A glimpse of the history of Sylacauga, Alabama is like looking at the history of the United States through a microscope. “Alabama’s Best-Kept Secret” has a background as rich and varied as the nation it calls home.
Spanish explorers searching for gold in the 1500s were the area’s first non-native visitors. In the 1740s, a French trading post was constructed in the area. That outpost drew a group of Shawnee Indians from Ohio called the Chalaka, who graced the area with the name Chalakagay (meaning “place of the Chalaka tribe”), which evolved to Sylacauga.
In 1819, Alabama was admitted to the union as a state, and Sylacauga was incorporated as a city on January 31, 1838.
The construction of the Anniston and Atlantic railroads in 1886 helped the community develop into a crossroads of commerce, and precipitated one of its greatest periods of growth — the early 1900s.
The area’s population spiked again in the 1940s with the jobs created during the World War II-era, including construction of a $72 million explosive powder plant.
In the mid-1900s, noting the sporadic nature of past population surges, Sylacauga’s city planners developed initiatives to monitor future growth and for the past 50 years have been working hard to ensure that the city grows at a modest, regular pace.
Today, the city enjoys a population of approximately 13,500 citizens and a strong local culture, diversified and healthy business climate, safe neighborhoods and friendly residents — all fostered by Sylacauga’s unique history.