Bessemer, Alabama facts for kids

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Bessemer, Alabama
City
Location in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama
Location in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama
Country United States
State Alabama
County Jefferson
Area
 • Total 40.8 sq mi (105.6 km2)
 • Land 40.7 sq mi (105.4 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 509 ft (155 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 27,053
 • Density 727.3/sq mi (281/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 35020-35023
Area code(s) 205
FIPS code 01-05980
GNIS feature ID 0113977
Website http://www.bessemeral.org/

Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States, eight miles (13 km) west of Hoover. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census.

History

The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben, after he had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887.

Geography

Bessemer is located at 33°23′29″N 86°57′24″W / 33.39139°N 86.95667°W / 33.39139; -86.95667 (33.391343, -86.956569), about 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Birmingham, a little north of the center of the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.8 square miles (106 km2), of which 40.7 square miles (105 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.17%) is water.

Bessemer is situated in the midst of the iron ore and limestone district of Alabama, in the southern part of Jones Valley (about 3 miles (4.8 km) wide). Iron ore was mined on the hills on the city's southeast side, coal was (and still is) mined to the north and west, and limestone deposits were also nearby. All three ingredients were necessary for steelmaking, which led to the area becoming a major steel center from about 1890 through the twentieth century. Steel is no longer made within the city limits, but is still manufactured in the neighboring city of Fairfield.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bessemer has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Bessemer, Alabama
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.8
(55)
15.6
(60)
20
(68)
24.4
(76)
28.3
(83)
32.2
(90)
33.9
(93)
33.3
(92)
30.6
(87)
25
(77)
19.4
(67)
14.4
(58)
23.9
(75)
Average low °C (°F) -0.6
(31)
1.7
(35)
5
(41)
8.9
(48)
14.4
(58)
18.3
(65)
20.6
(69)
20
(68)
16.7
(62)
10
(50)
5
(41)
1.1
(34)
10
(50)
Precipitation mm (inches) 142
(5.6)
124
(4.9)
152
(6)
124
(4.9)
132
(5.2)
114
(4.5)
130
(5.1)
94
(3.7)
107
(4.2)
94
(3.7)
130
(5.1)
124
(4.9)
1,463
(57.6)
Source: Weatherbase

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 4,544
1900 6,358 39.9%
1910 10,864 70.9%
1920 18,674 71.9%
1930 20,721 11.0%
1940 22,826 10.2%
1950 28,445 24.6%
1960 33,054 16.2%
1970 33,663 1.8%
1980 31,729 −5.7%
1990 33,497 5.6%
2000 29,672 −11.4%
2010 27,456 −7.5%
Est. 2015 26,730 −2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

As of the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 27,336 people residing in the city. 72.0% were African American, 24.0% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 0.4% from two or more races. 3.2% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census of 2000, there were 29,672 people, 11,537 households, and 7,868 families residing in the city. The population density was 729.0 people per square mile (281.5/km2). There were 12,790 housing units at an average density of 314.2 per square mile (121.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 69.55% Black or African American, 28.93% White, 0.28% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 1.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,537 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.6% were married couples living together, 29.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 82.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,066, and the median income for a family was $28,230. Males had a median income of $29,413 versus $21,552 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,232. About 24.2% of families and 27.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.8% of those under age 18 and 24.7% of those age 65 or over.

  • White 6,669
  • Black 19,546
  • Hispanic 1,113
  • Non-Hispanic 26,136
  • White Non-Hispanic 6,482
  • American Indian and Alaska Native 88
  • Asian 53
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0
  • Other 858
  • Two or More Races 242

Transportation

In 1911, the town was served by five railroad lines: Alabama Great Southern (Queen & Crescent route), the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham (St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad system), the Birmingham Southern Railroad, and the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic railways. By 2006, these companies had consolidated to CSX Transportation, which has lines to Birmingham and Brookwood; and the Norfolk Southern Railway, with lines to Birmingham, Mobile and New Orleans; Birmingham Southern continues in service. A major railroad feature is the "High Line", constructed by Tennessee Coal & Iron (predecessor to U.S. Steel) to ship iron ore from the mines on the city's south side to the steel works in nearby Fairfield. This elevated line traverses the eastern side of the city. Though tracks were removed over much of the High Line when the mines closed, part of the line is still used by the Birmingham Southern, and all of the roadbed and bridges remain in place.

Bessemer is served by the small Bessemer Airport to the southeast of the city. Commercial service to/from the city is served by the much larger Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport located 5 miles (8.0 km) from downtown Birmingham.

Major highways in Bessemer include I-20/59, I-459, U.S. Route 11, and State Route 150, which connects Bessemer with Hoover.

Culture

The performance center Bessemer Civic Center provides multiple performance spaces for music and theatre.

Notable animal

  • Matilda (chicken), famous fowl and Guinness World Record holder

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