Location in Marion County and the state of Alabama
|• Total||36.1 sq mi (93.5 km2)|
|• Land||36.1 sq mi (93.5 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||489 ft (149 m)|
|• Density||188/sq mi (72.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0119627|
|Website||City of Hamilton|
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.1 square miles (93 km2), of which 36.1 square miles (93 km2) is land and 0.03% is water.
Hamilton was founded in the early 19th century by settlers who had moved to the Alabama Territory from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. It is built upon lands which once served as “hunting grounds” for the Chickasaw Indians. The city was first called Toll Gate, but later changed in honor of one of its distinguished citizens, Captain Albert James Hamilton (known as A.J. Hamilton), who had represented Marion County in the state legislature in the sessions of 1869, 1874 and 1875. Captain Hamilton donated forty acres of his land to the town. The same forty acres were then divided into lots and sold to help cover the cost of building the courthouse. The Toll Gate community was elected in 1881 to be the next county seat, and by 1883 the Marion county courthouse in Pikeville had ceased to be functional. When the courthouse was moved from Pikeville to Toll Gate, the town's name was then changed from Toll Gate to Hamilton. On March 30, 1887, the newly built county courthouse was destroyed by fire. It was again rebuilt with wood, but replaced in 1901 with native sandstone quarried from the State.
During the Civil War, Union forces passed through the town in search of goods and horses. A detachment of Wilson's Cavalry destroyed by fire the plantation belonging to the Helvingstons on the Military Ford, south of Toll Gate (Hamilton).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,786 people, 2,695 households, and 1,800 families residing in the city. The population density was 188.0 people per square mile (72.6/km²). There were 3,065 housing units at an average density of 84.9 per square mile (32.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.41% White, 7.59% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. 1.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,695 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% 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 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 106.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,489, and the median income for a family was $34,485. Males had a median income of $26,362 versus $18,681 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,505. About 12.0% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.7% of those under age 18 and 19.6% of those age 65 or over.
- Hamilton is home to a branch of North Mississippi Medical Center, the largest non-metropolitan hospital in the United States, which is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi. In 2005, the hospital underwent a $7.5 million expansion and renovation project, which added new admissions, business, radiology and rehabilitation facilities. The Hamilton campus is also home to a nursing home, home health agency, and wellness center.
- Hamilton is home to two industrial parks. The second industrial park, located in the Fulton Bridge area, is currently under construction.
Hamilton is a part of the Marion County School District. Hamilton Elementary School, Hamilton Middle School, and Hamilton High School serve the Hamilton area. Hamilton High School is currently a class 4A school. Hamilton also has a community college known as Bevil State Community College.
Hamilton High School is very competitive in its athletic teams.
The Hamilton Aggies have won state championships in: (7):
- Women's basketball (1) - 1990 (runner-up, 1991)
- Men's cross country (5) - 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
- Men's power lifting* (9) - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
*Power lifting championships are not awarded by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, and are hosted by Hamilton High School.
The Hamilton Aggie Football team is ranked eleventh in the state for overall wins (543-328-36), and has a winning percentage of 62.3%. The Aggies have had eleven region championship seasons, and seven undefeated regular seasons (in bold). Hamilton appeared in the 2010 3A State Championship Game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, where the Aggies fell to the Leeds Greenwave, 42-32.
- 1929 (7-0-1)
- 1930 (6-0-1)
- 1978 (10-1; Class 3A R15)
- 1982 (11-1; Class 3A R15)
- 1985 (10-2; Class 5A R16)
- 1990 (10-3; Class 5A R14)
- 1991 (9-2; Class 5A R14)
- 1994 (6-5; Class 4A R14)
- 1996 (9-2; Class 4A R15)
- 2008 (12-1; Class 3A R7)
- 2009 (11-2; Class 3A R7)
- 2010 (14-1; Class 3A R5; State Runner-Up)
- 2012 (10-1; Class 3A R7; First Round)
Hamilton is also home to two local television stations, WMTY TV 46, Cable Channel 5 and TV8-WATVC. WMTY, an evangelical ministry and Public-access television cable TV station, originated in Jasper, Alabama, but began broadcasting in Hamilton in 1995 on TV antenna digital channel 46, and is owned and operated by William E. "Pete" Nichols. TV8-WATVC does not broadcast a TV channel over the air. In 2009, WMTY made the switch from an analog signal to digital. WMTY-TV is the only TV station in northwest Alabama to feature a complete news program with Brian Davis who is a Degreed and Seal Certified Meteorologist. Chief Meteorologist Brian Davis has been with WMTY since early 2009 and worked at with WMTY's previous owners at UBN Network prior to coming to WMTY. Brian recently earned the honorable AMS and NWA Seals of Approval.
- Bookie Bolin, former NFL player
- Jerry Dolyn Brown, award winning folk artist
- Roger Brown, artist
- Clay Dyer, professional bass fisherman
- Lenny Fant, basketball coach at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, 1957–1979
- Rankin Fite, Alabama State Legislature (Senate & House of Representatives)
- Rex Frederick, first head coach of the University of South Alabama men's basketball team
- John Mark Karr, former claimant to be the murderer of JonBenét Ramsey
- John Dabney Terrell, Sr., planter and legislator
- Karen Wheaton, gospel music singer
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama, vol. 47, Clanton, Al. 2000, p. 275.
- Marion Herald April 5, 1887 pg 8
- John M. Allman III (ed.), An Abbreviated History of Marion County, Ala. - The Marion County Historical & Genealogical Societies, Alabama Tracks vol. XI #4 1992.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Angela McMillan Howell. Raised Up Down Yonder: Growing Up Black in Rural Alabama (University Press of Mississippi; 2013) 224 pages; an ethnographic study of high school students in Hamilton.