Carbon Hill

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City of Carbon Hill
Carbon Hill seal.jpg
Incorporated 1891
Population 1,980
Mayor TBD
School district Walker County Schools

Carbon Hill City Council
Carbon Hill Fire Department
Carbon Hill Police Department

Web site
Carbon Hill locator map.png
Hill,+AL&z=12&t=m Locate with Google Maps

Carbon Hill is a city of 1,980 on 5.6 mi² in western Walker County, intersected by I-22, U.S. Highway 78 and Alabama State Highway 118.

The area was first settled in the early 1820s. The construction of the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad opened the area up for mining. A railroad station was established in 1886 by the Kansas City Coal and Coke Company. It was named for the fossil-bearing coal strata in the area.

Panorama of Carbon Hill in 1938 by WPA photographer William Pryor

The first Carbon Hill Post Office was established in 1887 with John T. Anderson as postmaster. Carbon HIll Methodist Church was founded in 1888. Robert Galloway purchased the settlement from the Kansas City Company in 1890 for $130,000 and his Galloway Coal Company began successful mining operations in the vicinity, encouraging other operators to begin working nearby seams. An 1891 strike against the Carbon HIll Coal and Coke Company descended into violence when striking white workers began driving away black families by force, afraid they would take their jobs.

Anderson was elected the first Mayor of Carbon Hill upon its incorporation on February 14, 1891. The founders considered renaming the city as "The Village of Love and Luck". The town's population exceeded 1,600 by the turn of the century.

Carbon HIll was damaged in a May 27, 1917 tornado which left 6 people dead and destroyed 200 homes. Other damaging tornadoes struck on November 17, 1957 and November 10, 2002. The latter storm destroyed Carbon Hill Elementary School.

The mining-based economy was hit hard by the Great Depression. Federal Relief programs allowed the community to construct a new Carbon Hill High School and a swimming pool and to improve sewers and streets. The town's successful utilization of Works Progress Administration programs made it a poster child for the New Deal. Carbon Hill's efforts were documented by William Pryor, chief of the photographic section of the WPA's information service division in 1938.


Carbon Hill has a mayor-council form of government with six city council members. The current council members include Chandler Gann, Brandon Tannehill, Suzanna Atkins, April Herron, Clarence Colbert and Jeffrey Burrough.

The city's last two mayors both resigned. James "PeeWee" Richardson resigned on October 24, 2014 as part of a plea deal following criminal charges of sexual abuse of city jail inmates which had been made public a year earlier. Mark Chambers resigned in June 2020 after making a post critical of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team's video message that, "All lives can't matter until Black lives matter."

Also, in 2011 former Carbon Hill city clerk Polly Haley was indicted for embezzlement from the city. The current city clerk is Nanette Brown.

The city operates its own Carbon Hill Police Department headed by Chief Eric House. In July 2010 then-Carbon Hill police chief Tom Sorrell was suspended from duty and later fired without cause.

The Carbon Hill Fire Department headed by Lawrence Smith Jr. The Carbon Hill Utility Board oversees municipal water and gas distribution and sewage treatment.

Carbon Hill Municipal Park features a football-themed expansion of its 1930s-era swimming pool with splash pads, sprays and other play features designed and installed by J. A. Dawson & Co. of Pelham.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,071 people residing in the city's 1,017 occupied housing units, for an average household of 2.85 persons. The population density was 274.3/mi², with housing units at an average density of 183.8/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 89.4% White, 8.74% Black and 1.0% Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000, there were 880 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 81.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,861, and the median income for a family was $25,556. Males had a median income of $23,241 versus $15,170 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,100. About 23.0% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.7% of those under the age of eighteen and 20.5% of those 65 or over.

Walker County seal.png Walker County

Communities | County Commission | Schools | Sheriff


Carbon Hill | Cordova | Curry | Dora | Eldridge | Jasper (seat) | Kansas | Nauvoo | Oakman | Parrish | Sipsey | Sumiton


  • Dombhart, John Martin (1937) History of Walker County: Its Towns and Its People. Thornton, Arkansas: Cayce Publishing Company
  • Foscue, Virginia O. (1989) Place Names in Alabama. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 081730410X
  • Walker County Heritage Book Committee (1999) The Heritage of Walker County, Alabama. Clanton: Heritage Publishing Consultants
  • "A New Deal for Carbon Hill, Alabama" (n.d.) New Deal Network - accessed September 21, 2013
  • Wilson, Claire M. (March 7, 2013) "Carbon Hill". Encyclopedia of Alabama - accessed September 21, 2013
  • "Carbon Hill, Alabama (September 20, 2013) Wikipedia - accessed September 21, 2013
  • Alabama League of Municipalities. "Municipal Directory" - accessed September 21, 2013
  • Robinson, Carol (September 20, 2013) "Carbon Hill mayor had forced sexual contact with city jail inmates, indictment says." The Birmingham News