Red Hills Salamander McKenzie straddles the border in south-central Butler and northeast Conecuh County in the south-central part of the state; most of the town is in Butler County. It has a mayor/city council form of government. The very first specimen of the endangered Red Hills salamander was discovered near McKenzie.
The town of McKenzie sprang up around a branch line of the Alabama and Florida Railroad to Andalusia, Covington County, around 1899. Originally called Persimmon Creek, in 1900 the town was named after Bethune Beaton McKenzie, a Civil War veteran, a civil engineer responsible for building a number of railroad lines in Alabama, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1901.
By 1905 the town had a sawmill, a cotton gin, several general stores, and a drugstore. The town incorporated in 1913.
According to 2020 Census estimates, McKenzie recorded a population of 790. Of that number, 64.6 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 34.3 percent as African American, 0.8 percent as two or more races, and 0.4 percent as American Indian. The town’s median household income was $30,000, and the per capita income was $16,603.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in McKenzie was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (34.7 percent)
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (27.5 percent)
- Construction (11.4 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (8.1 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (7.2 percent)
- Information (4.2 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (4.0 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (2.1 percent)
- Public administration (1.3 percent)
- Retail trade (1.3 percent)
- Wholesale trade (1.3 percent)
Schools in McKenzie are part of the Butler County school system; the town has one high school.
U.S. Highway 31 runs north-southwest through the eastern half of McKenzie; State Highway 55 runs from the southeast to the center of town and then merges with U.S. Highway 31 north.
Events and Places of Interest
McKenzie High School is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Festival Park is located in the east-central part of town.
Butler County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Butler County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2003.