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James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Edwardsville is located in central Cleburne County in the east-central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
Shoal Creek Church
The first settlers in the area now known as Edwardsville arrived around 1828 from South Carolina and Georgia; the community was first known as Fair Play after a post office was established there in 1847. By 1860, there were several mechanics, a blacksmith, a teacher, two ministers, and at least one individual selling liquor. The town became known as Edwardsville in 1866 for William Edwards, one of three landowners who donated land to establish a town that might serve as the county seat of the newly created Cleburne County in 1867. The post office also served as the county courthouse. Edwardsville soon attracted an influx of settlers and businesses prompted by people coming to town on county business. Sources differ as to when the town was incorporated, with some citing 1867 and others citing February 7, 1891.
The Edwardsville Methodist Seminary was established in 1896, and the school drew students from throughout the county and the state. The school later offered courses in reading, writing, arithmetic, Latin, logic, history, geography, nature studies, art and music. It was central to the Edwardsville community and provided various forms of entertainment, including plays and concerts. The seminary burned in 1921 and was not rebuilt.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Edwardsville boasted numerous and varied businesses, a cotton gin and grist mill, three saloons, a two-story hotel, a doctor and a dentist, and a connector line to the Southern Railway. In December 1905, Cleburne County held an election to decide if the county seat should be moved to Heflin. According to some local sources, Edwardsville won by about 80 votes, but county officials took the ballots from the county courthouse and then declared Heflin the winner. Edwardsville then began a slow decline from lost revenue. This decline was also attributed to the lack of industrialization in the community. The old Edwardsville county court house burned down in 1964.
Edwardsville's population according to the 2010 Census was 202. Of that number, 98.0 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 1.5 percent as two or more races, and 0.5 percent as African American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $34,896, and the per capita income was $20,630.
According to the 2010 Census, the workforce in Edwardsville is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (22.4 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (16.5 percent)
· Manufacturing (14.7 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (12.4 percent)
· Retail trade (10.6 percent)
· Public administration (7.1 percent)
· Wholesale trade (5.9 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (4.1 percent)
· Construction (2.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.4 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.2 percent)
Students in Edwardsville attend Cleburne County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 78/State Highway 4 runs the length of Edwardsville traveling northeast-southwest and connects to Interstate 20. The Norfolk Southern Corporation operates a rail line through the town.
Events and Places of Interest
Edwardsville is located just east of the Shoal Creek Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest, which offers numerous outdoor recreational activities, including camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, and swimming. The Edwardsville Cemetery (ca. 1837) is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Shoal Creek Church (ca. 1885), just north of Edwardsville, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Additional Resources
Cleburne County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Cleburne County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.
Stewart, Margaret Estelle. Alabama's Cleburne County: A History of Cleburne Country and Her People. Centre, Ala.: Stewart University Press, 1982.
Published:  August 22, 2016   |   Last updated:  November 28, 2016