Cordova, Alabama

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Location in Walker County and the state of Alabama
Location in Walker County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 33°45′36″N 87°11′13″W / 33.76000°N 87.18694°W / 33.76000; -87.18694Coordinates: 33°45′36″N 87°11′13″W / 33.76000°N 87.18694°W / 33.76000; -87.18694
Country United States
State Alabama
County Walker
 • Total 6 sq mi (15.4 km2)
 • Land 5.9 sq mi (15.3 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 302 ft (92 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,095
 • Density 403.8/sq mi (157.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 35550
Area code(s) 205
FIPS code 01-17368
GNIS feature ID 0116626

Cordova is a city in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 2,423.


Cordova was originally a settlement on the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River called "Dent" or "Dent's Place." The city was dubbed "Cordova" by Captain Benjamin M. Long in 1859. He named the city after a city in Mexico in which he was stationed during the Mexican War. Long himself opened a mercantile shop in the city and helped lure other industries into the city by providing the land necessary for their operations. The company that had the biggest impact on the City was Nashua Manufacturing Company out of Nashua, New Hampshire, who brought in the Indian Head Textile Mills. The mill brought with it many jobs, and as was customary of the day its own village. The company built over 100 houses in the city, many of which are still standing, and occupied today. The company even built the Indian Head school on the site of present day "Cordova Health and Rehabilitation Center." The mill helped to bring two major railways to the city, which at the time helped connect the city to much of the surrounding area. The mill eventually became its own "town" and even had its own separate police force. Indian Head Mills was one of the most highly awarded textile mills during World War II. Their products were found to be above all standards set forth by the government by the War Department. The Mill was referred to by the residents as the Cordova Spinners. The same way the mill shaped the city around the turn of the 20th century it also shaped it upon its closing in the middle of the century. Population declined and industry slowed, while neighboring Jasper took a strong hold on the county seat as the largest city in the county.

Present-day Cordova[edit]

Street in Cordova, Spring, 1993

With access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Warrior and Alabama Rivers, two major railways (Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Norfolk Southern), Interstate 22, and the recent addition of BAE Systems, the city is hoping for economic growth.

Gilchrist House, located near Cordova, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


On April 27, 2011, an EF-3 tornado tore through the city in the early hours of the morning and the city was hit by an EF-4 in the afternoon. It destroyed the majority of the historic downtown district including the city hall, police station, the old Tallulah Bankhead hotel, Piggly Wiggly, and People's Bank. The small city is still awaiting FEMA funds to complete demolition of the downtown area so that the rebuilding may begin. Cordova was at the center of a national controversy when the Mayor and council upheld the city's ban on single wide mobile homes after the tornadoes of April 2011 (though Cordova's City Hall was temporarily located in a trailer because of the destruction).[1] Despite the public outrage, only two residents qualified for FEMA temporary trailers.[2]

2012 Cordova earthquake[edit]

On November 19, 2012, Cordova was hit by a minor earthquake (magnitude 2.6). The intensity was estimated at II - III on the Mercalli intensity scale in Cordova. It was felt all over Alabama and the Southern United States, up to over 500 miles (800 km) to the epicenter. Compared, a magnitude 3.6 on the West Coast wouldn't even be felt over 200 miles (320 km) from the epicenter.[3]


Cordova is located at 33°45′36″N 87°11′13″W / 33.760106°N 87.187083°W / 33.760106; -87.187083.[4]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15 km2), of which 5.9 square miles (15 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.84%) is water. Cordova is located in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, near the banks of the Mulberry Fork of the Warrior River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 567
1910 1,747 208.1%
1920 1,622 −7.2%
1930 1,830 12.8%
1940 1,881 2.8%
1950 3,156 67.8%
1960 3,184 0.9%
1970 2,750 −13.6%
1980 3,123 13.6%
1990 2,623 −16.0%
2000 2,423 −7.6%
2010 2,095 −13.5%
Est. 2013 2,061 −1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2013 Estimate[6]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 2,423 people, 1,009 households, and 665 families residing in the city. The population density was 411.0 people per square mile (158.6/km2). There were 1,180 housing units at an average density of 200.2 per square mile (77.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.60% White, 13.25% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,009 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 23.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 79.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $17,389, and the median income for a family was $24,896. Males had a median income of $32,353 versus $19,549 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,489. About 25.6% of families and 26.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.4% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.


The city is served by three schools, all members of the Walker County Board of Education. Cordova Elementary School serves grades pre-K through fourth. Bankhead Middle School serves students in grades five through eight. The school is named for Senator John H. Bankhead, which was also the namesake of the previous high school that was located in the Benchfield community of the city. Cordova High School was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1938 and the building served the city through the 2007 school year. The current facility was an estimated $14 million project that offers the students of Cordova High a state of the art education experience. The school serves students in grades nine through twelve, and is the proud home of a rich athletic tradition. The football program boast State Championships in 1963 (unofficially) 1995, and 2007. The softball team won three State titles in 1994, 1995, and 1997. The school has received honors in Cheer leading, Volleyball, Golf, and most recently Track and Field. The city is within fifty miles of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama Birmingham, and within one hundred miles of the University of North Alabama. The city is within close proximity of several junior colleges.


The city has ten churches of multiple denominations within the 5.9 square miles (15 km2) of the city, as well five to ten churches situated just outside the city limits.

Notable people[edit]

  • Doyle Alexander, born in Cordova, major league baseball player[8]
  • Jim O'Rear, actor, screenwriter, and director.
  • P. W. Underwood, professional football player and coach.
  • James S. Voss, astronaut who flew in space five times on board the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cordova has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. [9]


  1. ^ Reeves, Jay (June 2, 2011). "Officials won't force FEMA trailers on Ala. town". Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "M2.6 - 12km SW of Cordova Alabama". USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th edition ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8. 
  9. ^ Climate Summary for Cordova, Alabama

External links[edit]