Berry is named for one of the early large landowners in the area, Thompson Berry, who also owned a cotton gin and a gristmill. The Georgia-Pacific Railroad came through the town when the company built a line connecting Birmingham, Jefferson County, to Columbus, Mississippi, in 1882-83. The Berry family donated land for a depot and town, and both were named Berry in their honor. The town was incorporated in 1883. Its first municipal elections, however, were not held until 1899.
The first school was built in 1891, but it burned and was rebuilt in 1895. Alabama Christian College operated in the town from 1912 to 1922. Two fires, in 1902 and 1913, severely damaged the central business area, but the town rebuilt both times. The first phone system was installed in 1906, electricity for the town in 1925, and a municipal water system in 1935.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Berry recorded a population of 1,334. Of that number, 87.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 6.1 percent as two or more races, 5.7 percent as African American, 3.5 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 0.3 as Asian. The town’s median household income was $47,500, and the per capita income was $20,028.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Berry was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (29.2 percent)
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (18.1 percent)
- Retail trade (12.4 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (7.3 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (7.1 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.3 percent)
- Wholesale trade (4.4 percent)
- Construction (4.0 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (3.8 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (3.8 percent)
- Public administration (2.9 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (1.1 percent)
- Information (0.7 percent)
Schools in Berry are part of the Fayette County School District; the town has one elementary school and one high school.
County Highway 18 passes northeast-southwest through Berry, and County Road 63 runs north-south from town.
Events and Places of Interest
Berry maintains two city parks, one with five baseball/softball fields, a playground, and two concession stands, and the other with a walking trail and pavilion.
Berry holds an annual Heritage Festival in April that features food, crafts, live music, a car, motorcycle, and tractor show, and children’s activities.
The Theron Cannon and Company building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in April 2010; a year later, it was destroyed in the massive tornado outbreak of April 2011.
Fayette County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Fayette County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc., 1999.
Newell, Herbert Moses, Jr., and Jeanie Patterson Newell. History of Fayette County, Alabama. Fayette, Ala.: Newell Offset Printing, 1960.