Florence, Alabama

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Florence
City
Downtown Florence Historic District
Downtown Florence Historic District
Nickname(s): "Alabama's Renaissance City"
Florence is located in Alabama
Florence
Florence
Location in Alabama.
Coordinates: 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.82028°N 87.66278°W / 34.82028; -87.66278Coordinates: 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.82028°N 87.66278°W / 34.82028; -87.66278
CountryUnited States
StateAlabama
CountyLauderdale
IncorporatedJanuary 7, 1826[1]
Government
 • TypeMayor/Council (Since 1984)
 • MayorMickey Haddock
Area
 • City25 sq mi (64.8 km2)
 • Land24.9 sq mi (64.6 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation548 ft (167 m)
Population (2013)[2]
 • City40,059
 • Density1,450.6/sq mi (566.68/km2)
 • Metro147,317 (US: 281th)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes35630-35634
Area code(s)256, 938
FIPS code01-26896
GNIS feature ID0118442
Websitewww.ci.florence.al.us
 
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Florence
City
Downtown Florence Historic District
Downtown Florence Historic District
Nickname(s): "Alabama's Renaissance City"
Florence is located in Alabama
Florence
Florence
Location in Alabama.
Coordinates: 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.82028°N 87.66278°W / 34.82028; -87.66278Coordinates: 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.82028°N 87.66278°W / 34.82028; -87.66278
CountryUnited States
StateAlabama
CountyLauderdale
IncorporatedJanuary 7, 1826[1]
Government
 • TypeMayor/Council (Since 1984)
 • MayorMickey Haddock
Area
 • City25 sq mi (64.8 km2)
 • Land24.9 sq mi (64.6 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation548 ft (167 m)
Population (2013)[2]
 • City40,059
 • Density1,450.6/sq mi (566.68/km2)
 • Metro147,317 (US: 281th)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes35630-35634
Area code(s)256, 938
FIPS code01-26896
GNIS feature ID0118442
Websitewww.ci.florence.al.us

Florence is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States, in the northwestern corner of the state.

According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 39,319.

Florence is the largest and principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals" (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered the primary economic hub of northwestern Alabama.

Florence is renowned for its annual tourism events, including W.C. Handy Music Festival in the summer, and the Renaissance Faire in the fall. Landmarks in Florence include the Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in Alabama.

The type of municipal government is mayor-council.

Geography[edit]

Florence is located at 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.820287°N 87.662860°W / 34.820287; -87.662860.[3]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florence has a total area of 25.0 square miles (65 km2), of which 24.9 square miles (64 km2) is land, and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.40%) is water. Florence is located on Wilson Lake and Pickwick Lake, bodies of water on the Tennessee River dammed by Wheeler and Wilson Dams. Wheeler Lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of several alphabet agencies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Wilson Dam, authorized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918, was the first dam constructed on the Tennessee River.

History[edit]

Florence was surveyed for the Cypress Land Company in 1818 by Italian surveyor Ferdinand Sannoner, who named it after Florence,[4] the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy. Florence, Alabama was incorporated in 1826.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
1850892
18601,39556.4%
18702,00343.6%
18801,359−32.2%
18906,012342.4%
19006,4787.8%
19106,6893.3%
192010,52957.4%
193011,72911.4%
194015,04328.3%
195023,87958.7%
196031,51832.0%
197034,0318.0%
198037,0298.8%
199036,426−1.6%
200036,264−0.4%
201039,3198.4%
Est. 201340,0591.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2013 Estimate[6]

2010[edit]

Whereas according to the 2010 census Bureau:

2000[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 36,264 people, 15,820 households, and 9,555 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,454.6 people per square mile (561.6/km²). There were 17,707 housing units at an average density of 710.2 per square mile (274.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.39% White, 19.20% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 1.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 15,820 households, out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them: 43.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. Nearly 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20, and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 13.7% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 84.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,330, and the median income for a family was $40,577. Males had a median income of $34,398 versus $21,385 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,464. About 14.4% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Harrison Plaza, University of North Alabama

Situated in Florence, and founded in 1830 as LaGrange College, the University of North Alabama, a public, co-educational, higher education institution, is Alabama's oldest state-certified university. The University is the largest in north Alabama[citation needed], with an enrollment topping 7,000 for the first time in 2007. Culturally diverse, international students now comprise roughly 10% of the student population. The University is known for its beautifully landscaped, pedestrian-friendly campus that is situated on 130 acres (0.53 km2) and surrounded by historic neighborhoods. It is located just north of the downtown business district.

Florence City Schools is the organization of the K-12 public school system. Florence High School (grades 10-12) is the main high school, with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students. It was created by a merger between the previous two city high schools, Bradshaw High School and Coffee High School . It is located at the former site of Bradshaw High School. The merger also led to the creation of Florence Middle School (grades 7-8) and the Florence Freshman Center (grade 9), both located at the former Coffee High School campus.

There are five private schools in Florence: Riverhill School (non-parochial Pre K2-6 [1], actually located just north of Florence in St. Florian), St. Joseph Regional Catholic School (K-8), Mars Hill Bible School, Shoals Christian School, and Florence Christian Academy. Those are multi-denominational, private K-12 schools.

Culture and events[edit]

The City of Florenceis home to several museums, historical sites and numerous parks to serve the cultural and recreational needs of citizens and tourists. A variety of festivals also occur throughout the year.

Museums[edit]

Festivals[edit]

The festivals are listed in order by month that the event falls on the calendar.

Other attractions[edit]

Recreation[edit]

Parks[edit]

Aerial view of Florence

Other recreation[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Florence is the birthplace of W.C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues," as well as of pioneering record producer Sam Phillips, who founded Sun Records and discovered Elvis Presley and other pioneering legends of rock and roll and country music. T.S. Stribling, a 20th-century novelist who was a student in Florence as a young man, wrote a prose trilogy about the city consisting of The Forge, The Store (which won the Pulitzer Prize), and Unfinished Cathedral. Stribling also spent his final months in the city, dying in 1965. Florence is where the 2009 British Open winner Stewart Cink was raised. Florence is the birthplace of one-half of The Midnight Express, "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey. Dred Scott also once resided in Florence, where, as a slave, he worked as a hostler at the Peter Blow Inn on Tennessee Street. A plaque at the former site commemorates his time there. Bobby W. Miller, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma, Alabama in 1965, was credited later with ending segregated locker rooms at the Ford Motor Company Die Cast Plant in Sheffield, Alabama, where he was employed from 1962-1974. Miller was shot down twice in Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. Tom York grew up in Florence, graduated from Florence State Teachers' College, now the University of North Alabama, and spent eight years in radio in Florence (WLAY). In 1957, he joined WBRC-TV in Birmingham, Alabama as their sports director. He also originated the Tom York Morning Show (one of America's longest running one-hour local talk shows) on the air for 32 years. He was awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1995.[11]

Transportation[edit]

O'Neal Bridge over the Tennessee River

Florence is the merger point for two major U.S. Highways, as well as several Alabama Highways. Both U.S. Highway 43 and U.S. Highway 72 merge just east of the city limits in Killen, and are co-signed their entire length through the city. Highway 43, running north and south, helps connect the city to Lawrenceburg and Columbia to the north in Tennessee, as well as Tuscaloosa and Mobile to the south. Highway 72 helps connect the city to Huntsville and Chattanooga, Tennessee to the east and Memphis, Tennessee to the west. Interstate 65 is accessible about forty-five minutes east on Highway 72. Both of these roads cross the Tenneessee River on O'Neal Bridge, connecting Florence to Sheffield.

Alabama state highways that serve the city include Alabama 13, Alabama 17, Alabama 20, Alabama 133, and Alabama 157. Alabama 133 connected Florence and Muscle Shoals via Wilson Dam until 2002, when the new six-lane "Patton Island Bridge" (the unofficial, but locally accepted name) finished construction. The bridge is part of a new corridor that will eventually see the widening of Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals to Alabama 20, and the construction of a new road from the bridge to Florence Blvd. in Florence. Alabama 157 is also an important road to Florence and the Shoals area, serving as a four-lane link to Interstate 65 in Cullman. After many years of political campaigning by local leaders to have the four-laning of the road completed, the project wrapped up in the summer of 2007. The road is known as the "University of North Alabama Highway".

Florence and the Shoals area does not have a direct link to an Interstate highway at the present time. One solution discussed over the years has been the "Memphis to Atlanta Highway", proposed to connect the two cities via a freeway through north Alabama. However, in recent years Mississippi has concentrated its funding on U.S. 78 (future Interstate 22), also known as "Corridor X". Though U.S. 72 through Mississippi is four lanes, there are no plans to upgrade it to freeway status. Meanwhile, the state of Georgia has also not committed to the necessary work to connect the freeway from the Alabama state line to Atlanta. The highway remains in the planning stages with the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Another plan recently discussed is extending Interstate 565 west from its current terminus just outside of Decatur, perhaps along Alabama 20/Alternate U.S. 72. The plan has received some support from Decatur officials, some of whom would like to see the Interstate eventually extend west of Decatur and at least into Lawrence County.

For air transportation, Florence is served by the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals. The airport is mostly used for general aviation, but daily flights to Atlanta are also offered by Mesaba Airlines- a Delta Connection carrier. Huntsville International Airport, offering service to eleven domestic destinations, is about an hours drive from Florence.

Local industry is also served by the Tennessee Southern Railroad (TSRR), which runs from Florence to Columbia, Tennessee, and the Port of Florence on Pickwick Lake.

Media[edit]

The TimesDaily is a daily newspaper published in Florence that serves the greater Florence area, and which is owned by the Tennessee Valley Printing Company, who purchased the newspaper and associated media from The New York Times Company in March, 2009.[12]

The Shoals Insider is a local news website. It is much like a newspaper, but doesn't print on paper. Local arrest records, foreclosures, divorces and other public documents are published daily, as well as news articles. [2]

The Courier-Journal is a locally-owned and distributed weekly publication serving the greater Florence area.

No'Ala is a locally-owned Shoals area lifestyle magazine published six times annually. [3]

There are numerous radio, television and low-power FM radio stations and translators that serve Florence and the greater area, all which are in the greater Florence MSA.

Among them are:

AM Radio[edit]

  1. WSBM (1340 AM; 1 kW; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  2. WVNA (1590 AM; 5 kW; Tuscumbia, AL; Owner: Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, INC.)
  3. WBTG (1290 AM; 1 kW; Sheffield, AL)
  4. WBCF (1240 AM; 1 kW; Florence, AL; Owner: Benny Carle Broadcasting, INC.)
  5. WLAY (1450 AM; 1 kW; Muscle Shoals, AL; Owner: Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, INC.)
  6. WJHX (620 AM; 5 kW; Lexington, AL; Owner: Manual Huerta)
  7. WZZA (1410 AM; 1 kW; Tuscumbia, AL; Owner: Muscle Shoals Broadcasting, INC.)

FM Radio[edit]

  1. WLAY-FM (100.3 FM; Tuscumbia, AL; Owner: Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, INC.)
  2. W274AA (102.7 FM; Muscle Shoals, AL; Owner: WILLIAM P. ROGERS)
  3. W280DA (103.9 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: BIBLE BROADCASTING NETWORK, INC.)
  4. WAKD (89.9 FM; Sheffield, AL; Owner: AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION)
  5. WQLT-FM (107.3 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  6. W258AE (99.5 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: WAY-FM MEDIA GROUP, INC.)
  7. WFIX (91.3 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: TRI-STATE INSPIRATIONAL B/C CORP.)
  8. W254AA (98.7 FM; Colbert Heights, AL; Owner: WILLIAM P. ROGERS)
  9. WXFL (96.1 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  10. WVNA-FM (105.5 FM; Muscle Shoals, AL; Owner: Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, INC.)
  11. WBTG-FM (106.3 FM; Sheffield, AL; Owner: SLATTON & ASSOCS. BROADCASTERS, INC.)
  12. W202BY (88.3 FM; Killen, AL; Owner: WAY-FM MEDIA GROUP, INC.)
  13. W253AH (98.5 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  14. W276AM (103.1 FM; Florence, ETC., AL; Owner: J AND J BROADCASTING)
  15. W225AB (92.9 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: WILLIAM P. ROGERS)
  16. WYTK (93.9 FM; Rogersville, AL; Owner: SHOALS BROADCASTING CORPORATION)
  17. WQPR (88.7 FM; Muscle Shoals, AL; Owner: THE BD OF TRUSTEES UNIV. OF ALABAMA)
  18. WPMR (95.7 FM; Russellville, Al: Owner: Provision Ministries (Wanda Keele.)

Television and Low-Power Television[edit]

  1. WXFL-LD (Channel 5; Florence, ETC., AL; Owner: Benny Carle Broadcasting, INC.)
  2. WBCF-LP (Channel 3; Florence, AL; Owner: Benny Carle Broadcasting, INC.)
  3. WHDF (Channel 15; Florence, AL; Owner: VALLEY TELEVISION, LLC)
  4. WFIQ (Channel 36; Florence, AL; Owner: ALABAMA EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION COMMISSION)
  5. W46CF (Channel 45; Tuscumbia, AL; Owner: WMTY Incorporated (William Pete Nichols)

Past television stations[edit]

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Florence has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[13]

The average temperature of Florence is 59 F (15 C). The average yearly precipitation in Florence is 57.06 in (144.9 cm).[13] On average, Florence gets 2.25 in (5.7 cm) of snow per year, which is above the average for Alabama of 0.57 in (1.44 cm).[14]

While Florence is almost 300 miles (480 km) from the Gulf of Mexico, strong hurricanes have brought severe weather to the area. For example, in 2005, the path of Hurricane Katrina came very close to the city, causing nearly 70 mph (112 kph) winds and some storm damage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Act 95. "AN ACT to incorporate the town of Florence in the state of Alabama." Acts Passed at the Seventh Annual Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama. 1825. Pages 70-73.
  2. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 127. 
  5. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cox Creek Complex". City of Florence, Alabama. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Veterans Memorial Park Course. Professional Disc Golf Association. Accessed 2012-03-12.
  9. ^ "Woodrow Wilson Park 1818". The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  10. ^ "Florence Harbor Marina". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  11. ^ Florence Alabama 03/29/03
  12. ^ "NYT Sells Times Daily." TimesDaily. Wednesday, March 25, 2009. http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090325/ARTICLES/903255029
  13. ^ a b Climate Summary for Florence, Alabama
  14. ^ http://www.usa.com/florence-al-weather.htm#HistoricalSnow

External links[edit]