Centreville


The seat of Bibb County, Centreville, was first incorporated on January 21, 1832. The town was built at the location of a waterfall on the Cahaba River and is noted for its historic district and courthouse. It has a mayor-council form of government.

Early History 

Centreville, on the west bank of the Cahaba River, was established and named by Sarah F. Chotard, who received a land grant from the federal government in 1823 for "services" provided by her husband. A resident named Frank Chotard owned land and a ferry at that location, but early accounts are unclear about his relation to Sarah Chotard. The location had been inhabited by settlers and was known as Falls of the Cahaba and Centerville before the current spelling variation came into common use.

Centreville is the county seat of Bibb County, CentrevilleCentreville became the county seat soon after the county was created in 1818. The seat moved briefly in the mid 1820s to present-day Antioch. In the 1857-58 state legislative session, a vote was held to relocate the seat to Randolph, but Centreville prevailed. A new county courthouse, the fourth, was completed in 1859. Boundary lines were later redrawn for the town and it was re-incorporated in 1890. That year, a mayor and city council were first elected and are believed to be the Centreville's first governing body. In 1898, the Mobile and Ohio Railroad built a line through Centreville, prompting rapid growth, including the construction of stores and hotels. In 1902, the cornerstone to a new courthouse was laid. The following year, a fire destroyed many of the wooden buildings housing town businesses; they were rebuilt with brick.

Demographics 

Centreville’s population at the time of the 2010 Census was 2,778. Of that number, 72.2 percent identified themselves as white, 23.7 as African American, 3.0 percent as Hispanic, 1.1 percent as two or more races, 0.4 percent as Asian, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The city's median household income was $31,642, and per capita income was $13,431.

Employment 

The workforce in present-day Centreville is divided among the following occupational categories:

· Manufacturing (36.2 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (14.7   percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (9.3 percent)
· Retail trade (6.8 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.7 percent)
· Construction (5.0 percent)
· Public administration (4.2 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services   (3.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.3 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (2.4 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (2.1 percent)
· Wholesale trade (1.9 percent)

Education 

Public education in Centreville is administered by the Bibb County Public School District, which consists of an elementary school, a junior high school, and a high school. Collectively, these schools enroll approximately 1,500 students and employ approximately 90 teachers. In addition, the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade Cahawba Christian Academy enrolls approximately 125 students and employs about nine teachers.

Tra nsportation  

Centreville is accessed by U.S. 82 and State Route 6, both of which run southeast-northwest; State Route 25, which runs northeast–southwest; and State Route 219, which runs north-south. Bibb County Airport is located just east of Centreville on U.S. 82.

Events and Places of Interest  

The Centreville Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and features examples of late Victorian and late nineteenth and twentieth century Revival style buildings, including the Bibb County Courthouse. Also on the register in Centreville is the Davidson-Smitherman House (ca. 1825). The Bibb County Training School (established in 1900 as the Centreville Industrial Institute for African Americans), the Sandy Chapel Methodist Church (ca. 1910), and the Vance-Ellison House (ca. 1899) are on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. The Cahaba River Historical Park is maintained by the city and provides picnic areas, primitive camping, recreational vehicle accommodations, a boat ramp, trails, and meeting space. Ross F. Gray Memorial Park is located just north of the Bibb County Airport. Centreville hosts a "Christmas on the Square" celebration each December.

Additional Resources  

Heritage of Bibb County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.

Ellison, Rhoda Coleman. Bibb County, Alabama: The First Hundred Years, 1818-1918. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1984.

Christopher Maloney
Auburn University


Published September 14, 2010
Last updated July 12, 2012