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Tuscumbia, Alabama

Tuscumbia, Alabama
Colbert County Courthouse in Tuscumbia
Colbert County Courthouse in Tuscumbia
Nickname(s): "Charm of the Shoals"
Location in Colbert County and the state of Alabama
Location in Colbert County and the state of Alabama
Country United States
State Alabama
County Colbert
Settled 1815
Incorporated (town) December 20, 1820[1]
Named for Chickasaw Indian chief [2]
 • Type Mayor/Council
 • Mayor Bill Shoemaker
 • Total 8.8 sq mi (22.8 km2)
 • Land 8.8 sq mi (22.7 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 466 ft (142 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,423
 • Density 963/sq mi (371.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 35674
Area code(s) 256, 938
FIPS code 01-77280
GNIS feature ID 0153743
Website .org.cityoftuscumbiawww

Tuscumbia is a city in and the county seat of Colbert County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,423.[3] The city is part of The Shoals metropolitan area.

Tuscumbia was the hometown of Helen Keller and is the location of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Education 4
  • Media 5
  • Notable people 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Tuscumbia had its beginnings when the Michael Dixon family arrived about 1816. They traded with Chief Tucumseh for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. The men of the community requested that the state legislature incorporate them as a city.[4] The town was incorporated in 1820 as Ococoposa[1] and is one of Alabama's oldest towns. In 1821, its name was changed to Big Spring[5] and on December 22, 1822, to Tuscumbia, after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaws.[4][6][7]

Although shoals on the nearby Tennessee River made the river nearly impassable, a federal highway completed in 1820 provided the area with good access to markets. Tuscumbia soon became the center for agriculture in northern Alabama.[7] A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832, and by 1850 Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South.[7]

Tuscumbia became the county seat for Colbert County in 1867.[2]

During the Civil War, the railroad hub made Tuscumbia a target of the Union Army, which destroyed the railroad shops and other parts of the town.

In April of 1894, three African-Americans suspected of planning arson were removed from the Tuscumbia jail by a mob of 200 men who hung them from the bridge over the Tennessee River.[8]


Tuscumbia is located northeast of the center of Colbert County at (34.730839, -87.702854).[9] It is bordered to the north by the city of Sheffield and to the northeast by the city of Muscle Shoals. The Tennessee River is 1 mile (1.6 km) to the northwest.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.8 square miles (22.8 km2), of which 8.8 square miles (22.7 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.50%, is water.[10]


As of the census[14] of 2010, there were 8,423 people, 3,704 households, and 2,279 families residing in the city.[3] The population density was 1,076.3 inhabitants per square mile (415.6/km2). There were 4,120 housing units at an average density of 520.7 per square mile (201.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.91% White, 21.16% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. 1.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[3]

There were 3,704 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.81.[3]

In the city the population was spread out with 21.64% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 30.15% from 25 to 44, 19.50% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.[3]

The median income for a household in the city was $28,793, and the median income for a family was $39,831. Males had a median income of $32,159 versus $18,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,302. About 11.1% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 19.92% of those age 65 or over.[3]


Tuscumbia City Schools and the Colbert County Board of Education provide public education for Tuscumbia. The following public schools are located in Tuscumbia:

  • Deshler Area Vocational Center (grades 9 through 12)
  • Deshler High School (grades 9 through 12)
  • Colbert Heights High School (grades 7 through 12)
  • Deshler Middle School (grades 6 through 8)
  • Colbert Heights Elementary School (grades K through 6)
  • New Bethel Elementary (grades K through 6)
  • R. E. Thompson Intermediate School (grades 3 through 5)
  • G. W. Trenholm Primary School (grades K through 2)

Private schools in Tuscumbia include Covenant Christian School (grades K through 12).


Radio stations:

Notable people


  1. ^ a b Acts Passed at the Second Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama. Ococoposa, Chickasaw which means dry watermelon Begun and held in the Town of Cahawba, on the first Monday in November, one thousand eight hundred and twenty (1820). Cahawba, Alabama: Printed by Allen & Brickell, State Printers in 1820. Page 94. "An Act to incorporate the town of Ococoposo in the County of Franklin...Approved, December 20, 1820."
  2. ^ a b "Our History". City of Tuscumbia Web site. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Fact Sheet- Tuscumbia city, Alabama". American Fast Facts. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Deshler High School Yearbook, Tiger's Roar 1996 Volume LXVI, 175 Years Ago by John McWilliams. pg. 51
  5. ^ Acts Passed at the Called Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama Begun and Held in the Town of Cahawba, on the First Monday in June, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty One (1821). Cahawba, Alabama: Printed by Allen & Brickell, State Printers. Reprint by Statute Law Book Co., Washington, D.C. Nov. 1913. Page 40. "To change the name of Ococoposa, and for other purposes...Approved, June 14, 1821"
  6. ^ Acts Passed at the Fourth Annual Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama, Begun an Held at the Town of Cahawba, On the third Monday of November, one thousand eight hundred and twenty two (1822). Cahawba, Alabama. Printed by William B. Allen and Co., Printers to the State. Jan. 1823. Page 131. "Act - Changing the name of Big-Spring in Franklin County...Approved, Dec. 31, 1822."
  7. ^ a b c Thornton, Linda (December 10, 2009). "Tuscumbia". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Triple Lynching at Tuscumbia". The Atlanta Constitution. 23 April 1894. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Tuscumbia city, Alabama". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  15. ^ Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing.  

External links

  • Official website
  • Virtual Tour of Tuscumbia
  • American Memory's Built in America Collection which has drawings, photographs, and descriptions of old homes and buildings in Tuscumbia
  • Tuscumbia City Schools

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