Fairfield

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City of Fairfield
Incorporated 1919
Population 11,117
Mayor Kenneth Coachman
School district Fairfield City Schools
Government

Fairfield City Council
Fairfield Fire Department
Fairfield Police Department

Web site fairfieldal.us
Locate with Google Maps

Fairfield, founded in 1910 and incorporated in 1919 is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama with a population of 11,117 on 3.47 square miles west of Birmingham. Originally named Corey, it was planned as a "model industrial city" by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TCI) to house workers in their Fairfield Works plant.

Contents

[edit] History

The Tennessee Company, active in the Birmingham District since 1886, was acquired by U. S. Steel in 1907. The new owners began planning additional investments in the area, and, after a meeting with W. P. G. Harding of the First National Bank of Birmingham, decided to lay out a new industrial city adjoining its proposed American Steel Wire Company plant in Possum Valley, outside the soon-to-be expanded Birmingham city limits.

The Jemison Company was selected to develop the 256.4 acres of former farm land, and formed the Corey Land Company as a separate division. Jemison hired Boston landscape designer George H. Miller to produce a master plan which included a commercial and civic center, parks, and residential streets, with all the necessary landscaping and utilities. According to Miller's plan, no home lot would be more than 2 minutes' walk from a park or parkway. Miller & Martin of Birmingham produced design studies and drawings for supervisor's houses and typical workers' bungalows. Construction began in March 1910 and was substantially completed, at a cost exceeding $1 million, by April 1911.

Delegates to the Alabama Pharmaceutical Association, meeting in Birmingham, inspect the First Bank of Corey and the Plaza Hotel, c. 1912 courtesy BPL Archives
Delegates to the Alabama Pharmaceutical Association, meeting in Birmingham, inspect the First Bank of Corey and the Plaza Hotel, c. 1912 courtesy BPL Archives

Originally named for William Ellis Corey, the second president of U. S. Steel, the city was renamed in 1913, two years after Corey's resignation in the wake of divorcing his estranged wife, Laura, in order to marry Broadway chorus girl Mabelle Gilman. The name "Fairfield" honors the Connecticut birthplace of Corey's successor, James Farrell.

In 1919 the City of Fairfield, with about 5,000 residents, was incorporated as a municipality with A. Clinton Decker as its first mayor. The corporate limits included nearby Miles College, which was granted land near the planned city by TCI in exchange for turning its former Booker City campus over to the company to develop the Docena coal mine. Later that year the TCI Employees Hospital opened, headed by Lloyd Noland. The first Fairfield City Hall was an office in the Carmichael Building at 4604½ Gary Avenue. Fairfield Industrial High School opened in 1924 and Fairfield High School for white students followed in 1928.

U. S. Steel's Fairfield Works grew rapidly as its primary steel manufacturing facility in the district, and accounted for as many as 45,000 jobs at its peak during World War II. A new Fairfield City Hall was completed, with assistance from the Works Progress Administration, in 1945.

Commercial development followed, peaking with the dedication of Western Hills Mall in 1970, followed by Belleview Plaza in 1972. The Flintridge Shopping Center opened in 1991 with a Home Depot. A Wal-Mart Supercenter opened on the former Western Hills Mall site in 2006.

The Flintridge Building
The Flintridge Building

As the fortunes of the steel plant waned, the city declined with it. Currently Fairfield Works employes less than 2,000 people. Lloyd Noland Hospital closed in 2004 and was subsequently purchased by Miles College for a campus expansion. Licensed electronic bingo parlors filled numerous vacancies and provided revenue to the city in 2009, but were shut down in 2010 for not complying with state law.

[edit] Government

The Mayor of Fairfield is Kenneth Coachman. The Fairfield City Council consists of Ves Marable, William Murray, Frederick Scott, Primus Mack, Ronald Struthers, Eldridge Turner, and Jerry Yarbrough.

The city operates the Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield Fire Department. The city also operates an independent Fairfield City Schools system with three elementary schools, Forest Hills Middle School, Fairfield High Preperatory School, and an alternative all-grades school.

The city also owns the Walter J. Hanna Public Library.

[edit] Demographics

As of the Census of 2010, there were 11,117 people residing in the city's 4,935 housing units, for an average household size of 2.25 persons. The population density was 3,202.6/mi², with housing units at an average density of 1,421.7/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 94.6% African American and 4.2% White. 1.14% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000, there were 4,600 households, of which 34% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36% were married couples living together, 28% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32% were non-families. 29% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the population was spread out with 27% under the age of 18, 12% from 18 to 24, 25% from 25 to 44, 22% from 45 to 64, and 14% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 79.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,845, and the median income for a family was $38,552. Males had a median income of $30,833 versus $25,143 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,607. About 16.5% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.7% of those under age 18 and 25.3% of those age 65 or over.

The Jefferson County Board of Equalization evaluated 3,643 homes in Fairfield and determined that the average market value for 2007 was $87,191, a 7.4% increase since 2006.

[edit] Fairfield population 1920-2000

year     pop.     %change

1920 |  5,003 |   - 
1930 | 11,059 |  +121% 
1940 | 11,703 |  +5.8% 
1950 | 13,177 |  +12.6% 
1960 | 15,816 |  +20.0% 
1970 | 14,369 |  -9.1% 
1980 | 13,242 |  -7.8% 
1990 | 12,200 |  -7.9% 
2000 | 12,381 |  -1.5% 

[edit] Transportation

Fairfield is traversed by I-20/I-59. Three railroads serve the area: CSX Transportation (former Louisville and Nashville Railroad), Norfolk Southern Railway (former Southern Railway), and short-line Birmingham Southern Railroad, which is headquartered in Fairfield.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Jefferson County
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Adamsville | Bessemer (seat) | Birmingham (seat) | Brighton | Brookside | Cardiff | Center Point | Clay | County Line | Fairfield | Fultondale | Gardendale | Graysville | Homewood | Hoover | Hueytown | Irondale | Kimberly | Leeds | Lipscomb | Maytown | Midfield | Morris | Mountain Brook | Mulga | North Johns | Pinson | Pleasant Grove | Sylvan Springs | Tarrant | Trafford | Trussville | Vestavia Hills | Warrior | West Jefferson

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