Hamilton is the county seat of Marion County. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
Jerry Brown Located near the Mississippi border, the area now encompassing Hamilton was Chickasaw territory before white settlers entered the region. Hamilton was initially known as Toll Gate because it was the site of Alabama’s first toll collection gate. The toll gate was established by the Alabama Legislature in 1821 to help maintain the Andrew Jackson’s Military Road , built between 1816 to 1820 to connect Nashville and New Orleans. The toll house at the location served as a rest station for stagecoaches traveling the route. In 1880, Toll Gate was selected the new county seat. Captain A. J. Hamilton donated 40 acres of land to establish and develop the town, and the town was renamed in his honor in 1882 when the county seat was relocated from Pikeville.
The first county courthouse was a wood structure built in 1882, and it burned in April 1887. The courthouse that replaced it, also a wood structure, was in turn replaced in 1902 by the structure that is still in use today; the original building, however, has undergone considerable renovation and expansion. The second courthouse was moved across the street from the current building and became a hotel; it was destroyed by fire in 1912.
On April 27, 2011, a massive storm, causing numerous powerful tornadoes, struck the southeastern United States. More than 250 people were killed in Alabama, including five people in Hamilton.
Natural Stone Bridge near Hamilton According to 2020 Census estimates, Hamilton recorded a population of 6,662. Of that number, 88.2 percent identified themselves as white, 8.3 percent as African American, 2.6 percent as two or more races, 0.8 percent as Hispanic, 0.2 percent as American Indian, and 0.1 percent as Asian. The city’s median household income was $ 38,613, and per capita income was $ 19,576.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Hamilton was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (20.0 percent)
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (18.7 percent)
- Retail trade (12.7 percent)
- Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (11.0 percent)
- Construction (9.0 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (7.1 percent)
- Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.9 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.8 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (5.3 percent)
- Public administration (3.1 percent)
- Wholesale trade (1.2 percent)
Schools in Hamilton are part of the Marion County School District; the city has four public schools: an elementary, middle, and high school and an alternative school.
Hamilton is intersected by U.S. Highways 78 (roughly east-west) and 43 (north-south). It also is served by the Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport.
Events and Places of Interest
Hamilton-Sullins House A number of Indian burial mounds are located on the Buttahatchee River just south of Hamilton; they are accessible by a walking trail. Each October, the town celebrates the Buttahatchee River Fall Fest, with living-history events being held at the historic Hamilton-Sullins House (ca. 1880s). The Jerry Brown Arts Festival, named for renowned folk potter Jerry Brown, is held annually in March. The festival includes a juried exhibition sponsored by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council. Hamilton also holds an annual Christmas Parade.
Marion County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.