Helena is a city in Jefferson and Shelby counties. Helena is considered a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,793. Helena is a mid-sized city – North-central Alabama, about 300 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.
Source: Wikipedia contributors, “Helena, Alabama,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Helena is highly regarded as a place to live and raise children; Business Week ranked the city as the 13th “Best Place to Raise Your Kids” in 2007. It has the eighth-lowest crime rate per population in the U.S., and the city was ranked in Money magazine’s 2007 list of “Best Places to Live: Top 100” in the U.S., placing at number 91. The Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Award (population 10,001 to 20,000).
Top Attractions in Helena Alabama
The amphitheater is the center of most of the downtown activities: festivals, movies in the park, farmers market.
Typical small town park. Baseball fields.
Paved trail on old train bed!
Civil War in Helena Alabama
The onset of the Civil War brought the need for the South to increase its manufacturing production and develop new industries. Coal and iron ore mines were dug throughout this area and the construction of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad provided new transportation connections. Helena became an important industrial center for the wartime efforts. Around 1864 a rolling mill was built on Buck Creek, near the rail lines to process the iron from Selma.
Peter Boyle, an engineer for the railroad working on a new line, met and courted Helen Lee. He would name the rail station that supported the rolling mill after her. Eventually the town was named Helena after the train station.
Wilson’s Raid in Helena Alabama
As the final battles of the Civil War were being fought, Union forces amassed a force for a cavalry raid to attack the South’s war fighting capability, as Sherman’s march had done the previous year. Led by James Harrison Wilson, this force passed through the town of Helena on March 30, 1865, where they destroyed much of the newly developed industry and residential buildings.