York was established by settlers from South Carolina in the early 1830s and named for York, England. By 1838, it was known as New York and had a large enough population that townspeople built a cabin that was used as a school house and for religious services. The town became a center for farming and cotton production with gins and warehouses. When the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad passed through during the Civil War to connect Rome, Georgia, with a Confederate military hospital in Lauderdale, Mississippi, the town's name was changed to York Station. In the 1870s, the Alabama Great Southern Railroad linked York Station to Meridian, Mississippi. The town was incorporated as York on April 6, 1881.
Around 1885, the sale of alcohol was prohibited, and the town remained dry until 1968. About 1910, the Alabama, Tennessee, and Northern Railroad built a shop in York, stimulating economic development; the Bank of York was established in 1911 and still exists with multiple branches, an electric plant was constructed in 1911, and water and sewer systems in the 1920s. Railroad traffic diminished in the years right after World War II, prompting workers and families to move to other towns, particularly Mobile. The first African American mayor was elected in 1996, and the first woman mayor, also African American, was elected in 2000.
The population in York at the time of the 2010 Census was 2,538. Of that number, 85.6 of the respondents identified themselves as black, 13.6 percent as white, 1.0 percent as Hispanic, 0.3 percent as two or more races, 0.2 percent as Native American, and 0.1 percent as Pacific Islander. The median household income in 2010 according to Census estimates was $19,000, and per capita income was $13,577.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the York workforce was divided among the following major industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (33.4 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (16.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (13.6 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.2 percent)
· Public administration (7.0 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (6.8 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (3.8 percent)
· Retail trade (3.6 percent)
· Construction (3.4 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.4 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (1.0 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (0.9 percent)
Public education in York is administered by Sumter County, which oversees one junior high school and one high school that collectively serve approximately 945 students and employ approximately 60 educators. In addition, there is one private pre-K-12 school. The University of West Alabama is located approximately 10 miles away in Livingston.
York is accessed by U.S. Highway 11 and State Highway 7, which run northeast and southwest, and State Highway 17, which runs north-south. York lies approximately two miles south of Interstates 20 and 59. The Norfolk Southern Corporation operates a rail line through York. Demopolis Municipal Airport lies approximately 24 miles from York and provides general aviation services.
Events and Places of Interest
Coleman Center for the Arts was established in 1985 and sponsors art programs, classes, and numerous other activities for members of the community. The city oversees several parks and Lake Louise, which provides opportunities for boating and fishing and features a nature trail. The City of York Sports Complex includes a walking path and playground equipment. Near York is the private Sumter Country Club, which features a nine-hole course and a swimming pool.
Published May 16, 2012
Last updated February 28, 2013