Thorsby


Thorsby is located in north-central Chilton County in the central part of Alabama. It has a mayor/council form of government.

History 

Thorsby was founded by three Swedish men who had immigrated first to the North but sought a more hospitable climate in The home of Thorsby, Chilton County, founder Theodore T. T. Thorson Homethe South in 1895 or 1896. The group included T. T. Thorson, for whom the town is named. The men formed a land company and advertised in northern newspapers for people to settle the area, attracting more Swedish immigrants as well as others from Norway and Denmark.

The town was incorporated in 1901, and the first high school in the county, Thorsby Institute, was built in 1906. The school later became a public school and today exists as Thorsby High School. Much of the town was damaged in a fire in 1914, but the citizens quickly rebuilt.

The local economy was sustained by agriculture, with farmers growing strawberries, peaches, and grapes, some of which were used to make wine.

Demographics  Thorsby City Hall is seen on highway 31 Thorsby City Hall

Thorsby's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,980. Of that number, 89.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 5.7 percent as African American, 5.7 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.6 percent as Asian, 0.6 percent as two or more races, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $45,179, and the per capita income was $21,269.

Employment 

According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Thorsby was divided among the following industrial categories:

· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (16.9   percent)
· Construction (16.3 percent)
· Manufacturing (15.1 percent)
· Public administration (7.9 percent)
· Retail trade (7.4 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services   (6.8 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (6.6 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (4.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.4 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.9 percent)
· Information (2.1 percent)

Education 

Schools in Thorsby are part of the Chilton County school system; the town has approximately 831 students and 54 teachers in one high school.

Transportation 

U.S. Highway 31 runs northwest/southeast through Thorsby, and County Road 50 runs roughly east/west. Gragg-Wade Field Airport is located nine miles to the southeast in Clanton.

Events and Places of Interest  Shopfronts near the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Downtown Thorsby

Although the Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish families in the area are largely now gone, Thorsby celebrates its heritage by holding a Swedish Fest each Autumn. It features a pageant, craft vendors, a car show, and food and live music.

Thorsby Public School is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Several houses in town were built by the original settlers, including the T. T. Thorson home.

Additional Resources 

Chilton County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Chilton County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.

Wyatt, T. E. Chilton County and Her People. Montevallo, Ala.: Times Printing Company, 1976.

James P. Kaetz
Auburn University


Published August 15, 2012
Last updated March 22, 2013