Rainbow City is located in Etowah County in northeastern Alabama, just south of Gadsden along the Coosa River. Rainbow City has a mayor/council form of government. The city is named for U.S. Highway 411, known locally as Rainbow Drive, which runs through the town center.
The area that now includes Rainbow City was first settled in 1818, when farming families from the Carolinas and Georgia began to migrate westward in search of new agricultural and mercantile opportunities. The land on which the city now sits belonged to early settler Edmond Jones. At the time, it was known as Coosa Bend, for its location along the river; the town was later known as Morgan's Cross Road for its location on important trade routes between Gadsden and Ashville and the landing at Gilbert's Ferry. By the 1830s, the town had its first school and church. The town was not incorporated officially until 1950, at which time it became known as Rainbow City.
According to the 2010 Census, Rainbow City had a population of 9,602. Of that number, 87.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 7.2 percent as black, 2.6 percent as Asian, 2.4 percent as Hispanic, 1.4 percent as two or more races, and 0.4 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 Census estimates, was $40,236, and the per capita income was $23,422.
In 2010, the work force in Rainbow City was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (25.9 percent)
· Retail trade (16.4 percent)
· Manufacturing (14.7 percent)
· Professional, scientific, and administrative and waste management services (9.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation and accommodation and food services (9.0 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (7.0 percent)
· Construction (3.1 percent)
· Public administration (6.5 percent)
· Information (2.8 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (2.6 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.0 percent)
· Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (1.7 percent)
· Educational services, health care, and social assistance (9.0 percent)
Rainbow City schools are part of the Etowah County School System and include one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school serving approximately 1,300 students and employing approximately 75 teachers. There is also a private Christian academy for K-12 students. Gadsden State Community College is located six miles from the town.
Rainbow City is bisected by State Highway 77, which runs north-south through the city, and U.S. Highway 411, which runs northeast-southwest. The Interstate 759 spur connects the city to Interstate 59 to the west. Northeast Alabama Regional Airport serves general aviation needs in the area.
Events and Places of Interest
The Vivian Lee Maddox Sports Complex has facilities for baseball and softball as well as an 18-hole disc golf course. Hidden Oaks Golf Course is a nine-hole public facility that opened in 2001. Rainbow City Play Park is a large playground in the northwestern side of town.
James P. Kaetz
Published February 22, 2012
Last updated March 7, 2012