Chelsea is located in north-central Shelby County in the central part of the state. It has a mayor-council form of government.
The Chelsea area began to be settled by the mid-nineteenth century and was known by residents as Melrose, but it remained largely rural until 1908 when the Atlanta, Birmingham, and Atlantic Railroad came through and a community sprang up around the tracks. Railroad officials renamed the community Chelsea, and various stores, a grist mill, and a sawmill were established in the area.
Chelsea was incorporated March 1, 1996, with a population of 906. Benefitting, like many other northern and central Shelby County communities, by real estate development moving south from the Birmingham area during the past two decades, the town's population has grown ten-fold since incorporation.
Chelsea's population according to the 2010 Census was 10,183. Of that number, 89.5 percent identified themselves as white, 5.7 percent as African American, 3.2 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 2.0 percent as Asian, 1.3 percent as two or more races, and 0.3 percent as Native American. The town's median household income according to 2010 estimates was $84,868, and the per capita income was $34,747.
Chelsea's work force, according to 2010 Census estimates, was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.1 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (13.8 percent)
· Retail trade (11.8 percent)
· Manufacturing (9.3 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (7.9 percent)
· Construction (7.8 percent)
· Information (5.8 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (4.5 percent)
· Public administration (4.1 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (3.8 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.8 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.5 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.9 percent)
Schools in Chelsea are part of the Shelby County School District; the town has approximately 2,837 students and 163 teachers in one elementary school, one intermediate school, one middle school, and one high school. The city lies within 10 miles of five colleges and universities, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham-Southern College.
U.S. Highway 280 is located just north of Chelsea, running northwest. County Road 39 runs southwest from the city, and County Road 47 runs south. The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is located about 20 miles north of Chelsea.
Chelsea has a 29-acre park that includes a pavilion, playground, soccer field, three softball fields, a football field, and a walking trail.
The town opened a new historical museum in April of 2012 in the City Hall, in space formerly occupied by the public library; the library relocated across the street in a restored historic home. The city sponsors a Christmas Parade each December.
The Mt. Calvary Baptist Church (ca. 1905) is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Shelby County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Shelby County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1999.
James P. Kaetz
Published February 10, 2012
Last updated July 13, 2012