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Semmes, Alabama
Location of Semmes in Mobile County, Alabama.
Location of Semmes in Mobile County, Alabama.
Coordinates: 30°46′41″N 88°15′32″W / 30.778°N 88.259°W / 30.778; -88.259Coordinates: 30°46′41″N 88°15′32″W / 30.778°N 88.259°W / 30.778; -88.259
Country United States
State Alabama
County Mobile
Area
 • Total 14.63 sq mi (37.89 km2)
 • Land 14.60 sq mi (37.80 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
Elevation
217 ft (66 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 4,941
 • Density 338.52/sq mi (130.71/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
FIPS code 01-69240

Semmes (pronounced locally) is a city in western Mobile County, Alabama, in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. Formerly an unincorporated community, voters in Semmes approved incorporation of a part of the community as the city of Semmes on August 17, 2010. After a statutory enumeration, or census, the town was officially declared incorporated on May 2, 2011, by Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis. The statutory census indicated that the town has a population of 2,897 people. It covers 2,100 acres (850 ha). Semmes first mayor was Judy Hale. Current Mayor for the City of Semmes is Brandon Van Hook, a local business owner. Mayor Van Hook was elected by the people in August 2020 and replace the incumbent Mayor David Baker who only served one term.

Geography

Semmes is located at 30.778N, -88.259W. Elevation is 256 feet. The Semmes area is bounded to the North by the Citronelle area, bounded to the East by the cities of Saraland and Prichard, bounded to the South by the city of Mobile, and finally bounded to the West by Big Creek Lake.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
2020 4,941
U.S. Decennial Census

History

The community was named for Admiral Raphael Semmes (1809–1877), an officer in the United States Navy from 1826 to 1860 and the Confederate States Navy from 1860 to 1865.

Incorporation

On March 3, 2010, the members of the Friends of Semmes and the associated Incorporate Semmes organizations presented Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis with a petition seeking to incorporate an area within the Semmes community as the City of Semmes. The proposed incorporation did not include the entire area known as Semmes due to certain population density requirements of Alabama State Law. Judge Davis set the date for the referendum as Tuesday, August 17, 2010. After voting closed, unofficial returns showed the plebiscite passing with 74.19% of the voters in favor of incorporation. The vote must be certified by the Probate Judge to be official, however, this seems almost certain as the number of provisional ballots is not enough to overcome the deficit. Some voters complained about the "zig-zag" nature of the proposed city limits which excluded some areas of the community from the vote, with some even referring to the proposed city as a gerrymander.

Once the election was certified in August, the Mobile County Probate Judge ordered an enumeration, or census, of the citizens of the new municipality, in accordance with Alabama law. The enumeration was completed in late April, 2011, and the city was declared incorporated by the Probate Judge on May 2, 2011. The Probate Judge also set the date of the first municipal election which was scheduled for June 28, 2011, to elect the mayor and the 5 at-large city council seats. Additionally, the City of Mobile, upon the issuance of the order of incorporation, removed the Semmes from its police, fire, and planning extraterritorial jurisdictions, and no longer provides any services to the areas or collects any taxes in the area.

Only one person, Judy Hale, filed with the Probate Judge to run for the office of Mayor, and, as such, was deemed elected without an election taking place. Likewise, only 5 citizens qualified to run for the 5 at-large City Council seats, and were subsequently deemed elected. Those Council Members are: Jerry Shirey, Dave Baker, Mary Calhoun, Phillip Dodd, and Teresa Bonner. They will take the oath of office at the first Semmes City Council meeting on June 6, 2011.

Future

Leaders of the incorporation effort stated to members of the local media and to some citizens not included in the incorporation area that future plans include several annexations of the surrounding area.

Parks

Community Park

The first-ever Community Park in Semmes opened on February 3, 2007. The 10,400 sq ft (970 m2) park was built adjacent to the Semmes Community Center at a cost of $600,000.

Semmes Heritage Park

Semmes School is the oldest continuous-in-use school in the State of Alabama and is listed on the Alabama Historical Landmarks.
In 1994, a group of volunteers, former students, teachers and community citizens formed "Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc." to preserve the 1902 one-room Semmes School and return it to its original location. The Mobile County School Board had planned to tear down the school when concerned citizens formed a group to save to school. The School Board gave a 99-year lease to the group and moved the school back to its original site. The school was restored to its 1902 status in 1998 by volunteers and donations, and continues to operate with volunteers as a hands-on 1900s school. Alumni & Friends of Semmes School is a volunteer organization whose goal is that Semmes 1902 School will continue to be used as a living history classroom. Malone Chapel is a replica of Mt. Pleasant Church that was located on this exact spot. The chapel is rented for weddings and special events with the funds going towards operational expenses.

Education

Primary and secondary education

Semmes is a part of the Mobile County Public Schools system.

  • Mary G. Montgomery High School (9-12)
  • Semmes Middle School (6-8)
  • Semmes Elementary
  • Allentown Elementary

Elementary schools serving nearby areas outside of the city limits:

  • Elsie Collier Elementary School
  • Tanner Williams Elementary School
  • Turner Elementary

Private schools:

  • Semmes First Baptist School
  • Faith Academy (Mobile)
  • Day Star Christian Academy (Wilmer)

Higher education

Semmes is in proximity to five tertiary institutions:

Notable people

  • Jake Peavy, MLB pitcher
  • Ralph Staten, NFL player

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