Edwardsville is located in central Cleburne County in the east-central part of Alabama. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
The first settlers to the Edwardsville arrived around 1828 from South Carolina and Georgia, and the community was first known as Fair Play after a post office established there in 1847. The town came to be known as Edwardsville in 1866 for William Edwards, one of three landowners who donated acreage to establish a town that might serve as the county seat of the newly created Cleburne County; Edwardsville was declared the county seat in 1867. Edwardsville soon attracted an influx of settlers and businesses prompted by the increase in people coming to town on county business. Sources differ as to when the town was incorporated, with some citing 1867 and others citing February 7, 1891.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Edwardsville had several stores, stables, blacksmith shops, a cotton gin, and a grist mill. The Edwardsville Methodist Seminary was established in 1896, and the school drew students from throughout the county and the state. In December 1905, Cleburne County held an election to decide if the county seat should be moved to Heflin. According to some local sources, Edwardsville won by about 80 votes, but county officials took the ballots from the county courthouse and then declared Heflin the winner. Edwardsville then began a slow decline from lost revenue. The seminary building burned in 1921 and was not rebuilt. In 2009, Edwardsville put in a bid for $375 million in federal stimulus dollars to fund various green energy projects in the town; city officials withdrew the bid after negative publicity about the effort appeared in U.S. News and World Report.
Edwardsville's population according to the 2010 Census was 202. Of that number, 98.0 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 1.5 percent as two or more races, and 0.5 percent as African American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $34,896, and the per capita income was $20,630.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Edwardsville was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (22.4 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (16.5 percent)
· Manufacturing (14.7 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (12.4 percent)
· Retail trade (10.6 percent)
· Public administration (7.1 percent)
· Wholesale trade (5.9 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (4.1 percent)
· Construction (2.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.4 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.2 percent)
Students in Edwardsville attend Cleburne County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 78/State Highway 4 runs the length of Edwardsville traveling northeast-southwest. The Norfolk Southern Corporation operates a rail line through Edwardsville.
Events and Places of Interest
Edwardsville is located on the eastern border of Talladega National Forest. The Edwardsville Cemetery is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Shoal Creek Church, just north of Edwardsville, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Edwardsville Baptist Church hosts an annual Sacred Harp Singing in the church each April.
Cleburne County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Cleburne County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.
Ruggeri, Amanda. Why a Tiny Town Wants a $375 Million Chunk of the Stimulus. U.S. News and World Report, 8 January 2009. http://www.usnews.com/news/stimulus/articles/2009/01/08/ why-a-tiny-alabama-town-wants-a-375-million-chunk-of-the-stimulus.
Stewart, Margaret Estelle. Alabama's Cleburne County: A History of Cleburne Country and Her People. Centre, Ala.: Stewart University Press, 1982. James P. Kaetz Auburn University.
James P. Kaetz
Published December 2, 2013
Last updated December 4, 2013