Nauvoo is located primarily in northwest Walker County with a small edge of the town in southwest Winston County, in the central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Actor Pat Buttram was raised in Nauvoo.
Harbin Hotel The town of Nauvoo began as a small agricultural community known as Blackwell’s Crossing. The construction of the Northern Alabama Railway through the area in 1888 led to increased exploitation of the area’s abundant coal and timber resources. Coal mining, in particular, became the driving economic force behind the town’s growth. Though the area had been known unofficially as Blackwell’s Crossing for a number of years, local citizen Joshua Blackwell declined to have the town officially named after himself. Resident Tom Carroll reportedly suggested the name Nauvoo because he had admired the town of Nauvoo, Illinois, in his earlier travels through that state.
By 1891, Nauvoo boasted three stores and one steam cotton gin, and coal and timber were shipped from the nearby depot. The Harbin Hotel was constructed in 1923 and primarily served business travelers using the railroad. The area’s economic dependence upon coal mining, however, meant that the ever-shrinking market for coal over the rest of the twentieth century led to an exodus of citizens from the town who sought more stable employment elsewhere. Nauvoo’s historical museum opened in 1997; it is adorned with a mural that constitutes a walk through the town’s history.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Nauvoo recorded a population of 129. Of that number, 97.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 4.7 percent as Hispanic, and 2.3 percent as two or more races. The town’s median household income was $34,286, and the per capita income was $20,282.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Nauvoo was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (35.0 percent)
- Manufacturing (20.0 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (17.5 percent)
- Retail trade (12.5 percent)
- Public administration (7.5 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (5.0 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (2.5 percent)
Lupton Jr. High School, a K-8th grade institution, is part of the Walker County school system.
County Highway 11 begins in Nauvoo running north-south to Carbon Hill, and State Highway 5 runs north-south through the northeastern corner of the town. The Norfolk Southern Corporation operates a rail line through Nauvoo.
Events and Places of Interest
Nauvoo Depot Bankhead National Forest is located about three miles northeast of town. The Harbin Hotel (ca. 1923) in Nauvoo is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Nauvoo has held an annual antique car show the third Saturday in June since 1995. The Nauvoo Depot Museum is a replica of the original structure and is located at the site of the first depot. The Episcopal Church in Alabama maintains a facility in Nauvoo that includes a conference center, camping facilities, educational programming, and the Alabama Folk School, a series of workshops in traditional music, crafts, cooking, storytelling, and other skills.
Lee, Margaret Earley. Memories of Nauvoo. Marietta, Ga.: Treasured Moments, Inc., 1991.
Walker County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Walker County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1999.