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Grand Bay, Alabama
—  CDP  —
Location in Mobile County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 30°28′26″N 88°20′30″W / 30.47389°N 88.34167°W / 30.47389; -88.34167
Country United States
State Alabama
County Mobile
 - Total 8.7 sq mi (22.5 km2)
 - Land 8.7 sq mi (22.4 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 82 ft (25 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 3,918
 - Density 450.3/sq mi (174.1/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36541
Area code(s) 251
FIPS code 01-31024
GNIS feature ID 0155081

Grand Bay is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. It is included in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. The population was 3,918 at the 2000 census.



Grand Bay is located at 30°28′27″N 88°20′31″W / 30.47417°N 88.34194°W / 30.47417; -88.34194 (30.474055, -88.341836)[1], along U.S. Route 90 midway between the Alabama/Mississippi state line and the town of St. Elmo, Alabama, a few miles inland from the Mississippi Sound.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.7 square miles (22.5 km²), of which, 8.7 square miles (22.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.34%) is water.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 3,918 people, 1,364 households, and 1,078 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 452.3 people per square mile (174.7/km²). There were 1,441 housing units at an average density of 166.4/sq mi (64.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 89.00% White, 8.88% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.87% of the population.

There were 1,364 households out of which 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.5% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% were non-families. 18.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $38,941, and the median income for a family was $43,654. Males had a median income of $33,177 versus $21,920 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $15,741. About 6.9% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Government and Local Services

While Grand Bay is unincorporated, the area is served by the Grand Bay Water Works Board for water service and an active volunteer fire department for fire protection. The Mobile County Sheriff's Department maintains a satellite office in Grand Bay as well. Grand Bay Water Works also provides limited sewer service for Breitling Elementary School and the business district around the Interstate 10 exchange. The Mobile County Commission, a three-member elected panel, provides all other services including road and street repair.

Grand Bay is located within District 3 of the Mobile County Commission. The current commissioner is Mike Dean (R). In the Alabama Legislature, Grand Bay is represented by House District 105, current representative is Spencer Collier (R). In the State Senate, Grand Bay is located within District 34. This District is currently represented by Rusty Glover.

In the US House, Grand Bay, and all of Mobile County is located within the 1st Congressional District. Currently, Jo Bonner(R) is the representative.


According to local legend, George Cassibry was the first person to settle in Grand Bay. Whether this is true or not, no one knows for certain.[3] What is certain is that exploration and settlement of the area was well underway by the mid-nineteenth century.[4][5] During the Civil War, the town saw brief military action as a column of troops under U.S. General Gordon Granger reached the town as a preliminary move in the siege of Mobile.[6]

In 1870 the United States Postal Service established a Post Office at a location near the center of the current community.[7] Settlement began in earnest when the Grand Bay Land Company began offering ten acre lots for sale sometime before 1900. The lots were marketed to people living in and around Chicago and other northern cities as a way to live self-sufficiently in a mild climate.[8] Supposedly, ten acres planted in pecan and satsuma trees would be enough to supply the needs of anyone.[7] The timber industry also attracted many to the area. Much of the region south of Grand Bay to the coast along the Mississippi Sound was clearcut.[9]

For a time, the town flourished.[10] A weekly newspaper was published there and telegraph service was offered to the region through an operator at Grand Bay.[11] The town had a number of businesses including a hotel, drug store,[12] several general merchandise stores and a bank.[13][14] However, hurricanes in 1906 and 1910, along with a severe freeze, sent many scurrying back north.[15] Their efforts, however, have not gone unnoticed even today. Cogon Grass, a highly-invasive rhizome, first introduced to the area as packing material in satsuma trees imported from Asia, has now become a serious Southeastern agricultural problem.[16]

In 1993, the old Grand Bay State Bank building became the site of the El Cazador Museum, and for a time held treasure from the Spanish Ship El Cazador. The area in and around the old bank building now forms the Grand Bay Historic District and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.[17]

Watermelon Festival

A July 4 tradition since 1973, the current version of the Grand Bay Watermelon Festival offers tourists and locals an opportunity to sample locally grown watermelon while enjoying amusement rides, arts & crafts, and informative displays from area merchants and service providers.[18]

The annual celebration has a long and storied history, having begun during the earliest years of the 20th Century. As the community and surrounding area changed during World War II, the annual celebration was discontinued. It was revived in 1973 by the Grand Bay Junior Chamber of Commerce. Currently, it is sponsored by the Odd Fellows fraternity. It is currently held at the local baseball park just north of U.S. Highway 90 on the west side of Grand Bay.

Pecans and Fruit

Much of the rural land around Grand Bay is planted in pecan trees, another reminder of the Grand Bay Land Company days. Many of the pecan orchards have been converted from agricultural production for use as residential home sites. However, pecan production is still an important business and provides supplemental income to residents who work in nonagricultural jobs.

In addition, the area has become home to a large peach business and satsumas, once destroyed by freezing temperatures, have now returned to commercial production in a more weather-hardy variety.

Grand Bay Watermelons, however, remain the produce most identified with the community.

Community center

The Grand Bay-St. Elmo Community Center is a multi-use facility located on the east side of Grand Bay at 11610 Highway 90. The building is near the intersection of Highway 90 and Ramsay Road Extension. Constructed in 2005, the center operates on a non-profit basis. Facilities are available for rent to the public.[19] The Center is located on the site of the former Grand Bay Elementary School for Colored, a racially segregated elementary school established in 1919.


The business section of Grand Bay stretches East to West along Highway 90 for about two miles from Festival Park Road on the west side to Highway 188 on the east, and North to South along Grand Bay Wilmer Road from Highway 90 to Old Pascagoula Road. Recent development has centered around two areas. Primarily at the intersection of Grand Bay-Wilmer Road and US Highway 90, and at the intersection of Grand Bay-Wilmer Road and Interstate 10.

Notable People from Grand Bay

Internal References


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ But see, reference to one Mr. Cassibry and the cultivation of rice in and around Grand Bay as early as 1871, in The Culture of Rice on Pine Lands, January 18, 1871, Mobile Register, reproduced in Southern Farm and Home, Vol. 2, p. 328, found online at
  4. ^ See, Tuomey, A. M., Second Biennial Report on the Geology of Alabama, (N. B. Cloud, State Printer, 1858), showing a detailed survey of the geological features of the region, online at
  5. ^ And see, DeBow's Review and Industrial Resources, Statistics, Vol. XXVII, (1859) p.595, detailing resources available in the area, found online at
  6. ^ See, Andrews, Christopher Columbus, History of The Campaign of Mobile, (New York: Van Nostrand Co., 1889), pp.19-20 online at
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ See article entitled, Gulf Coast Country, in The National Magazine, May-Sept. 1911, p. 428 found online at
  9. ^ See Harper, Roland McMillian, Economic Botany of Alabma,(University of Alabama Press, 1913), pp. 170-171 showing photos of clearcut area typical of the region on-line at
  10. ^ See, Forty Miles of Fertile Country Wherein Exist Great Opportunities for Homemaking, North & South May 1905 online at
  11. ^ For a description of the Western Union telegraph service at Grand Bay, See, Western Union Telegraphic Co. v. Henderson, (89 Alabama 510, Nov. 1889) found online at
  12. ^ See, Description of Grand Bay Drug Co. business in Parker-Blake v. Ladd, 70 So. 188 (1915), found online at
  13. ^ See, State of Alabama records regarding founding of Grand Bay State Bank, at
  14. ^ See, Statement of Condition of Grand Bay Bank, 1917, Annual Report of the Superintendent of Banks for the State of Alabama for the year 1917, p.64, found online at
  15. ^ See, Ballard, Gussie Alexander, Remember Our Yesterdays,Pelican Publishing Company, New Orleans, (1960)
  16. ^
  17. ^ See, National Registry of Historic Places online at
  18. ^ See photos online at
  19. ^

External links



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