Located in Elmore and Autauga counties, 10 miles north of Montgomery, Millbrook is one of the fastest growing cities in central Alabama with plantation-era homes and a legacy of prominent leaders. Before the Civil War, Millbrook was largely a retreat from Montgomery. Situated between Alabama's Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic sections, the area's desirable climate now attracts more people every year. Mill Creek winds through Village Green, a park located in downtown Millbrook. Millbrook employs a mayor-council form of government, with officials serving four-year terms.
Native Americans first settled the area in the mid-1600s. The area that now includes Millbrook was part of the Creek town Coosawda. In 1763, European traders arrived in the area and began economic exchange with the Creeks and other Native American groups in the area. The first non-Indian settlements appeared in 1775 and were established largely by pioneers from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Much of the land in what is now Elmore County belonged to Colonel John Archer Elmore, a Revolutionary War veteran. Throughout the early to mid nineteenth century, Millbrook residents mostly traded with local Indians and farmed.
During the Civil War, Elmore County, including Millbrook, provided many soldiers; the Confederate Monument, located on the corner of Highway 143 and Monument Drive in the Robinson Springs area, lists the names of 186 men who served from Millbrook and the surrounding area. When yellow fever hit Montgomery in the late 1890s, people looked for refuge in Millbrook. After the epidemic, people then began renting summer houses to escape the busy atmosphere of Montgomery. In 1878, the Louisville & Nashville railroad completed a spur line through Millbrook, providing easier access to Montgomery, and many summer renters decided to buy houses and live in Millbrook year-round.
Between World War I and World War II, Millbrook's population increased dramatically, and it evolved into a city complete with communities, schools, churches, and rail transportation. Most of the city's progress was linked to transportation. Interstate 65 was completed in the mid 1970s, leading to more extensive growth and the city's incorporation in 1977.
Millbrook also has a rich history of important Alabama leaders. William Wyatt Bibb, who was appointed the first territorial governor of Alabama, resided in Millbrook. Thomas Bibb, William's cousin and a resident of Millbrook, was the second governor of Alabama. From 1841- 1845, Benjamin Fitzpatrick, a pioneer of the area, served as governor.
Once only a vacation destination, Millbrook's economic growth began with the introduction of the railroad spur line and continued as automobiles became more prevalent. When Interstate 65 was completed, it enabled residents to commute to Montgomery for work or school. Millbrook also began expanding the commercial areas in the city, given its extensive room for construction. As a result, many companies have located their businesses in the area. The Betsy's Cheese Straws bakery is located in Millbrook. Diebold, an internationally known business that provides security and service to ATMs, has a Millbrook office. A high-growth corridor located at the intersection of I-65 and Highway 14 is a major retail area. Companies such as Walmart, Walgreens, Zaxby's, Subway, and Huddle House have located in the area.
Millbrook’s population at the time of the 2010 Census was 14,640. Of that number, 74.2 percent identified themselves as white, 21.6 percent as African American, 2.8 percent as Hispanic, 2.0 percent as two or more races, 0.8 percent as Asian, and 0.4 percent as Native American. The city's median household income was $60,475, and per capita income was $26,002.
The workforce in present-day Millbrook is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (19.2 percent)
· Manufacturing (13.1 percent)
· Public administration (12.3 percent)
· Retail trade (11.4 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (11.4 percent)
· Construction (6.6 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.2 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.0 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (5.0 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.0 percent)
· Information (0.9 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.5 percent)
Millbrook is part of the Elmore County Public School system, with two elementary schools, one junior high school, and one high school serving approximately 3,600 students and employing approximately 200 teachers. Three private schools also are located in Millbrook, each serving pre-kindergarten though 12th grades.
Millbrook lies on County Road 143, which runs north-south through the city, and County Road 23, which runs east. Interstate 65 is located nearby and is accessed via several county roads. CSX and Norfolk Southern rail lines run through the town but do not provide commuter service.
Events and Places of Interest
Millbrook offers historical landmarks as well as natural attractions. Just off Main Street, Memorial Center Park honors Millbrook residents who gave their lives in World War II as well as Millbrook native Mary Sue Barry Cobb for her community service during that time. The 15-acre site offers visitors a walking trail, picnic sites, a playground, and softball fields. Three other parks offer sports facilities for baseball, softball, and football. The Confederate War Memorial recognizes those who fought in the Civil War. Robinson Springs Park features a fountain and retention area to capture fresh spring water. It houses a gazebo, picnic tables, and sitting areas.
Millbrook boasts several well-preserved early-nineteenth-century homes, although none are open to the public. Ellerslie, built by planter and politician Bolling Hall in 1818, was the first permanent home in the area. Hall headed the committee that welcomed the Marquis de Lafayette to Alabama in 1825, and his home was the first in Alabama to have glass window panes. The nearby community of Coosada is home to the Bibb Family Cemetery, which contain the remains of William Wyatt Bibb, Alabama's first governor.
Adrienne A. Thompson
Published September 1, 2009
Last updated October 24, 2012