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City of Pelham
Seal of Pelham.jpg
Incorporated 1964
Population 23,744
Mayor Gary Waters
School district Shelby County Schools

Pelham City Council
Pelham Fire Department
Pelham Police Department

Web site
Locate with Google Maps

Pelham, incorporated on July 10, 1964, is a city of about 23,050 in northern Shelby County. Like the city of the same name in Georgia, it was named for Calhoun County native and Confederate Cavalry officer John Pelham, who was killed at the Battle of Kelly's Ford.

Pelham operates its own police department and fire department. Pelham's schools are part of the Shelby County Schools system. Within Pelham are Valley Elementary School, Valley Intermediate School, Riverchase Middle School, and Pelham High School.

The city operates the Pelham Public Library, Pelham Civic Complex and the Pelham Racquet Club. Pelham's park system includes Pelham City Park, Fun-Go-Holler Park, and four neighborhood parks. The city also maintains the historic Pelham City Cemetery on Shelby County Highway 105.

The current Mayor of Pelham is Gary Waters. The city council is composed of Rick Hayes, Ron Scott, Beth McMillan, Maurice Mercer, and Karyl Rice.

Pelham is also home to the Oak Mountain Amphitheater, which is the largest outdoor music venue in Alabama.


The site of Shelby Courthouse, later "Shelbyville" was within the present city limits of Pelham. It was there that Shelby County's first courthouse operated from the establishment of the county in 1818 until a new courthouse was completed in Columbiana in 1826. The Shelbyville courthouse, which served from 1820 to 1826, was built by Thomas A. Rogers.

A later community in the same area took the name of Confederate Cavalry hero John Pelham, perhaps as early as 1867. The Pelham Post Office was established in 1873. Rutherford High School was established in the same decade. The town, with about 250 residents, appears on Joseph Squire's 1885 "Map of Helena and Environs". The oldest surviving structure is believed to be the c.1900 Pelham Railroad Depot which was relocated to Pelham City Park and restored in 1988.

By 1964, an annexation attempt by neighboring Alabaster prompted Pelham's 654 residents to seek incorporation of their own. The July 7 vote attracted over 90% of the eligible voters in Pelham and the neighborhing communities of Keystone, Fungo Hollow, and part of the Helena rural route. The result was 121 for and 20 against.

The first Mayor of Pelham was Paul Yeager Sr. The present City Hall was built in 1975 on the site of the WPA-built Pelham School, which had served as the first city hall. The school was relocated to the new Valley Elementary School in 1964, making the building available for city offices.


Pelham is located in northern Shelby County just south of Hoover, east of Helena, north of Alabaster and adjacent to Oak Mountain State Park. I-65 runs through Pelham from north to south. U.S. Highway 31 parallels the interstate, and is known as "Pelham Parkway" through the municipality.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.3 mi² of which 0.3 mi² (0.89%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 14,369 people, 5,637 households, and 4,002 families residing in the city. The population density was 378.2/mi². There were 5,894 housing units at an average density of 155.1/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 90.02% White, 3.97% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 2.82% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. 6.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,637 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 35.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $54,808, and the median income for a family was $63,994. Males had a median income of $42,659 versus $32,382 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,611. About 3.4% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 2.4% of those age 65 or over.

The Census' July 2003 population estimate for Pelham was 17,396, ranking it then as Alabama's fastest-growing city with over 10,000 new residents since the 2000 census. It has since grown to more than 23,000 residents, making it the fifth-largest municipality in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area. The 2018 census estimate for Pelham's population was 23,744.


  • "Pelham, Alabama" (November 1, 2006) Wikipedia - accessed November 21, 2006
  • Tamarin, Patricia A. (1989) "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
  • Wright, A. J. (June 4, 2004) "Pelham -- More History than you Think!" Pelham City News. Vol. 10, No. 5
  • Roberts, Barbara (n. d.) "History of Pelham." unpublished manuscript, available at the Pelham Public Library.
  • Schatz, Clark T. (n. d.) "The Birth and Growth of a Town." unpublished manuscript covering 1964-1979, available at the Pelham Public Library.

External links

Shelby County seal.jpg Shelby County

Communities | County Commission | Schools | Sheriff


Alabaster | Calera | Chelsea | Columbiana (seat) | Harpersville | Helena | Indian Springs Village | Montevallo | Pelham | Vincent | Westover | Wilsonville | Wilton