Best Small Towns in Alabama Index
You’ve seen these lists before:
Best places to live in Alabama, Alabama’s Most Beautiful Downtowns, Most Historic Places in Alabama, etc., etc. But most of these lists have some type of agenda. A lot of them focus on major cities and towns in the Heart of Dixie and no one pays attention to the little guy.
Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Alabama based on … well, lots and lots of research. The down in the dirt, nitty-gritty of small town Alabama our staff is known for. And, as an added bonus, we often visit small towns to absorb the vibes of the place. There’s nothing like old-fashioned, boots-on-the-ground journalism.
How about some definitions to get us started?
Boots-on-the-Ground: More and more, the phrase boots on the ground is coming to mean a group of people who are doing the mundane but necessary work in a situation.
Nitty-gritty: The most important aspects or practical details of a subject or situation.
Down in the Dirt: This phrase is used to describe that a person is not so high and mighty that they are not afraid to do the dirty work. It might refer to say a boss who works alongside his laborers.
We begin with a list of very small towns in Alabama that we hope to visit. They’re not all on our best towns list yet, just small – really small.
Addison is a town in Winston County. It incorporated in December 1949. At the 2010 U.S. Census, it had a population of 758, up from 723 in 2000.
As of the 2010 Census Addison had a population of 757. The population was 99.1% white, 0.1% black or African American, 0.1% Asian, 0.7% from two or more races and 0.4% Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Haleburg is a town in Henry County. Established in 1885 as “Halesburgh”, the town was incorporated in September, 1911, as “Halesburg”. Since then, for reasons unknown, it has become known as the current “Haleburg”.
At the 2010 census the population was 103 and the racial makeup of the town was 77.78% White, 18.52% Black or African American, and 3.70% from two or more races. 0.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Alabama State Route 95 passes through the town, leading north 14 miles to Abbeville and south 8 miles to Columbia. Haleburg is 4 miles west of the Chattahoochee River, which forms the Alabama–Georgia border.
Blue Springs Alabama (Barbour County) – Population 91
Blue Springs is a town in Barbour County. At the 2010 census the population was 96. The racial makeup of the town was 99.17% white and 0.83% black or African American.
The town is the home of Blue Springs State Park.
Grant is a town in Marshall County. As of the 2010 census, the population of Grant was 896.
Grant is located on the plateau of Gunters Mountain. A historical cave, Cathedral Caverns, lies just north of Grant near Kennamer Cove. The town is concentrated along County Road 5 (Cathedral Caverns Highway, signed as Main Street in Grant) near the northern edge of Gunters Mountain, though the town includes corridors along CR 5 southward across the mountain to the shore of Guntersville Lake, and eastward along Baker Mountain Road to the edge of the mountain. The racial makeup of the town is roughly 96.54% White, 0.60% Black or African American, 1.05% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 1.50% from two or more races. 0.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Places of Interest
Digital Alabama identifies Grant as one of the Best Small Towns in Alabama.
Hamilton is a city in Marion County. It incorporated in 1896.
At the 2010 census the population was 6,885. The city is the county seat of Marion County and since 1980 has been its largest city, surpassing Winfield. It had previously been the largest town in 1910.
Mount Olive, also spelled Mt. Olive is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) in Jefferson County, Alabama. Its location is in the suburbs of Birmingham.
Nestled in northeast Jefferson County, Trussville is one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Alabama, having grown to a population of close to 25,000. Trussville affords her residents a small town hospitality along with the large city conveniences.
Needham Alabama (Choctaw County)- Population 89
Needham is a town in central Choctaw County in the southwestern part of the state near the Alabama and Mississippi border. The railroad and depot in the area now known as Needham was originally called Bogueloosa, like the creek that runs through the town.
Needham sponsors a Fall Festival the third weekend in November at Broadhead Memorial Park on County Highway 18. The park features a one-mile walk on Bogueloosa Creek, a dog-trot cabin, the Wilson grist mill, and other exhibits. The festival has basket weaving demonstrations, a tour of the cabin, food and craft vendors, local singers, and a demonstration of cane-syrup making.
The earliest representation of the town on a map is from La Tourette’s 1844 map of Alabama. It is unknown exactly when the town was founded. It incorporated in 1981. At the 2010 census, the population was 94 and the racial makeup of the town was 100.00% White.
Union Grove Alabama (Marshall County)- Population 79
Union Grove is a town in Marshall County. Union Grove is located approximately 3 miles from Guntersville Lake and 6 miles from Arab. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 77 and the racial makeup of the town was 97.87% White, 1.06% Native American and 1.06% Asian.
In the Civil War the Union troops camped there for some time after passing through Parches Cove. It became known thereafter as Union Grove.
Ethelsville Alabama (Pickens County) – Population 81
Ethelsville is a town in Pickens County. It was incorporated in 1952.
As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 81, unchanged from 2000. 74.1% were White and 25.9% were African American.
The town was named after Ethel Hancock, a one time resident of the community.
Petrey Alabama (Crenshaw County) – Population 58
Cardiff Alabama (Jefferson County)- Population 54
Cardiff is a town in Jefferson County located at on Five Mile Creek, a tributary of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River west of Gardendale. At the 2010 census the population was 55, placing it as the least populated incorporated area in Jefferson County. The racial makeup of the town was 93.90% White and 6.10% Black or African American.
Coal mining was the historical basis of the economy. The town, for years the smallest incorporated town in the State of Alabama, declined along with the decline of underground coal mining and the rise of strip mining.
The town is now but a dent in the land scarce of life with a scant 20–30 people, and, covered with kudzu, Cardiff is becoming a ghost town.
Goldville Alabama (Tallapoosa County) – Population 53
Emelle Alabama (Sumter County) – Population 50
Dayton Alabama (Marengo County) – Population 49
Benton Alabama (Lowndes County)- Population 46
Natural Bridge Alabama (Winston County)- Population 36
Memphis Alabama (Pickens County) – Population 28
Oak Hill Alabama (Wilcox County)- Population 25
McMullen Alabama (Pickens County) – Population 9
Haleburg Alabama (Henry County) – Population 119
Highland Lake Alabama (Blount County) – Population 412