two-room school. The lumber industry became a significant contributor to the town's economy with the construction of a mill near Excel on Bear Creek.
Around the turn of the century, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad completed a line from Repton to Pine Apple. The Menistee and Repton Railroad built a spur that adjoined the L&N line and passed through Excel, providing ready shipping for lumber and farm products from the area. Excel built a depot to accommodate the railroad, and the increased rail traffic brought increased expansion of the town itself, with the addition of general merchandise stores, a drug store, a hardware store, and somewhat later a garage. Excel's first bank opened in 1918, and the town had the first accredited high school and vocational school in Monroe County by 1920, with a new building added by 1930. A new post office building went up in 1926. The town expanded via land purchases in 1924 and 1927. The rail line ceased operation in 1935, and by 1937, Excel's growth had slowed further because of competition from the nearby towns of Monroeville and Frisco City. Excel incorporated in February 1948.
Excel 's population according to the 2010 Census was 723. Of that number, 91.1 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 5.0 percent as African American, 2.4 percent as two or more races, 1.4 percent as Native American, and 0.7 percent as Hispanic or Latino. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $34,677, and the per capita income was $17,863.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Excel was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (24.2 percent)
· Manufacturing (20.6 percent)
· Construction (18.3 percent)
· Public administration (6.7 percent)
· Retail trade (6.3 percent)
· Wholesale trade (6.0 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.0 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.6 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (2.4 percent)
· Information (1.6 percent)
Schools in Excel are part of the Monroe County school system; the town has approximately 1,000 students and 61 teachers in one K-12 school.
State Highway 136 runs north and east from the center of town, and Interstate Highway 65 is located about 20 miles southeast of Excel. Monroe County Airport is located four miles to the north of the town.
Events and Places of Interest
The Calvin J. Rhodes House is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Monroe County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Monroe County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2004.
James P. Kaetz
Published August 9, 2013
Last updated August 9, 2013