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Tuscumbia, Alabama facts for kids

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Colbert County Courthouse in Tuscumbia
Colbert County Courthouse in Tuscumbia
"Charm of the Shoals" "The Town"
Location of Tuscumbia in Colbert County, Alabama.
Location of Tuscumbia in Colbert County, Alabama.
Country United States
State Alabama
County Colbert
Settled 1815
Incorporated (town) December 20, 1820
Named for Chickasaw Indian chief
 • Type Mayor/Council
 • Total 9.26 sq mi (23.98 km2)
 • Land 9.22 sq mi (23.87 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)
466 ft (142 m)
 • Total 9,054
 • Density 982.42/sq mi (379.30/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area codes 256, 938
FIPS code 01-77280
GNIS feature ID 0153743

Tuscumbia is a city in and the county seat of Colbert County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,423. The city is part of The Shoals metropolitan area.

Tuscumbia was the hometown of Helen Keller, who lived at Ivy Green. Much of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Tuscumbia Historic District. The city is the site of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.


Tuscumbia had its beginnings when the Michael Dixon family arrived about 1816. They traded with Chief Tucumseh for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. The men of the community requested that the state legislature incorporate them as a city. The town was incorporated in 1820 as Ococoposa and is one of Alabama's oldest towns. In 1821, its name was changed to Big Spring and on December 22, 1822, to Tuscumbia, after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaws.

Although shoals on the nearby Tennessee River made the river nearly impassable, a federal highway completed in 1820 provided the area with good access to markets. Tuscumbia soon became the center for agriculture in northern Alabama. A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832, and by 1850 Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South.

Tuscumbia became the county seat for Colbert County in 1867.

During the Civil War, the railroad hub made Tuscumbia a target of the Union Army, which destroyed the railroad shops and other parts of the town.

In April 1894, three African-Americans suspected of planning arson were removed from the Tuscumbia jail by a mob of 200 men who hung them from the bridge over the Tennessee River.


Tuscumbia is located northeast of the center of Colbert County at 34°43′51″N 87°42′10″W / 34.73083°N 87.70278°W / 34.73083; -87.70278 (34.730839, -87.702854). It is bordered to the north by the city of Sheffield and to the northeast by the city of Muscle Shoals. The Tennessee River is 1 mile (1.6 km) to the northwest.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.8 square miles (22.8 km2), of which 8.8 square miles (22.7 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.50%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,214
1880 1,369 12.8%
1890 2,491 82.0%
1900 2,348 −5.7%
1910 3,324 41.6%
1920 3,855 16.0%
1930 4,533 17.6%
1940 5,515 21.7%
1950 6,734 22.1%
1960 8,994 33.6%
1970 8,828 −1.8%
1980 9,137 3.5%
1990 8,413 −7.9%
2000 7,856 −6.6%
2010 8,423 7.2%
2020 9,054 7.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Tuscumbia racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 6,375 70.41%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,991 21.99%
Native American 28 0.31%
Asian 16 0.18%
Other/Mixed 416 4.59%
Hispanic or Latino 228 2.52%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 9,054 people, 3,304 households, and 2,207 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,423 people, 3,704 households, and 2,279 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,076.3 inhabitants per square mile (415.6/km2). There were 4,120 housing units at an average density of 520.7 per square mile (201.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.91% White, 21.16% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. 1.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,704 households, out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.64% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 30.15% from 25 to 44, 19.50% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,793, and the median income for a family was $39,831. Males had a median income of $32,159 versus $18,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,302. About 11.1% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 19.92% of those age 65 or over.


Tuscumbia City Schools and the Colbert County Board of Education provide public education for Tuscumbia. The following public schools are located in Tuscumbia:

  • Deshler Area Vocational Center (grades 9 through 12)
  • Deshler High School (grades 9 through 12)
  • Colbert Heights High School (grades 7 through 12)
  • Deshler Middle School (grades 6 through 8)
  • Colbert Heights Elementary School (grades K through 6)
  • New Bethel Elementary (grades K through 6)
  • R. E. Thompson Intermediate School (grades 3 through 5)
  • G. W. Trenholm Primary School (grades K through 2)

Private schools in Tuscumbia include Covenant Christian School (grades K through 12).

Notable people

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