Thorsby, Alabama

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"Thorsby" redirects here. For the village in Alberta, Canada, see Thorsby, Alberta.
Thorsby, Alabama
Town
Official seal of Thorsby, Alabama
Seal
Nickname(s): Little Swede Town, The Peach Basket
Location in Chilton County and the state of Alabama
Location in Chilton County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 32°55′1″N 86°42′57″W / 32.91694°N 86.71583°W / 32.91694; -86.71583
Country United States
State Alabama
County Chilton
Government
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Jean Nelson
Area
 • Total 5.14 sq mi (13.31 km2)
 • Land 5.13 sq mi (13.29 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 696 ft (212 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,980
 • Density 386/sq mi (149.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 35171
Area code(s) 205
FIPS code 01-76080
GNIS feature ID 0153689
Website www.townofthorsby.com

Thorsby is a town in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 1,980.[1] The town mayor is Jean Nelson.

Geography[edit]

Thorsby is located north of the center of Chilton County at 32°55'1.171" North, 86°42'57.442" West (32.916992, -86.715956).[2]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13.3 km2), of which 0.012 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.19%, is water.[1]

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 1,820 people, 714 households, and 527 families residing in the town. The population density was 355.5 people per square mile (137.2/km²). There were 780 housing units at an average density of 152.4/sq mi (58.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.98% White, 6.04% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 0.22% from two or more races. 2.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 714 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.7% are married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the town the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 100.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $36,635, and the median income for a family was $46,328. Males had a median income of $31,667 versus $23,810 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,956. 9.4% of the population and 5.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 14.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Climate[edit]

Thorsby has a Humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and abundant rainfall, as most Alabama receives over 50 inches (1,300 mm) of rain annually. The spring and summer are moderately rainy, with frequent strong to severe thunderstorms. The fall and winter months are cold and cloudy. The town is almost always under cloud cover from November to March. January sees average daily high temperatures of 53.0 °F (11.7 °C) and lows of 31.8 °F (−0.1 °C). In July the average daily high is 90.6 °F (32.6 °C) and the low is 69.7 °F (20.9 °C). The average annual temperature in Thorsby is 62 °F (17 °C). In late winter, normally from January through February, Thorsby normally acquires small amounts of snow accumulation. Annual snowfall averages only 1.9 inches (48 mm), but during the Great Blizzard of 1993, the town received over 1 foot (0.30 m) of snow, with drifts almost 3 feet (0.91 m), and on February 28 - March 1, 2009, the town accumulated almost 6 inches (150 mm) of snow. The average yearly rainfall in Thorsby is about 59 inches (1,500 mm), with March being the wettest month and October the driest.

The spring and fall months are pleasant but variable as cold fronts frequently bring strong to severe thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes to the region. The fall season features more rainfall and fewer storms, as well as lower humidity than the spring, but it is also a secondary severe weather season. Thorsby is located on the heart of a tornado alley known as the Dixie Alley due to the frequency of tornadoes in Central Alabama. In late summer and fall months, Thorsby experiences occasional tropical storms and hurricanes due to its proximity to the Central Gulf Coast.

History[edit]

Thorsby's town sign displaying the local high school's mascot, the Rebel Man

Thorsby is a small Central Alabama town located in Chilton County. Thorsby was first settled in 1895 and incorporated in 1901 by Scandinavian immigrants who had originally settled in the midwestern United States, but who were seeking a milder climate and fertile soil for growing food. One of those earliest settlers was Theodore T. Thorson, for whom the town was eventually named (the suffix "by" meaning "town" in Swedish). The town grew quickly, with two hotels, a sawmill and lumber company, and two wineries being built within the first couple of years. The town of Thorsby was declared a promised land for northerners looking to relocate to a warmer climate, suitable for farming and better health. The fertile soil of the South produced grapes in large numbers, along with other fruits such as strawberries, and the peaches for which Chilton County is famous. The founders formed the Concordia Land and Improvement Association and began advertising in New England newspapers about the "utopia" they had discovered in the Southeastern United States. Many traveled by railroad to purchase a tract of land and start a better life. Thorsby became affectionately known as the little "Swede town" by locals.

Today, many of the descendants of those original Scandinavian settlers still call Thorsby home. While agriculture still plays a vital role in the town's economy, the town of Thorsby is also home to businesses, manufacturers, and industry. There are restaurants, shops, and many small businesses. Thorsby has a well-maintained and heavily used park system, some including athletic fields. Thorsby is located almost exactly between the downtown areas of Birmingham and Montgomery, with either destination being approximately 45 miles (72 km) from the center of town. This location makes Thorsby a prime candidate for new residential, commercial and industrial development.

Each autumn, the town of Thorsby celebrates its heritage with the Annual Swedish Festival that includes an arts and crafts fair, a pageant, music, car and motorcycle shows and food native to the American South. The town maintains a museum in the old Norwegian Lutheran Church, now called "Helen Jenkins Chapel". A Scandinavian Cemetery is available for visits any time. The Thorsby Town Council consists of Neil Benson, Nicole Hilyer, Randall Higgins, Marvin Crumpton, and Glenn Littleton. The town operates its own police and fire departments, as well as departments of building inspection, law, parks and recreation, and the Thorsby Water Works. The Chilton County School System operates the K-12 Thorsby School in the town.[4]

Thorsby High School[edit]

Thorsby High School's official mascot, the Thorsby Rebel

Thorsby High School is a 3-A, K-12 educational institution. It has been a public school since 1957. The school originated as Thorsby Institute shortly after the town was founded in the early 1900s. Thorsby Institute was founded as a private school and was turned over to the Chilton County Board of Education to become a part of the public school system. Thorsby Institute provided a quality education for many years to local and out of state students. Thorsby School continues to provide a good education in the public school system.

Thorsby is known for their rich baseball history. The Rebels have made the playoffs for the last 14 years in a row though never yet earning a berth in the title game. As of 2012 the Rebels' farthest playoff run has been to the semi-finals in a loss to Leroy High School. The head coach is Ab Argent (203-56 in seven years as head coach). The community looks forward to baseball season almost more than the Swedish Fest. There is an old school house in central Thorsby, which was in use until the mid-1970s.

Thorsby High School, spring of 2009

Based on its state test results, Thorsby High School has received a Great Schools Rating of 3 out of 10. The school has an average Parent Rating of 4 out of 5 stars, based on reviews from 29 parents. 834 students attended Thorsby High School in the 2006-2007 school year. During the 2006-07 school year there were 51 teachers on staff, giving Thorsby High School a student-teacher ratio of 16.5. There were 54 kindergartners, 66 first graders, 61 second graders, 59 third graders, 65 fourth graders, 69 fifth graders, 74 sixth graders, 74 seventh graders, 69 eighth graders, 70 freshmen, 53 sophomores, 63 juniors, and 57 seniors during that year. Currently,[when?] there are 388 (45%) of students enrolled that are eligible for discounted/free lunch. The school mascot is the Thorsby Rebel, and the colors are maroon and white. The high school's principal is Russ Bryan, and the vice principals are Tim Fortner and Roger Sheffield.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°55′01″N 86°42′57″W / 32.916992°N 86.715956°W / 32.916992; -86.715956