North Johns is located in southeastern Jefferson County in the central part of Alabama. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
North Johns was founded as a coal mining settlement, as were many small towns in Jefferson County. The first post office in the area opened in 1889 but later closed. The town incorporated in July 1912 and was named after mining engineer Llewellyn W. Johns, who was instrumental in opening and developing many of the mines in the Birmingham District. Johns had organized the Pratt Coal and Coke Company in 1879. During this period, the heart of the town was the Black Diamond Commissary, the company store, where miners bought most of their work clothing, mining equipment, and food. The local mine closed in the early 1940s, reopened briefly in the late 1940s, and closed permanently in the 1950s, leading to a steep decline in the town's economy and population. The commissary building burned, but the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Steel Company (TCI) office building was still intact as late as the 1980s, as was the TCI Teachers Cottage.
North Johns's population according to the 2010 Census was 145. Of that number, 49.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 46.2 percent as African American, and 4.1 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $41,528, and the per capita income was $13,307.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in North Johns was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (36.7 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (13.9 percent)
· Construction (11.4 percent)
· Manufacturing (11.4 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (8.9 percent)
· Retail trade (6.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (5.1 percent)
· Information (3.8 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (2.5 percent)
Students in North Johns attend Jefferson County schools; the town has no public schools located within its town limits.
County Road 36 runs northeast-southwest through North Johns.
Jefferson County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Jefferson County. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
White, Marjorie Longenecker. The Birmingham District: An Industrial History and Guide. Birmingham, Ala.: Birmingham Publishing Company, 1981.
James P. Kaetz
Published February 5, 2014
Last updated February 5, 2014