The first settler in the area was David Brown, who arrived around 1836. By the 1880 census, the area had 74 people and became known as Pleasant Grove within a few years. Originally the town was sustained primarily by agriculture, but with the opening of the first coal mine in the area in 1916, the Pleasant Grove economy quickly grew dependent on the mines.
The town was not incorporated until 1934, a move made necessary because many local wells were failing as the area's water table was undercut by the deep coal mines. A federal program enabled the town to build a new water system after incorporation.
On April 27, 2011, a devastating tornado struck Pleasant Grove, destroying numerous homes and killing 10 people.
According to the 2010 Census, Pleasant Grove's population was 10,110. Of that number, 53.7 percent identified themselves as white, 44.8 percent as black, 0.6 percent as Hispanic, 0.3 percent as Native American, and 0.2 percent as Asian. The city's median household income was $66,681, and per capita income was $26,833.
The workforce in present-day Pleasant Grove is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (16.2 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (8.9 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (8.4 percent)
· Retail trade (7.6 percent)
· Public administration (7.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (5.8 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.6 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services (5.5 percent)
· Construction (4.1 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.2 percent)
· Information (2.8 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.2 percent)
Schools in Pleasant Grove are part of the Jefferson County School District; the town has approximately 1,885 students and 104 teachers in one elementary school and one high school.
County Road 57 runs north-south through Pleasant Grove, and Interstate 59 is located approximately five miles southeast of the city. The closest major airport to Pleasant Grove is the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, approximately 20 miles to the northeast.
Events and Places of Interest
Pleasant Grove has one city park that includes basketball and tennis courts, pavilions, playground equipment, and picnic areas. The city also has an athletics complex with baseball, softball, and football fields.
Pleasant Grove holds an annual Christmas Parade.
Jefferson County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Jefferson County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
James P. Kaetz
Published July 18, 2011
Last updated July 27, 2012