Springville is located in central St. Clair County, in the east-central part of the state. It has a mayor/council form of government. Hank Patterson, who played Fred Ziffel on the Green Acres television series, was born in Springville.
The Springville area was a popular stopping place for Native Americans and European settlers traveling through the region because of its natural freshwater springs; the town eventually would take its name from those springs and was initially known as Big Springs. Permanent settlers began arriving as early as the mid-1810s, with the first church being established in 1817. The name was changed first to Pinkhill in 1833, when the first post office was established, and subsequently to Springville in December 1834.
An academy for male and female students was built in 1861 and in 1873 was renamed Springville High School. The Alabama Great Southern Railway came through town in 1870; unfortunately, a cholera epidemic hit at the same time, killing many of the railroad workers. The town was incorporated in December 1880. Telephone service in town was established in 1912, and the Alabama Power Company brought electricity to town in 1925. Springville constructed a water and sewer system that went into operation in 1935. A new city hall was constructed in 1957.
On January 16, 1969, the town nearly met disaster when a train carrying propane tanks derailed at the Springville Depot and hit additional propane gas tanks that then exploded. Firefighters from as far away as Birmingham as well as the National Guard responded to help fight the blaze. Although damage to the town was considerable, it was not irreparable, and no one was killed.
Springville's population according to the 2010 Census was 4,080. Of that number, 93.6 percent identified themselves as white, 4.7 percent as black, 0.9 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Hispanic, 0.4 percent as Asian, and 0.3 percent as Native American. The town's median household income was $66,667, and the per capita income was $27,526.
Springville's work force was divided among the following industrial categories in 2010:
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (15.7 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (13.9 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (13.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (9.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (9.1 percent)
· Public administration (8.2 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (6.1 percent)
· Wholesale trade (6.0 percent)
· Construction (5.9 percent)
· Retail trade (5.2 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.3 percent)
· Information (2.8 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.1 percent)
Leading employers in the area include Fontaine Specialized Inc., Butler Imports Inc., Vulcan Electric Company Inc., and Liddell Trailers LLC.
Schools in Springville are part of the St. Clair School District; the town has approximately 2,135 students and 127 teachers in one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.
U.S. Highway 11 runs northeast-southwest through the city,, and State Highway 174 runs northwest-southeast. Interstate 59 is located less than a mile southeast of Springville, running northeast-southwest.
The Presley Store, the Springville Historic District, and the C. A. Elster Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Springville Historic District also is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Springville has three municipal parks that collectively house baseball and softball fields, a pavilion, batting cages, a walking
track, playground equipment, and a basketball court. Big Spring Park also features a small lake fed by a spring that gives
the town its name.
Crow, Mattie Lou Teague. History of St. Clair County (Alabama). Huntsville, Ala.: Strode Publishers, 1973.
St. Clair County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of St. Clair County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 1998.
Windham, Margaret Frances. History of Springville, Alabama, 1969: The Sesquicentennial Anniversary. Springville, Ala.: n.p., 1969.
James P. Kaetz
Published February 15, 2012
Last updated March 30, 2012