North Johns was founded as a coal mining settlement, as were many small towns in Jefferson County. The first post office in the area opened in 1889 but later closed. The town incorporated in July 1912 and was named after mining engineer Llewellyn W. Johns, who was instrumental in opening and developing many of the mines in the Birmingham District. Johns had organized the Pratt Coal and Coke Company in 1879. During this period, the heart of the town was the Black Diamond Commissary, the company store, where miners bought most of their work clothing, mining equipment, and food. The local mine closed in the early 1940s, reopened briefly in the late 1940s, and closed permanently in the 1950s, leading to a steep decline in the town’s economy and population.
According to 2020 Census estimates, North Johns recorded a population of 152. Of that number, 71.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white and 28.3 percent as African American. The town’s median household income was $38,370, and the per capita income was $19,823.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in North Johns was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (52.3 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (15.9 percent)
- Construction (6.8 percent)
- Manufacturing (6.8 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.8 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (4.5 percent)
- Wholesale trade (4.5 percent)
- Retail trade (2.3 percent)
Students in North Johns attend Jefferson County schools; the town has no public schools located within its town limits.
County Road 36 runs northeast-southwest through North Johns.
Jefferson County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Jefferson County. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
White, Marjorie Longenecker. The Birmingham District: An Industrial History and Guide. Birmingham, Ala.: Birmingham Publishing Company, 1981.