The Riverside area was first settled in the 1840s. Founded in 1882 as the town of Readman, when the first post office opened, it was renamed Riverside in 1883 and incorporated in 1886. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Riverside was a center for logging and sawmills, among other industries, aided by a rail line of the Southern Railway. As the surrounding forests were clear cut, the lumber industry left the area.
The Coosa River could be crossed in the area only by a ferry until 1930, when the John H. Bankhead Bridge was opened. The ferry was discontinued when the bridge stopped charging a toll to cross. Logan Martin Dam was completed on the Coosa River in 1960 and Logan Martin Lake had filled by1964, and, with the aid of federal grants, parts of the town and the line of the Southern Railway had to be moved upland to accommodate the 14-foot rise in the level of the Coosa River. At the same time, new lakefront property was created, the sale of which benefited the town. A portion of the original town now lies at the bottom of the lake.
A new city hall and fire station complex was built in 1969. Riverside today relies primarily on tourism resulting from its location on Logan Martin Lake, which draws people from throughout the state.
Riverside's population according to the 2010 Census was 2,208. Of that number, 87.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 10.6 percent as African American, 1.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.9 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Asian, and 0.2 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $65,020, and the per capita income was $29,020.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Riverside was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (21.3 percent)
· Manufacturing (15.7 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (9.8 percent)
· Retail trade (9.6 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (9.0 percent)
· Construction (6.8 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.9 percent)
· Public administration (5.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (5.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (4.3 percent)
· Information (3.2 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.3 percent)
· Wholesale trade (1.1 percent)
Students in Riverside attend St. Clair County schools; no public schools lie within the town limits.
Interstate Highway 20 runs east-west through the southern part of town. U.S. Highway 78 runs southwest-northeast through the extreme southern tip of town.
Events and Places of Interest
Logan Martin Lake, at 15,263 acres and 273 miles of shoreline, provides a range of water sports, including fishing, boating, water skiing, sailing, and swimming. The Merry Oakes Inn is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Cheaha State Park is located about 25 miles east of town.
Since 1999, Riverside has hosted the Amateur Radio Relay League Field Day, a two-day event in June for amateur radio operators
to test their skills against each other. It is held at the Riverside City Park, which also has baseball fields and a walking
Crow, Mattie Lou Teague. History of St. Clair County (Alabama). Huntsville, Ala.: Strode Publishers, 1973.
St. Clair County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of St. Clair County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.
James P. Kaetz
Published May 8, 2013
Last updated May 9, 2013