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History

In the early 1700s, the area encompassing current-day Wetumpka was known as the heart of the Upper Creek lands. Once settled in the area in 1711, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville sought to establish a fort within New France in order to seize the invading of the British, as well as to encourage and support the trade and cooperation of local Native Americans. Fort Toulouse, named in recognition of a French count, was built in 1714 and remained in use under French control until 1763 after financial issues forced them from the area. The land remained under British control until 1798, then becoming a part of the U.S. Territory of Mississippi until 1812.

It was not until 1817 that Wetumpka was established within the Alabama Territory, and in 1818, counties formed, placing western Wetumpka in Autauga County and eastern Wetumpka in Coosa County. The eastern portion of the town was incorporated on January 17, 1834, shortly followed by the west's incorporation on February 18th. The town's population increased to 1,200 in the following two years and in 1839, the two separated halves of Wetumpka were incorporated together. In the same year, the State Penitentiary was selected for construction in Wetumpka, with the facility's completion in 1841.

The city began to thrive, until the advent of the Civil War, which left Wetumpka, along with most of the South, in devastation. Once the war had ended, residents of Wetumpka took on the arduous task to reconstruct the once progressive town.

When Elmore County was established in 1886, Wetumpka was chosen as the site for the county courthouse and by the early 1900s, the town began to prosper once again as new businesses began opening shop along its streets. In 1897 the Fifth District Agricultural School, later to be known as Wetumpka High School, opened; a new jail was established in the early 1900s; electrical power and public water, along with a new depot of the L&N Railroad, reached the area in 1906; cement sidewalks were used in 1911 along the main streets; and, in 1913, the popular Fain Theater opened.

The community continued to progress through both World Wars, constantly improving the foundation of the city. Now, Wetumpka is located within the third fastest growing county in the state and hails as the economic hub of Elmore County.

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