Camden, Alabama

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Camden
City
Wilcox County Courthouse in Camden, completed in 1857.
Wilcox County Courthouse in Camden, completed in 1857.
Location in Wilcox County and the state of Alabama
Location in Wilcox County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 31°59′56″N 87°17′45″W / 31.9988°N 87.2957°W / 31.9988; -87.2957Coordinates: 31°59′56″N 87°17′45″W / 31.9988°N 87.2957°W / 31.9988; -87.2957
Country United States
State Alabama
County Wilcox
Area
 • Total 4.2 sq mi (11 km2)
 • Land 4.2 sq mi (11 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 207 ft (63 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 2,257
 • Density 537.4/sq mi (205.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36726
Area code(s) 334
FIPS code 01-11512
GNIS feature ID 0115426

Camden is a city[1] in Wilcox County, Alabama, United States.[2] The population was 2,257 at the 2000 census, at which time it was a town.

History[edit]

What is now Camden was established on property that was donated by Thomas Dunn in order to have a new town founded on the site. Dunn's Federal style house, built in 1825, is the oldest documented house in the town.[3] The first county seat was in the community of Canton Bend. It was moved to Barboursville, later renamed Camden, in 1833. It had been named Barboursville in honor of United States Congressman Philip Barbour of Virginia. Incorporated in 1841, Camden was renamed by local physician John D. Caldwell in honor of his hometown of Camden, South Carolina.[4]

The Camden Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, completed in 1849.

The earliest documented industries in the town were a brickyard, sawmill, and window fabricator.[5] The Camden Phenix was the town's earliest known newspaper.[5] It also became the home of the red-brick Greek-Revival style Wilcox Female Seminary and Female Institute, built from 1845–50.[5] It has housed the Wilcox County Historical Society since 1976.[6] The red-brick Greek-Revival style Wilcox County Courthouse, also listed on the National Register, was completed in 1857. It replaced an earlier wood-frame structure.

During the American Civil War, many in community joined the Confederate cause. The county courthouse was ransacked by Union forces in 1865, but advance warning allowed county officials to remove the county records to a safe place (legend claims that they were buried in a coffin) prior to their arrival.[5] Already devastated by the after effects of the Civil War, Camden suffered fires during 1869 and 1870 that destroyed about two-thirds of the town. The town finally began a slow recovery beginning during the 1880s, with the first bank incorporated in 1894.[5]

Camden benefited economically during the mid-20th century with the construction of a paper mill at Yellow Bluff and of the Millers Ferry Lock and Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Alabama River near Millers Ferry that created the William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir.[5]

Geography[edit]

Camden is located at 31°59′56″N 87°17′45″W / 31.99889°N 87.29583°W / 31.99889; -87.29583 (31.998851, -87.295743).[7] According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had an area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2), of which 4.2 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.24% is water.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 2,257 people, 868 households, and 584 families residing in the town. The population density was 533.7 people per square mile (206.0/km2). There were 965 housing units at an average density of 228.2 per square mile (88.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 54.23% African American, 45.28% White, 0.09% Native American, 0.09% from other races, and 0.31% from two or more races. 0.53% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 868 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 27.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.1% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 78.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $25,750, and the median income for a family was $28,854. Males had a median income of $35,625 versus $20,735 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,272. About 31.4% of families and 33.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.3% of those under age 18 and 29.6% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Notable natives[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Census change list
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Dunn-Fairley-Bonner-Field House at Camden, AL (built c. 1825)". Rural Southwest Alabama. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Camden". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Wilcox County". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Wilcox Female Institute". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.