The area in which Eclectic is located is among the many places in Alabama that are rumored to have been on the route of the Hernando de Soto expedition in the sixteenth century. Originally part of Creek territory, the town's land was first owned by tribemember Ho-Pic-You-Che, who received an allotment of land through the Third Treaty of Washington in 1832. He sold it to the Alex J. Robinson Land Company in 1835, who in turn sold it to William Gray. Gray divided it into 213 plots and sold them for settlement. The town that developed became known as Pleasant Grove.
In 1877, resident M. L. Fielder bought 122 acres on the western border of Pleasant Grove and offered one-acre lots to settlers for free, provided that they built a house or established a business. Fielder then established a post office in his home, naming the new settlement Eclectic, after the school of alternative medicine in which he had trained. As more people settled in the area, both communities began to be referred to as Eclectic, and within a few years the name Pleasant Grove had passed out of general usage. In 1907, the town officially incorporated as Eclectic.
The county's first high school was built in Eclectic in 1911. The Birmingham and Southeastern Railroad came through the town in 1913, and the town had a brief boom period fueled by land sales. The railroad did not survive the Great Depression, closing in 1936, and the town has remained relatively small since that time.
Eclectic's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,001. Of that number, 86.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 11.0 percent as African American, 2.1 percent as two or more races, 1.3 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 0.4 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $36,771, and the per capita income was $19,311.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Eclectic was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (39.9 percent)
· Retail trade (11.8 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (8.3 percent)
· Manufacturing (8.0 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (7.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.8 percent)
· Construction (4.5 percent)
· Public administration (4.5 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.8 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (2.8 percent)
· Wholesale trade (1.8 percent)
· Information (1.0 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (0.5 percent)
Schools in Eclectic are part of the Elmore County school system; the town has approximately 1,675 students and 98 teachers in one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.
State Highway 63 winds through Eclectic southwest-northeast, and County Road 73 runs north-south through the eastern section of town. Several other county roads terminate in Eclectic, including County Roads 42, 418, 367, and 170.
Events and Places of Interest
Eclectic holds an annual Alabama Cotton Festival in October. It features a Cotton Pageant, 5k run, antique car show, games
for both children and adults, food, and live music, among other attractions. The town maintains two parks and a baseball complex.
Elmore County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Elmore County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2002.
James P. Kaetz
Published April 11, 2013
Last updated April 12, 2013