Shelby County, the geographic center of the state of Alabama, was created 7 Feb 1818 by an act of the Alabama Territorial General Assembly, before Alabama became statehood on 14 Dec 1819. The county was named for Isaac Shelby, a hero of the King's Mountain Battle during the Revolutionary War. Many of the first settlers came from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky; and returned to this region after the victorious Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. As indicated in the 1820 census records, Shelby County contained 2,492 people; 2,044 whites and 448 Negroes. Today, it is the fastest growing county in Alabama and among the fastest in the United States.
Siluria was once the old muster ground where the “Shelby County Volunteers” for the Indian War was organized in 1836. Early area settlers included Robert McClellan, 1805-1858, the oldest marked grave in the Elliottsville Cemetery, and Blassengame Nabors, 1787-1874, buried in the Siluria Cemetery now located on Winterhaven Cove in Alabaster.
William Benson operated the post office at Elliottsville from 1860-1867. In 1872, Thaddeus G. Holt served as Siluria’s first Postmaster. James M. Reynolds opened the Longview post office, including the Saginaw area, in September 1874. In 1951, Alabaster, formerly served by Siluria, acquired their first post office. The Postmistress was Mrs. Sara Lucas Reed, and the post office was located in her store on Main Street.
In 1896, Thomas C. Thompson organized and built on the banks of Buck Creek in Siluria a textile manufacturing plant. Soon thereafter, a village to house employees was built. In 1902, Siluria Cotton Mill Co. was incorporated; and in 1954, the Town of Siluria was incorporated, with a population of approxiamately 600. Siluria’s first mayor was Tollie E. Jones. In 1965, Buck Creek Industries, Inc. sold the village houses to the employees, and in 1971, the people of Siluria voted to merge with Alabaster. The assets of Buck Creek Industries, Inc. were liquidated in 1979, and they closed their doors permanently.
In 1925, located next door to Siluria, the “growth potential” of the community that later became known as Alabaster, was recognized by Joseph E. Walker. With pioneer courage he opened the first retail business here and started rendering free delivery service to his customers.
U.S. Highway 31, a two-lane highway at that time, was the main artery from Birmingham to Montgomery, and played an important part in the growth of the community. George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point, named for him, was known as “Scott Rock”. Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral".
Siluria’s local constable was William F. “Frank” Fallon. In the early days, before the police department was organized, Alabaster had a “night watchman.” Rev. Lawrence G. Nunnally, Sr. was Alabaster's Justice of the Peace.
The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster.
The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on 23 Feb 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. Other Alabaster pioneers were Kenton B. Nickerson and William J. Maxwell. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.
Construction on the new Shelby County Hospital at Alabaster began in July 1958. Shelby Memorial Hospital had its dedication on Sunday, 27 Sept 1959. The hospital was two stories in height, 313 feet long and 36 feet wide, with a 51 by 40 feet wing on the second story to the rear of the main building. Many people had a helping hand in “the beginning of Alabaster.” The Farris brothers [1Truitt A. 1O’Neal C. 1E. Carson 1W. Mack 1L.O.] contributed greatly in the early history and growth.
The present day City Hall was completed in 1960 and was the home of the Alabaster Public Library. In 1963, the Alabaster Lions Club was organized with 31 charter members. Robert D. Cardwell served as their first president. The Alabaster Shopping Center was built in 1964 and had “over 3 acres of paved free parking” and “13 stores to fill your every shopping need”.
Today, it’s still true! People come and find warm and caring neighborhoods and want to become part of the community.
By Bobby Joe Seales President of Shelby County Historical Society, Inc. and Lifetime Resident of Alabaster