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Anniston, Alabama
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The Model City
Location in Alabama
Coordinates: 33°39′46″N 85°49′35″W / 33.66278°N 85.82639°W / 33.66278; -85.82639
Country United States
State Alabama
County Calhoun
Settled April 1872
Incorporated 3 July 1883
 - Mayor Gene Robinson
 - City 45 sq mi (116.5 km2)
 - Land 45.4 sq mi (117.7 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 719 ft (219 m)
Population (2007)[1][2]
 - City 23,689
 Density 534.4/sq mi (203.8/km2)
 Metro 112,240
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36201-36207
Area code(s) 256
FIPS code 01-01852
GNIS feature ID 0159066

Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 24,276.[3] According to the 2005 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 23,741.[1] The city is the county seat of Calhoun County and one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Named the The Model City by Atlanta newspaperman Henry W. Grady for its careful planning in the late 1800s, the city is situated on the slope of Blue Mountain.



Though the surrounding area was settled long before, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston weren't exploited until the civil war. During that time, the Confederate States of America established and operated an iron furnace near present day downtown Anniston, until the furnace was destroyed by Union troops in 1865. Later, clay pipe for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Clay pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.

In 1865, at the end of the Civil War, Union Troops near the furnace wrongfully hanged one of the few residents. Charley Lloyd, a farmer working the land in what is now Anniston west of Noble Street, was executed by Union General John Croxton for allegedly shooting a Union cavalryman. In fact, the Union trooper had been killed by a Confederate soldier who was fighting the continuing destruction of local facilities. Croxton's only evidence against Lloyd was that the shooting took place near Lloyd's farm.[4]

In 1872,the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, as well as started a planned community named Woodstock but later remaned "Anniston"for Annie Scott Tyler, wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.[5]

This panoramic map with marked points of interest illustrates a bird's-eye view of Anniston, Alabama in 1888, sixteen years after the area was first settled in April 1872. The 1880 census showed an Anniston population of 942 and, by 1890, the population was 9,998.

Though the roots of the town's economy were in Iron, steel and clay pipe, planners touted it as a health resort, and several hotels began operating. Schools appeared. The Noble Institute, a school for girls,[6] established in 1886, and the Alabama Presbyterian College for Men founded in 1905. Planning and easy access to rail transportation helped make Anniston the fifth largest city in the state from 1890's to 1950's.

In 1917, the United States Army established a training camp at Fort McClellan during the start of World War I. On the other side of town, the Anniston Army Depot opened during World War II as a major storage and maintenance site, a role it continues to serve as incineration progresses. Most of the old site of Fort McClellan was incorporated into Anniston in the late 1990s. The Army closed the fort in 1999, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure round of 1995.

Anniston was the center of national controversy in 1961 when a mob bombed a bus filled with civilian Freedom Riders during the American civil rights movement. The Freedom Riders were riding an integrated bus to protest Alabama's Jim Crow segregation laws that denied African Americans their civil rights. One of the buses was fire-bombed outside of Anniston on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14, 1961. As the bus burned, the mob held the doors shut, intent on burning the riders to death. An exploding fuel tank caused the mob to retreat, allowing the riders to escape the bus. The Riders were viciously beaten as they tried to flee the burning bus; warning shots fired into the air by highway patrolmen prevented the riders from being lynched on the spot.[7] The site is home to a marker along Alabama Highway 202 W about five miles west of downtown.[8]

In repsonse to the violence, the city formed a bi-racial Human Relations Council (HRC) including prominent white business and religious leaders, but when they attempted to integrate the "whites-only" public library on Sunday afternoon, September 15, 1963 (the same day as the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham), further violence ensued and two black ministers, N.Q. Reynolds and Bob McClain, were severely beaten by a mob. HRC chairman, white Presbyterian minister Rev. Phil Noble, worked with an elder of his church, Miller Sproull, who was an Anniston City Commissioner, to avoid KKK mob domination of the city. In a telephone conference with President John F. Kennedy, the President informed the HRC that after the Birmingham church bombing he had stationed Federal Troops at Ft. McClellan on the edge of Anniston. On September 16, 1963, with city police present, Noble and Sproull escorted Black ministers into the library.[citation needed]

In February 1964, Anniston Hardware, owned by the Sproull family, was bombed, presumably in retaliation for Commissioner Sproull's integration efforts. On the night July 15, 1965 a white racist rally was held in Anniston, after which Willie Brewster, a black foundry worker, was shot and killed while driving home from work. A $20,000 reward was raised by Anniston civic leaders, and resulted in the apprehension, trial and conviction of the accused killer, Damon Strange. Strange was convicted by an all-white Calhoun County jury to the surprise of many people, including civil rights leaders who had planned to protest an acquittal.[citation needed] This was the first conviction of a white person for killing a black person in civil rights era Alabama.[citation needed]

1888 drawing and positioning of the Noble Institute for Girls in Anniston.


At the southernmost length of the Blue Ridge, part of the Appalachian Mountains, Anniston's environment is home to diverse species of birds, reptiles and mammals. Part of the former Fort McClellan is now operating as Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge to protect endangered Southern Longleaf Pine species.[citation needed]

Anniston is located at 33°39′46″N 85°49′35″W / 33.66278°N 85.82639°W / 33.66278; -85.82639 (33.663003, -85.826664)[9].

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 45.5 square miles (118 km2) of which 45.4 square miles (118 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.07%) is water.[10]

In 2003, part of the town of Blue Mountain was annexed into the city of Anniston, while the remaining portion reverted to unincorporated sections of Calhoun County, thus Blue Mountain no longer exists[11]


Anniston is governed by Alabama's "weak mayor" form of city government. Four city council members are elected to represent the city's four wards, and the mayor is elected at-large. Day-to-day functions of city government are managed by the city manager, who is appointed by the mayor and city council.

Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County, Alabama. Circuit and district courts for the county and the district attorney's office are located in the Calhoun County Courthouse at the corner of 11th Street and Gurnee Avenue. Other county administrative offices are in the Calhoun County Administrative Building at the corner of 17th and Noble streets.

A United States Courthouse, part of the U.S. Alabama Northern District Court, is located at the corner of 12th and Noble streets.

People and culture


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 942
1890 9,998 961.4%
1900 9,695 −3.0%
1910 12,794 32.0%
1920 17,734 38.6%
1930 22,345 26.0%
1940 25,523 14.2%
1950 31,066 21.7%
1960 33,320 7.3%
1970 31,533 −5.4%
1980 29,135 −7.6%
1990 26,623 −8.6%
2000 24,276 −8.8%
Est. 2007 23,689 −2.4%

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 24,276 people, 10,447 households, and 6,414 families residing in the city. The population density was 534.4 inhabitants per square mile (206.3 /km2).[10] There were 12,787 housing units at an average density of 281.5 per square mile (108.7 /km2).[10] The racial makeup of the city was 48.71% White, 48.69% Black or African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.78% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 1.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[3]

There were 10,447 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.0% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.91.[3]

In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 83.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.[3]

The median income for a household in the city was $27,385, and the median income for a family was $36,067. Males had a median income of $31,429 versus $21,614 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,769. About 20.1% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.2% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.[3]

Culture, events and attractions

Anniston is home to the country's largest and the one-time world's largest chair, as designated by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1982.

In 1899, the county seat of Calhoun County moved from Jacksonville to Anniston. More than 100 years later, the community is a bustling center of industry and commerce with more than 24,000 residents. Over the years, city officials and local citizens have worked to retain the environmental beauty of the area while allowing it to thrive economically and to preserve its history. The Spirit of Anniston Main Street Program, Inc., a nonprofit organization started in 1993, spearheaded the restoration and revitalization of historic downtown Anniston, with a strong focus on the city's main thoroughfare, Noble Street.

The Noble Streetscape Project encouraged local business owners to refurbish storefront facades, while historic homes throughout the downtown area have been repaired and returned to their former glory. The preservation effort even included the historic Calhoun County Courthouse, located on the corner of 11th Street & Gurnee Avenue since 1900. The original building burned down in 1931, but the courthouse was rebuilt a year later. Thanks to a complete restoration in 1990, the stately structure is still in use today.

Anniston has long been a cultural center for northeastern Alabama. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival was founded in the city in 1972, and has since moved to Montgomery to receive more robust support. The Knox Concert Series regularly brings world-renowned musical and dance productions to the area. The city also is home to the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum of World History. These quaint institutions house mummies, dioramas of wildlife and artifacts from a bygone age in an understandable fashion. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra since 2004 has performed a summer series of outdoor concerts, Music at McClellan, in Anniston at the former Fort McClellan. Organizers have said they hope to make the concerts the center of an arts community.

The city has many examples of Victorian-style homes, some of which have been restored or preserved. Several of the city’s churches are architecturally significant or historic, including Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Grace Episcopal Church, and Parker Memorial Baptist Church. Temple Beth EL, dedicated in 1893, has the oldest building in the state continuously and currently being used for Jewish worship and including a little known but impressive and lovely little predominately African-American church, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on what is known as the Zion Hill community.

The original main street, Noble Street, is seeing a rebirth as a downtown shopping and dining district in the heart of downtown. All of the large shopping centers in the area are in Oxford, the boom town on Interstate 20 that borders south Anniston. Oxford completed its Western Bypass before federal money ran out, and it houses the Quintard Mall and the toney, upscale Oxford Exchange.


Anniston is home to many restaurants ranging from American, Italian, Greek, Cajun, Mexican, and Chinese cuisines, as well as Barbecue and Southern flavored cuisines. Many locally owned dining establishments are located in the downtown CBD (along Noble Street and Quintard Ave.), as well as Buckner Circle (McClellan), Lenlock, the south Quintard area, and the Golden Springs area.


Anniston is served by two daily newspapers: The Birmingham News statewide edition, and the local 25,000 circulation daily paper, The Anniston Star. Anniston-based Consolidated Publishing Co., publisher of The Anniston Star, also owns and operates advertising-supported newspapers in nearby Jacksonville, Piedmont, Heflin and Talladega.
Commercial radio stations with broadcast facilities in the city include WHMA 95.5-FM, WHMA 1390-AM, WFXO 105.9 and 98.3 and WDNG 1450-AM.
Television station with broadcast facilities - WJXS-TV, is the only station that directly broadcasts from the Anniston area, but many Birmingham stations as have towers and news bureaus here, such as WJSU-TV (WJSU is a local broadcast station for Birmingham-based ABC 33/40), WBRC-TV (Fox), and WVTM-TV (NBC). Alabama Public Television erected its tallest tower atop Mount Cheaha a dozen miles away from Anniston.
Anniston is a part of the Birmingham-Anniston-Tuscaloosa television designated market area. Radio stations are divided up into three sub markets within that market; Anniston is in the Anniston-Gadsden-Talladega radio sub market.


The Anniston Metropolitan Airport is a general aviation facility, south of the city proper, in Oxford. Its single asphalt runway is 7,000 feet (2,100 m) long and 150 feet (46 m) wide.

Amtrak's Crescent train connects Anniston with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. The Amtrak station is situated at the Southern Railway Depot (which was built in 1926), located at 126 West 4th Street. The city purchased the station in 2001 for $430,000 from federal grants for the restoration, in hopes of turning the building into a multi modal transportation hub for the city. It will be served by Amtrak (train), Greyhound (bus), and local taxi and bus services if all goes as planned.

Street and highways

  • Noble Street runs through downtown, lined with office buildings, specialty shops and restaurants. A major revitalization effort in 2003 made this street more pedestrian friendly. The old four lane thoroughfare was gutted, and turn-of-the-century trolley tracks were removed to help resurface the street. The road was converted to two lane traffic with wider sidewalks.
  • Quintard Avenue runs parallel two blocks east of Noble Street. It serves as the main north/south traffic corridor for Anniston. The road is six lanes from East P street to 18th Street, the rest four lanes. State Route 21 and US Route 431 are routed along this street within the city. It connects central Oxford to the south and Jacksonville, Gadsden, and the McClellan area of Anniston to the north. Traffic is relatively heavy on this road around downtown and in Oxford as well. Since the early 90’s, bypasses have been planned on both sides of town to alleviate traffic.
  • The Western Bypass runs from I-20 in Oxford (the Coldwater exit) and runs north into the present AL 202. It is five lanes wide (handling Anniston Army Depot traffic). Future plans will extend it on the present County road 109 by widening it to connect with US 431.
  • The |Eastern Bypass was a stalled project of the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a four lane highway in Calhoun County until revived by the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package. It had been the largest influx of federal money into the local economy since Fort McClellan closed.[citation needed] More than $21 million was earmarked for this project in 2005. [13] This funding was spent acquiring rights-of-way and bulldozing a section of the proposed bypass from Oxford to the community of Golden Springs. As of April, 2009, that section was a level, but undriveable clay dirt road bed. The Eastern Bypass is set to be revived with the signing of the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package. According to the Birmingham News, "The Anniston Eastern Bypass and a Memorial Parkway overpass in Huntsville will be the big transportation winners if Congress gives final approval today to a $789 billion economic stimulus package."[14]

Chemical cleanup

In 2002, a CBS 60 Minutes investigation [1]revealed Anniston had been among the most toxic cities in the country. The source of local contamination was a Monsanto chemical factory, which closed years ago. The [2] EPA site description reads in part:

The Anniston PCB site consists of residential, commercial, and public properties located in and around Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama, that contain or may contain hazardous substances, including polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) impacted media. The Site is not listed on the NPL, but is considered to be a NPL-caliber site. Solutia Inc.'s Anniston plant encompasses approximately 70 acres of land and is located about 1 mile west of downtown Anniston, Alabama. The plant is bounded to the north by the Norfolk Southern and Erie railroads, to the east by Clydesdale Avenue, to the west by First Avenue, and to the south by U.S. Highway 202. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were produced at the plant from 1929 until 1971.

Anniston residents began class action suits against Monsanto. Monsanto Company for knowingly dumping PCBs in west Anniston. Many residents have yet to receive compensation as attorneys for Monsanto's offshoot, Solutia, continue to delay disbursements of damages.

The West Palm Beach TV station, WPTV, in July 2008 reported medical researchers are studying a potential link between PCBs and diabetes.[3]

An excerpt from the TV report:

Allen Silverstone, Ph.D., an immunologist at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., told Ivanhoe. 'Diabetes is one thing that can happen and that probably happens because these chemicals can affect glucose metabolism,' he said. The study found that residents of Anniston who live near the old plant had levels of PCBs that were four times greater than other people throughout the United States and had two to four times greater the risk of developing diabetes."

A portion of the remaining Fort McClellan, is used for Alabama National Guard training and the US Homeland Security anti-terrorism department. It houses the nation's only "live agent" training center which means military and emergency responder personnel from all over the world come to Fort McClellan to be trained in dealing with live agents and weapons in a real-time, monitored setting. These chemical weapons were stored for decades in a secured manner by the US Army. Anniston is one of nine areas in the US that housed such stockpiles. In 2003, the Anniston Army Depot began the process of destroying nerve agents it had stored over the years. The incinerator was built to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile of Sarin and VX nerve agent and mustard blister agent stored at the depot. The depot, along with associated defense contractors, is now Anniston's largest employer. Destruction of most of the stored munitions around Anniston has proceeded without incident and is expected to be completed by 2019.


Anniston is home to the United States Army's Anniston Army Depot which is used for the maintenance of most Army tracked vehicles. The depot houses a major chemical weapons storage facility, the Anniston Chemical Activity, and a program to destroy those weapons, the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Fort McClellan, former site of the U.S. Army Military Police Training Academy and Chemical Warfare training center, was de-commissioned in the 1990s. A portion of the former fort is now home to the Alabama National Guard Training Center. Another 9000 acres (36 km²) of the fort were set aside for the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge in 2003. The Department of Homeland Security also uses a portion of the de-commissioned fort for training and fieldwork.


Public schools in Anniston are operated by Anniston City Schools. These include:

  • Anniston High School (Grades 9-12)
  • Anniston Middle School (Grades 6-8)
  • Cobb Elementary School (Grades K-5)
  • Constantine Elementary School (Grades K-5)
  • Golden Springs Elementary School (Grades K-5)
  • Randolph Park Elementary School (Grades K-5)
  • Tenth Street Elementary School (Grades K-5)

There is also a public, four-year institution of higher learning, Jacksonville State University, located in nearby Jacksonville, Alabama. Anniston is also home to some satellite campuses of Gadsden State Community College at the former Fort McClellan and the Ayers campus in southern Anniston. There are also some private schools in Anniston. These include a Christian school called Faith Christian, a longstanding Roman Catholic school at the former Fort McClellan called Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, a Southern Baptist school called Trinity Christian Academy, and a K-12 college-preparatory school called The Donoho School.

Notable residents and former residents


  1. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Alabama" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2006. 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alabama". United States Census Bureau. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Fact Sheet- Aniston city, Alabama". American Fact Finder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  4. ^ 'Croxton's Raidby Rex Miller, p.88
  5. ^ Sprayberry, Gary. "Anniston". Encyclopdeia of Alabama. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Located along Leighton Ave, on the corner of Leighton Ave and E 11th St., facing Christine Ave.
  7. ^ "Get On the Bus: The Freedom Riders of 1961". NPR. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  8. ^ Dan, Whisenhunt (May 13, 2007). JSU News Wire "A Single Step: Memorial to 'Freedom Riders'Just a Beginning". Jacksonville State University News. Jacksonville State University. JSU News Wire. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ a b c "Geographic Comparison Table- Alabama". American Fact Finder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  11. ^ US Census change list
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ (See Page 124 of Public Law 109-59-Aug. 10, 2005 as enacted by the US Congress).
  14. ^ "Anniston bypass, Huntsville overpass are big winners if Obama OKs stimulus plan". Retrieved 2009-02-13. 

Further reading

  • Kimberly O'Dell (2000). Anniston. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 073850601X. 

External links

Coordinates: 33°39′47″N 85°49′36″W / 33.663003°N 85.826664°W / 33.663003; -85.826664

Simple English

Anniston, Alabama
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The Model City
Coordinates: 33°39′47″N 85°49′36″W / 33.66306°N 85.82667°W / 33.66306; -85.82667
Country United States
State Alabama
County Calhoun
Settled April 1872
Incorporated 3 July 1883
 - Mayor Hoyt W. “Chip” Howell, Jr.
 - City 45 sq mi (116.5 km2)
 - Land 45.4 sq mi (117.7 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 719 ft (219 m)
Population (2007)[1][2]
 - City 23,689
 Density 534.4/sq mi (203.8/km2)
 Metro 112,240
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36201-36207
Area code(s) 256
FIPS code 01-01852
GNIS feature ID 0159066

Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 24,276. According to the 2005 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 23,741.[1]

Notable Residents and Former Residents

  • George T. Anderson, Civil War general.
  • Michael Biehn, actor
  • Anne Braden, Civil Rights activist
  • June Burn, author
  • Red Byron, NASCAR driver
  • Asa Earl Carter, Segregationist, speech writer, and author of The Education of Little Tree
  • Quinton Caver, American NFL football player
  • B. B. Comer, Governor of Alabama.
  • Michael Curry, NBA player
  • Cow Cow Davenport, Boogie-woogie pianist
  • Eric Davis, NFL corner back.
  • William Levi Dawson, (b. 23 September 1899), composer of Negro Folk Symphony.
  • Bobby Edwards, country singer
  • Kevin Greene, retired American NFL football player
  • Audrey Marie Hilley, famous for poisoning her husband and trying to poison her daughter.
  • Thomas Kilby, Governor of Alabama.
  • Perry Lentz, author and professor of English
  • Lucky Millinder, Rhythm and blues and swing band leader and singer.
  • Will Owsley, singer-songwriter.
  • John L. Pennington, Newspaper publisher, governor of Dakota Territory.
  • Patrick J. Que Smith, Grammy winning songwriter
  • Shannon Spruill, professional wrestler
  • David Satcher, former Surgeon General
  • Vaughn Stewart, former NFL football player.


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