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Winfield

Robert Couch, Auburn, AlabamaJames P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Winfield is located in northwest Alabama in Marion County. It has a mayor/council form of government. Johnny Micheal Spann, a former Marine and CIA operative who was the first American killed in the Afghanistan War, is a native of Winfield.
History
R. W. Harris Store
Originally called Luxapallila, the Winfield area has been inhabited by settlers of European descent since the 1830s. Early settlers had to travel to Columbus, Mississippi, some 60 miles west, to buy supplies such as flour and sugar, a trip that could consume a week. The Kansas City, Memphis, and Birmingham railroad came through the town in 1887; in that same year, the first post office was established, and residents selected Needmore as the official town name. That name had already been used in the state, however, so the residents submitted three other possible names to William A. Musgrove, a prominent local landowner. He selected the name Winfield in honor of Gen. Winfield Scott, the longest-serving general in the U.S. Army.
Pastime Theater
The town was incorporated in either 1887 or 1891; sources differ as to the exact date. Early businesses in the area included several stores, a saloon, a boarding house, a tanning yard, and a shoe factory. The R. W. Harris Store, established in 1895, still operates in the town. The first bank, Winfield State Bank, was opened in 1907. Electrical service in the town was established in 1924 by Alabama Power Company, and the first water works was established in 1928; the facility was purchased by the city in 1946. Alabama Mills, a cotton mill, opened in 1929 and remained a mainstay of the local economy for several decades. The town had a local airfield by 1933 and a phone system by 1941.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Winfield recorded a population of 4,448. Of that number, 94.2 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 5.1 percent as African American, 1.2 percent as Hispanic, and 0.4 percent as Asian. The town's median household income was $36,691, and the per capita income was $25,666.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Winfield was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (29.8 percent)
  • Manufacturing (15.0 percent)
  • Retail trade (14.3 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (6.6 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (6.1 percent)
  • Construction (5.3 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (5.2 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.1 percent)
  • Public administration (4.0 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (3.7 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (3.6 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (1.4 percent)
Education
Schools in Winfield are part of the Winfield City School District; the city has one elementary, one middle, and one high school.
Transportation
Winfield is intersected by U.S. Highway 43/State Highway 171, which runs northwest-south, State Highway 253, which runs north from the city, and State Highway 118, which runs east from the city. Bird Nest Airport, with one runway, is located approximately five miles south of Winfield.
Events and Places of Interest
Mule Day
Since 1975, Winfield has hosted the annual Mule Day celebration on the last weekend in September, honoring of the role that the mule has played in Alabama history. The event features a parade of mules, a mule competition, arts and crafts, a flea market, antique tractors and automobiles, a Mule Day Run/Walk, food, and live music. As many as 25,000 people attend the celebration. The city also holds an annual Christmas Parade on the first Monday in December.
The Pastime Theatre, located in downtown Winfield, is a restored art-deco building built in 1937 that now is run by the city and hosts a variety of concerts, movies, and other shows. Winfield has a 60-acre municipal park, which has baseball, softball, and soccer venues, a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, picnic areas and pavilions, a driving range, a Frisbee golf course, a community center, and a nature trail. Bankhead National Forest, the Sipsey Wilderness, and Smith Lake are within short driving distance of Winfield. The Thunder Valley Speedway also is located just south of Winfield.

Additional Resources

The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.
"Winfield's History from First Beginnings Throughout the Years." Marion County Journal Record. 1 July 1976, B.6.
Published:  May 8, 2011   |   Last updated:  February 2, 2021