Centre, located in the northeast corner of the state, is the seat of Cherokee County. It has a mayor-council form of government.
Cherokee County Courthouse Cherokee was one of three counties formed after the Cherokees ceded most of their territory in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. The original county seat was located in 1836 at town called Jefferson (changed to Cedar Bluff in 1842 to avoid duplicating the name of another Alabama town) on the north shore of the Coosa River. A small log building was constructed there for a courthouse. Originally the location of a Cherokee settlement known as Turkey Town or Turkeytown, Centre became the county seat in 1844 when county residents voted to move the seat to a more central location. Several sources cite 1884 as the year when Centre became the county seat, but the most detailed sources available state that it occurred in 1844. A brick courthouse was constructed in 1849.
Centre also won another election for county seat in an 1850 vote and withstood still another effort to return the seat to Cedar Bluff. The 1849 courthouse, in a dilapidated condition, burned in 1882, and a new courthouse was constructed. It too burned in 1895 and was rebuilt. A new courthouse replaced this structure in 1935. Until 1939, the United States Postal Service listed the city as Center but acceded to residents’ wishes and changed its spelling to Centre.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Centre recorded a population of 3,581. Of that number, 83.0 percent identified themselves as white, 12,9 as African American, 2.4 percent as American Indian, 1.7 percent as two or more races, and 0.6 percent as Hispanic. The city’s median household income was $36,887, and per capita income was $27,362.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Centre was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (21.6 percent)
- Public administration (17.5 percent)
- Manufacturing (16.7 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (14.6 percent)
- Retail trade (11.2 percent)
- Construction (5.4 percent)
- Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.5 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.1 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (3.0 percent)
- Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (2.3 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.0 percent)
Centre is served by the Cherokee County School District, which operates four schools in the city: one elementary, one middle, and one high school. In addition, students from 7th through 12th grades may enroll in a career and technical center. Gadsden State Community College operates the Gadsden State Cherokee campus in Centre.
The town is accessed by State Road 9 and U.S. Route 411, which connects Centre with Gadsden in Etowah County to the west and Rome, Georgia, to the east. Centre Municipal Airport is located approximately three miles east of the town and the Centre-Piedmont-Cherokee County Regional Airport is five miles south of Centre.
Events and Places of Interest
Cherokee County Historical Museum Centre has several buildings on the Alabama Register of Historic Places, including the Bradford-West House, Jordans Old Place, Pratt Park, and the Savage-Campbell House. The Cherokee County Historical Museum displays Native American artifacts, miltary memorabilia from the Civil War to the present, and farming implements, and has an art collection. Ethel Morrison Memorial Park provides outdoor space. Centre’s proximity to Weiss Lake on the Coosa River, approximately five miles north, provides numerous outdoor activities. The lake is known for its crappie fishing, but it also supports numerous species of bass, catfish, sunfish, bluegill, and drum.
Heritage of Cherokee County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.
History and Heritage: Articles on Cherokee Co., Alabama. Centre, Ala.: Cherokee County Historical Museum, 1979.
Stewart, Mrs. Frank Ross. Cherokee County History: 1836-1956. Birmingham, Ala: Birmingham Printing Company, 1958.