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Attalla
Downtown Attalla
Downtown Attalla
Motto(s): 
"Gateway to Northeast Alabama"
Location of Attalla in Etowah County, Alabama.
Location of Attalla in Etowah County, Alabama.
Country United States
State Alabama
County Etowah
Area
 • Total 7.00 sq mi (18.13 km2)
 • Land 7.00 sq mi (18.13 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
545 ft (166 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 5,827
 • Density 832.55/sq mi (321.46/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
35954
Area code(s) 256
FIPS code 01-03028
GNIS feature ID 0157880

Attalla is a city in Etowah County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,048.

History

AttallaAlabamaPostOffice
The U.S. Post Office in Attalla was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 21, 1983.

The town occupies the site of an Indian village which was of considerable importance during the Creek War. It was in Attalla that David Brown, a Cherokee assisted by the Rev. D. S. Butterick, prepared the Cherokee Spelling Book.

Attalla was not founded until 1870, on land donated by W. C. Hammond, a plantation owner. It was incorporated as a city government on February 5, 1872. The town was officially named "Attalla" in 1893, from the Cherokee language word meaning "mountain". Attalla was prosperous until the railroads that it depended on went into bankruptcy.

Attalla is the site of the first hydroelectric dam to provide electricity for a city, constructed in 1887.

20th century to present

William Lewis Moore, a U.S. postman and white civil rights activist, was murdered here on April 23, 1963 as he tried to walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to deliver his letter in support of civil rights to Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. The suspected murderer, Floyd Simpson, was never charged with the crime.]].

Geography

Attalla is in Etowah County at 34°0′35″N 86°5′54″W / 34.00972°N 86.09833°W / 34.00972; -86.09833 (34.009818, -86.098413). It is bordered to the east by the city of Gadsden, the county seat, and at its southernmost point by Rainbow City.

Interstate 59 runs along the eastern edge of the city, with access from Exits 181 and 183. U.S. Route 11 passes through the center of town as Third Street and runs generally parallel to I-59, leading northeast 36 miles (58 km) to Fort Payne and southwest 58 miles (93 km) to Birmingham. U.S. Routes 278 and 431 also pass through the center of Attalla, leading east 5 miles (8 km) to downtown Gadsden. US 431 runs north 20 miles (32 km) to Albertville, while US 278 leads west 47 miles (76 km) to Cullman. Alabama State Route 77 passes through the southern section of Attalla, leading north 3 miles (5 km) to US 431 and southeast 6 miles (10 km) to Rainbow City.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.0 square miles (18.1 km2), all of it land. Big Wills Creek, a tributary of the Coosa River, flows southeasterly through the city. The southern end of Lookout Mountain rises to the east overlooking the city.

Demographics

City of Attalla

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 351
1890 1,254 257.3%
1900 1,692 34.9%
1910 2,513 48.5%
1920 3,462 37.8%
1930 4,585 32.4%
1940 4,885 6.5%
1950 7,537 54.3%
1960 8,257 9.6%
1970 7,510 −9.0%
1980 7,737 3.0%
1990 6,859 −11.3%
2000 6,592 −3.9%
2010 6,048 −8.3%
2020 5,827 −3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 6,048 people, 2,442 households, and 1,627 families living in the city. The population density was 983.9 people per square mile (381/km2). There were 2,841 housing units at an average density of 424 per square mile (164.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.5% White, 12.7% Black or African American, .4% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 2.9% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. 4.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the 2,442 households 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.8% of households were one person and 13.0% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.07.

The age distribution was 22.7% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% 65 or older. The median age was 39.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

The median household income was $32,426 and the median family income was $35,934. Males had a median income of $33,428 versus $25,441 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,457. About 13.9% of families and 18.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.5% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.

2020 census

Attalla racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 4,337 74.43%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 774 13.28%
Native American 13 0.22%
Asian 33 0.57%
Other/Mixed 333 5.71%
Hispanic or Latino 337 5.78%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 5,827 people, 2,151 households, and 1,364 families residing in the city.

Education

The Attalla City School System is the public school district. As of 2006 it has some 1,823 students.

The district includes the following schools:

  • Attalla Elementary School (Grades Pk-5)
  • Etowah Middle School (Grades 6–8)
  • Etowah High School (Grades 9-12)

Notable people

  • Gerald William Barrax (1933–2019), poet and educator
  • Betty Kelly (born September 16, 1944), member of Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas
  • Larry Means (born April 20, 1947), former member of the Alabama Senate and current mayor
  • Patrick Nix (born April 7, 1972), former Auburn University quarterback
  • Tyrone Nix (born September 30, 1972), defensive coordinator for the Ole Miss Rebels
  • B. L. Noojin (1885–1950), athlete, educator, and politician
  • Albert Staton (1899–1980), basketball and football player for Georgia Institute of Technology

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