T. T. Thorson Home Thorsby was founded by three Swedish men who had immigrated first to the northern United States but around 1895 sought a more hospitable climate in the South. The group included Theodore T. Thorson, for whom the town is named. The men formed a land company and advertised in northern newspapers for people to settle the area, attracting more Swedish immigrants as well as others from Norway and Denmark.
The town was incorporated in 1901, and the first high school in the county, Thorsby Institute, was built in 1906. The school later became a public school and today exists as Thorsby High School. Much of the town was damaged in a fire in 1914, but the citizens quickly rebuilt.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Thorsby recorded a population of 2,122. Of that number, 91.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 4.9 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 3.7 percent as African American, 0.6 percent as two or more races, and 0.1 percent as Asian. The town’s median household income was $55,978, and the per capita income was $24,066.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Thorsby was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (21.9 percent)
- Manufacturing (12.9 percent)
- Construction (12.3 percent)
- Retail trade (9.6 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.6 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (6.0 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (5.4 percent)
- Public administration (5.4 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (4.5 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (4.5 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (2.4 percent)
- Wholesale trade (2.4 percent)
- Information (0.3 percent)
Schools in Thorsby are part of the Chilton County school system; the town has one high school.
Events and Places of Interest
Downtown Thorsby Although the Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish families in the area are largely now gone, Thorsby celebrates its heritage by holding a Swedish Fest each Autumn. It features a pageant, craft vendors, a car show, and food and live music.
Thorsby Public School is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Several houses in town were built by the original settlers, including the T. T. Thorson home.
Chilton County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Chilton County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.
Wyatt, T. E. Chilton County and Her People. Montevallo, Ala.: Times Printing Company, 1976.