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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thomasville, AL

Thomasville is a city in Clarke County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 4,649. It is notable as the childhood hometown of author and storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham, who refers to it often in her storytelling.

Downtown Thomasville in 2008.

Nickname(s): The City of Roses


Thomasville was founded in 1888 and has its roots in the nearby town of Choctaw Corner. Choctaw Corner, dating back to the 1850s, was a settlement west of what would become Thomasville, but when the merchants there learned that a railroad was going to bypass their town to the east, they decided to move their stores to be near the railroad. The tracks between Mobile and Selma were completed the same year that Thomasville began. The town was named after a railroad financier and former Union Civil War general, Samuel Thomas, who donated $500 for the construction of Thomasville's first school. The town had expanded by the end of the 19th century with numerous stores, several hotels and boarding houses, and a depot station. In 1899, what is now downtown was destroyed by a fire that burned several blocks of the wood frame buildings. Thomasville quickly rebuilt, this time in brick, and was once again flourishing by the start of World War I.

Over the next century, Thomasville continued to grow and expand. Over the years, many businesses came and others left. These included garment factories, sawmills, and cotton gins. The railroad discontinued its use of the town's depot by the 1950s, but that time also saw the opening of Thomasville's FPS-35 radar base, part of the Air Defense Command's Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, bringing in servicemen and their families. The prototype for the FPS-35 radar was developed at the Thomasville Aircraft Control and Warning Station. The 1950s also saw the planting of roses along Highway 43, the main highway through Thomasville, earning it the nickname of The City of Roses. The 1960s and 1970s saw the opening of numerous paper mills in the area, an industry that continues to be important to the economy of Thomasville today. This time also saw businesses begin to relocate from downtown to the main highway. The Thomasville Historic District was designated in 1999 by the National Register of Historic Places.

The Champion House on West Front Street.


Thomasville is located at coordinates 31°55′15″N 87°44′24″W / 31.92084°N 87.74008°W / 31.92084; -87.74008Coordinates: 31°55′15″N 87°44′24″W / 31.92084°N 87.74008°W / 31.92084; -87.74008. It is the northernmost incorporated settlement in Clarke County and is situated on an elevated area between the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers. The elevation is 381 feet (116 m). The terrain is gently rolling hills, covered primarily in pine forest. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.8 square miles (22.7 km²), all of it land.

Thomasville before the fire of 1899, looking west up Wilson Avenue.


Downtown Thomasville in 2008, looking west up Wilson Avenue.

The economy of Thomasville is largely based on retail trade and the service sector, with the city serving as a regional commercial hub. Its trade area is much larger than is indicated by its small population.

In 2000, the U.S, Census Bureau recorded that 58.5% of the population was in the work force with 20.6% of families and 23.5% of the population living below the poverty line, including 31.9% of those under age 18 and 25.2% of those age 65 or over. The median income for a household in the city was $26,549, and the median income for a family was $32,476. Males had a median income of $32,212 versus $21,319 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,916.


Thomasville has its own public school system, the Thomasville City School System, that includes Thomasville Elementary with an enrollment of 676 students, Thomasville Middle with 535, and Thomasville High with 448. Thomasville City Schools meet 100%of Alabama's accountability goals in all three schools.

Thomasville is also home to Alabama Southern Community College. Alabama Southern is a state-supported, fully accredited, comprehensive two-year college serving southwest Alabama with its main campuses in Monroeville and Thomasville.


Thomasville has one acute care hospital, Southwest Alabama Medical Center, with 50 licensed beds. Southwest Alabama Medical Center has plans for a new hospital facility near Thomasville's South Industrial Park, the first new rural hospital in Alabama in 30 years. The new facility is projected to cost $35 million and would employ 200 people. Thomasville Nursing Home is a 70 bed long-term care facility located on Moseley Drive.

Museums and libraries

The Thomasville campus of Alabama Southern Community College is home to the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum. The Thomasville Public Library has an annual operating budget of $88,761 and has a collection of 15,206 books, 455 audio materials, 418 video materials, and 33 serial subscriptions.

Click Here For The City Of Thomasville Website