|City of Leeds|
|School district||Leeds City Schools|
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Leeds (incorporated April 27, 1887) is a city of 11,940 located on 23.1 square miles in eastern Jefferson County. Parts of the city extend into Shelby County and St Clair County. Most of the city uses ZIP code 35094.
Former communities in the Leeds area included Cedar Grove and Oak Ridge. In 1881 the Georgia Pacific Railroad was constructed through the area and two of its engineers, Edward M. Tutwiler and James A. Montgomery founded the newer settlement, naming it for Yorkshire's iron center in England.
Leeds got its own post office in 1884 and became an incorporated city in April 1887. Amateur historian and folklorist John Garst has proposed that either the Coosa Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway near Leeds was the site of John Henry's legendary competition with a steam-powered hammer in September of that year. The legend has been incorporated into a display at the city's Bass House historical museum and the annual Leeds Downtown Folk Art Festival and John Henry Days event.
Leeds' success as a young city came about through three major factors: The incorporation of nearby Birmingham and the beginning of iron ore production there; the building of the Georgia Pacific Railroad from Birmingham to Atlanta; and the construction of a Standard Portland Cement manufacturing plant in 1906.
In recent years the city has benefitted from the development of the Barber Motorsports Park and the 3,100-acre Grand River mixed use development, including a retail center anchored by a Bass Pro Shop and including Buc-ee's.
As of the census of 2010, there were 11,773 people residing in the city's 5,221 housing units. The population density was 510.0/mi², with housing units at an average density of 226.2/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 79% White and 14% Black. 6.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In 2000, there were 4,301 households, of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,420, and the median income for a family was $46,127. Males had a median income of $32,090 versus $23,448 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,573. 13.2% of the population and 10.5% of families were below the poverty line. 22.6% of those under the age of 18 and 10.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The Jefferson County Board of Equalization evaluated 2,853 homes in Leeds and determined that their average market value for 2007 was $114,702, a 3.5% increase since 2006.
Leeds' Population, 1887-2010
year pop. %change 1887 | 225 | - | 1910 | 810 | +260% | 1920 | 1,160 | +43.2% | 1930 | 2,529 | +118% | 1940 | 2,910 | +15.1% | 1950 | 3,306 | +13.6% | 1960 | 6,162 | +86.4% | 1970 | 6,991 | +13.4% | 1980 | 8,638 | +23.6% | 1990 | 9,946 | +15.1% | 2000 | 10,455 | +5.12% | 2010 | 11,773 | +12.6% |
The current Mayor of Leeds is David Miller. The Leeds City Council consists of 5 councilors, elected by district, and meets at the council chambers at the Leeds Civic Center. Byron Jackson succeeded Ted Cook as chief of the Leeds Police Department in 2011. Chief Paul Irwin was sworn in on December 20, 2021.
- Charles Barkley, basketball player
- Kenneth Farmer, Jr, Deputy Surgeon General, U. S. Army
- Caitlín R. Kiernan, novelist
- Eddie Martin, baseball player and Leeds City Council member
- Mark Martin, cartoonist
- Leroy Miller, Jr, baseball player
- Bobby Thomason, football player
- Ewart "Dixie" Walker, baseball player
- Fred "Dixie" Walker, baseball player
- Harry "The Hat" Walker, baseball player and manager
- Leeds Bicentennial Commission History Committee (1979) Leeds: Her Story. Leeds: Leeds Bicentennial Commission/Higginbotham, Inc.
- Hagood, Thomas N. (1960) "Place Name Patterns in Jefferson County, Alabama." Master's thesis. Birmingham-Southern College - cited in Foscue, Virginia O. (1989) Place Names in Alabama. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 081730410X
- "Leeds, Alabama" (January 15, 2008) Wikipedia - accessed January 29, 2008
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