Main Street, Cordova in 1993
Location of Cordova in Walker County, Alabama.
|• Total||5.94 sq mi (15.38 km2)|
|• Land||5.83 sq mi (15.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)|
|Elevation||302 ft (92 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||2,014|
|• Density||345.63/sq mi (133.45/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0116626|
Cordova is a city in Walker County, Alabama, U.S., formerly a textile mill town 35 miles (56 km) from Birmingham, AL. It was incorporated in 1897. At the 2010 census the population was 2,095, down from 2,423 in 2000.
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 where he was stationed during the Mexican-American 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, after 1962. Over 800 workers lost jobs, the population declined, and industry slowed, while neighboring Jasper took a strong hold on the county seat as the largest city in the county.
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.
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 tornado in the afternoon near 5 pm. The afternoon tornado cut a 1⁄2-mile (4⁄5 km) swath through downtown. It destroyed the majority of the historic downtown district, including the city hall, police station, fire station, the old Tallulah Hotel, Piggly Wiggly grocer, People's Bank, and damaged the majority of the central business district beyond repair. The Long Memorial United Methodist Church was also heavily damaged, which had sheltered nearby residents in the basement during the tornado.
The city has completed the following recovery projects since the 2011 tornadoes; $1.5 million Piggly Wiggly grocery store, $3.7 million city hall & police station, $2.4 million sewer treatment plant, $1.5 million utility line replacement, and are currently completing a $250,000 fire-station remodel.
2012 Cordova rock burst
On November 19, 2012, Cordova was hit by a minor rock burst that had a body wave magnitude of 2.6. The Mercalli intensity was estimated at II–III (Weak) in Cordova. It was felt throughout Alabama and the Southern United States, up to 500 miles (800 km) from the epicenter. By comparison, a magnitude 3.6 event on the West Coast would not be felt 200 miles (320 km) from the epicenter.
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.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census 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.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,095 people, 842 households, and 665 families residing in the city. The population density was 355.1 people per square mile (136.9/km2). There were 1,023 housing units, at an average density of 173.4 per square mile (66.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.4% White, 14.5% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 842 households, out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 21.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,472, and the median income for a family was $39,185. Males had a median income of $40,868 versus $35,147 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,016. About 21.3% of families and 29.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 20.2% 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, who 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 reached State Championships in 1963 (unofficially), 1995, and 2007. The softball team won three State titles in 1994, 1995, and 1997. The marching band hit a steep decline until 2016, when under the direction of Sara Lipscomb. The band has received numerous awards for their playing. The school has received honors in cheer leading, volleyball, golf, band, and most recently track and field. The city is within 50 miles (80 km) of the University of Alabama, University of Alabama Birmingham, and within 100 miles (160 km) 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.
- Doyle Alexander, born in Cordova, major league baseball player
- 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. 
- "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 17, 2017.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "Left with tornado damage, Ala. town blaming FEMA". USAToday.com. Cordova, Ala. AP. 19 Nov 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "Cordova Tornado - April 27, 2011". weather.com. National Weather Service. June 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- Robin DeMonia, The Birmingham News (June 15, 2011). "Cordova, Alabama, tornado victim died after being turned away from church shelter, her son says". Blog.al.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- "M2.6 - 12km SW of Cordova Alabama". USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2015-08-13.
- Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) . The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8.
- Climate Summary for Cordova, Alabama