The area near Hurtsboro was settled somewhat later than other sections of Russell County because it was located somewhat south of the Federal Road, the main route for settlement in the early nineteenth century, and thus did not immediately benefit from the tide of settlers coming in on the road. In 1857, Joel Hurt Sr. and his partner William Marshall established a sawmill near the route of the Mobile and Girard Railroad. The settlement that grew up around the sawmill became known as Hurtsville. When the town incorporated in 1872, the name was changed to Hurtsboro to avoid any confusion in the postal service with already incorporated Huntsville.
Hurtsboro's zenith came in the early 1900s, when two railways, the Central of Georgia and the Seaboard Airline, both extended rail lines through the town and shared a depot there. Stores and hotels serving travelers on the two lines fronted the Central of Georgia track. With the decline in railway travel came a corresponding decline in the city's population.
On April 1, 1981, Hurtsboro was dealt a severe blow when a tornado hit the town, killing two and injuring 23 and damaging many downtown buildings and residences.
According to the 2010 Census, Hurtsboro's population was 553. Of that number, 69.6 percent identified themselves as black, 29.1 percent as white, 2.2 percent as Hispanic, and 0.5 percent as Native American. The city's median household income was $25,000, and per capita income was $13,760.
The workforce in present-day Hurtsboro is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (30.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (29.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (13.4 percent)
· Retail trade (9.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (4.8 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.9 percent)
· Information (3.9 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (3.1 percent)
· Construction (1.6 percent)
Schools in Hurtsboro are part of the Russell County School District; the town has approximately 153 students and 13 teachers in one elementary school.
Hurtsboro lies on State Highway 51, which runs north-southwest through the city, and State Highway 26, which runs east-west. County Road 10 runs northwest from the city, and County Road 40 runs southeast from the city.
Events and Places of Interest
The Joel Hurt House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the Hurtsboro Historic District.
Russell County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Russell County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
James P. Kaetz
Published July 15, 2011
Last updated March 1, 2013