When first settled, the area that encompasses present-day Brookwood was known as Horsehead and was reached via a plank road from Tuscaloosa. In 1880, the Southern Mining and Transportation purchased property to develop mining interests. Nine years later, the land was purchase by the Standard Coal Company, which began mining in the area in 1889. A post office was established in the company's store in 1890, and four communities grew up around the mining center: East Brookwood, Central Brookwood, West Brookwood, and Kellerman. But Brookwood developed into a town because of the mines. The construction of rail line through the area brought additional businesses and residents, and by 1900, it had a population of more than 2,500.
Standard Coal merged with another company to form Alabama Coal. In 1900, Alabama Coal recognized the United Mine Workers of America, but during a 1920 strike, the state sent in the National Guard to break the strike. Several mine workers were killed. Most of the underground mines closed during the 1920s, and strip mining operations took their place.
The town began installing a water system in 1943; it was finally completed in the early 1970s. The separate communities eventually consolidated, and the city of Brookwood incorporated in September 1977. On September 23, 2001, a roof collapse and a series of explosions in the nearby Jim Walter Resources Mine No. 5 killed 13 miners, many of whom lived in Brookwood.
According to the 2010 Census, Brookwood had a population of 1,828. Of that number, 92.2 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 5.3 percent as African American, 2.0 percent as Hispanic, 1.4 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Native American, and 0.1 percent as Asian. The town's median household income, according to 2010 Census estimates, was $55,357, and the per capita income was $19,352.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Brookwood was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Manufacturing (20.1 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (18.4 percent)
· Retail trade (14.6 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (12.8 percent)
· Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (6.5 percent)
· Construction (5.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.7 percent)
· Public administration (4.5 percent)
· Professional, scientific, and administrative and waste management services (3.7 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (2.5 percent)
· Information (2.3 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (2.0 percent)
· Wholesale trade (1.2 percent)
Brookwood is part of the Tuscaloosa County Public Schools. It serves approximately 2,370 students and employs approximately 133 teachers in one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.
Brookwood is served by State Highway 216, which runs northeast-west, and County Road 59, which runs north-south.
Events and Places of Interest
Town Park offers playgrounds, ball fields and volleyball courts, and an indoor facility, the G. G. Hardin Center, with basketball
courts and event space. The Black Warrior River is located ten miles northwest of town and offers fishing, boating, swimming, and other recreational activities.
Tuscaloosa County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1999.
Claire M. Wilson
Published February 21, 2013
Last updated February 21, 2013