|City of Helena|
|School district||Shelby County Schools|
|Locate with Google Maps|
Helena (incorporated in 1877) is a city of 18,673 on 17.1 square miles in northern Shelby County. City Hall is located at 816 Shelby County Road 52. The mayor is Mark Hall, who defeated 11-term incumbent Sonny Penhale in 2012. Two Shelby County schools, Helena Elementary School and Helena Intermediate School are located in the city, feeding into Riverchase Middle School and Pelham High School. The Jane Boyd Holmes Public Library at 230 Tucker Road is owned by the city.
More recently, Helena has gained notice as the home town of "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice.
The community now known as Helena was first recorded as a stagecoach stop at the crossing of two roads known as Cove when its post office was established in 1849. The community took on the name Hillsboro by 1856, said to have been named after a local family.
After the war, Louisville and Nashville Railroad engineer Bartholomew Boyle established the Helena Station in the vicinity of Hillsboro. He named it for Helen Lee, the daughter of a local judge whom he later married. Development around the railroad station soon absorbed the village of Hillsboro. The Helena Post Office was established as such in 1872 and the town was incorporated in 1877.
Meanwhile the rolling mill was reconstructed by a group of investors that included Burwell Lewis, Rufus Cobb and others. The town's industry was supplemented by coal from the Cahaba coal fields, a cotton gin near the train station, and a water-powered grist mill on Buck Creek.
In 1917 a clerical error was discovered, threatening the town's incorporation. New papers were drawn up and the City of Helena was "reincorporated" that same year. In the 1920s Helena was nearly depleted by the depression. The steel mill, known then as Conners Steel, moved to Birmingham and the mines and other industries shut down. Adding insult to injury, a tornado struck the town in 1933 took the lives of 13 residents and destroyed 110 houses.
As suburban development south of Birmingham gradually penetrated Shelby County, Helena's small town charm has led to development of "Old Town Helena" along Helena Road in the center of town. Numerous small shops and service businesses operate from railroad-era buildings near the original station.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,296 people, 3,828 households, and 3,043 families residing in the city. The population density was 603.0/mi². There were 3,983 housing units at an average density of 233.3/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 93.25% White, 5.00% Black, 0.20% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. 1.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,828 households out of which 43.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.2% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.5% were non-families. 17.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.7% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 42.7% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 5.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $62,908, and the median income for a family was $66,250. Males had a median income of $45,291 versus $32,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,323. About 1.4% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
| Shelby County|
- "Helena, Alabama" (May 31, 2006) Wikipedia - accessed November 20, 2006
- Tamarin, Patricia A. (1983) "Some Place-names of Shelby County, Alabama." University of Alabama - cited in Foscue, Virginia O. (1989) Place Names in Alabama. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 081730410X