Florence, Alabama

Florence, Alabama

Downtown Florence Historic District
Nickname(s): "Alabama's Renaissance City"

Location in Lauderdale County and the state of Alabama
Coordinates: 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.82028°N 87.66278°W / 34.82028; -87.66278Coordinates: 34°49′13″N 87°39′46″W / 34.82028°N 87.66278°W / 34.82028; -87.66278
Country United States
State Alabama
County Lauderdale
Incorporated January 7, 1826[1]
  Type Mayor/Council (Since 1984)
  Mayor Steve Holt
  City 25 sq mi (64.8 km2)
  Land 24.9 sq mi (64.6 km2)
  Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 548 ft (167 m)
Population (2013)[2]
  City 40,059
  Density 1,450.6/sq mi (566.68/km2)
  Metro 147,317 (US: 281st)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 35630-35634
Area code(s) 256, 938
FIPS code 01-26896
GNIS feature ID 0118442
Website www.florenceal.org

Florence is a city in and the county seat of Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States, in the state's northwest corner.

According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 39,319.

Florence is the largest and principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals" (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered northwestern Alabama's primary economic hub.

Annual tourism events include the W.C. Handy Music Festival in the summer and the Renaissance Faire in the fall. Landmarks in Florence include the Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in Alabama.

The type of municipal government is mayor-council.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florence has a total area of 25.0 square miles (65 km2), of which 24.9 square miles (64 km2) is land, and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.40%) is water. Florence is located on Wilson Lake and Pickwick Lake, bodies of water on the Tennessee River dammed by Pickwick Dam and Wilson Dams. Pickwick Lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of several alphabet agencies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Wilson Dam (currently operated by the TVA) was authorized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 and was the first dam constructed on the Tennessee River.


Florence was surveyed for the Cypress Land Company in 1818 by Italian surveyor Ferdinand Sannoner, who named it after Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy.5[3] Florence, Alabama was incorporated in 1826.[4]

RegionalCare Hospital dispute

Florence is also home to a long-running dispute between RegionalCare Hospital Partners and the City of Florence on one side and Helen Keller Hospital and the RetEd Animal Shelter on the other. The city and RegionalCare are seeking to build a 280-bed hospital in a depressed area of East Florence. Helen Keller Hospital officials opposed building a new hospital and delayed the project for several years before the project was finally approved by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in July 2015. RegionalCare has acquired, and demolished, all the properties in a 25-acre area of East Florence with the exception of the RetEd Animal Shelter, which still opposes construction.[5][6]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201540,026[7]1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2013 Estimate[9]


Whereas according to the 2010 census Bureau:


As of the census of 2000, there were 36,264 people, 15,820 households, and 9,555 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,454.6 people per square mile (561.6/km²). There were 17,707 housing units at an average density of 710.2 per square mile (274.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.39% White, 19.20% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 1.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 15,820 households, out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them: 43.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. Nearly 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20, and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 13.7% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 84.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,330, and the median income for a family was $40,577. Males had a median income of $34,398 versus $21,385 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,464. About 14.4% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.


Harrison Plaza, University of North Alabama

Situated in Florence, and founded in 1830 as LaGrange College, the University of North Alabama, a public, co-educational, higher education institution, is Alabama's oldest state-certified university. The University is the largest in north Alabama, with an enrollment topping 7,000 for the first time in 2007. international students now comprise roughly 10% of the student population. The university is situated on 130 acres (53 ha) and surrounded by historic neighborhoods. It is located just north of the downtown business district.

Florence City Schools is the organization of the K–12 public school system. Florence High School (grades 10-12) is the main high school, with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students. It was created by a merger between the previous two city high schools, Bradshaw High School and Coffee High School. Florence High is located at the former Bradshaw site in the eastern part of the city. The merger also led to the creation of Florence Middle School (grades 7-8) and the Florence Freshman Center (grade 9). The middle school is located at the former Coffee High campus, east of downtown, and the Florence Freshman Center is located at the Florence High School campus.

There are four private schools in Florence: St. Joseph Regional Catholic School for grades K–8, and Mars Hill Bible School, Shoals Christian School, and Florence Christian Academy, which are multi-denominational, K–12 schools.


The city has a mayor-council form of government. Council members are elected from six single-member districts, and the mayor is elected separately.


Steve Holt was elected as the mayor of Florence on October 4, 2016. He was officially sworn in as mayor on November 2, 2016. He defeated incumbent mayor Mickey Haddock in a municipal runoff. Steve Holt is the former 20 year president of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.

City Council

Culture and events

The City of Florence is home to several museums, historical sites and numerous parks to serve the cultural and recreational needs of citizens and tourists. A variety of festivals also occur throughout the year.



The festivals are listed in order by month that the event falls on the calendar.

Other attractions



Aerial view of Florence

Other recreation


O'Neal Bridge over the Tennessee River

Florence is the merger point for two major U.S. Highways, as well as several Alabama Highways. Both U.S. Highway 43 and U.S. Highway 72 merge just east of the city limits in Killen, and are co-signed their entire length through the city. Highway 43, running north and south, helps connect the city to Lawrenceburg and Columbia to the north in Tennessee, as well as Tuscaloosa and Mobile to the south. Highway 72 helps connect the city to Huntsville and Chattanooga, Tennessee to the east and Memphis, Tennessee to the west. Interstate 65 is accessible about forty-five minutes east on Highway 72. Both of these roads cross the Tennessee River on O'Neal Bridge, connecting Florence to Sheffield.

Alabama state highways that serve the city include Alabama 13, Alabama 17, Alabama 20, Alabama 133, and Alabama 157. Alabama 133 connected Florence and Muscle Shoals via Wilson Dam until 2002, when the new six-lane "Patton Island Bridge" (the unofficial, but locally accepted name) finished construction. The bridge is part of a new corridor that will eventually see the widening of Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals to Alabama 20, and the construction of a new road from the bridge to Florence Blvd. in Florence. Alabama 157 is also an important road to Florence and the Shoals area, serving as a four-lane link to Interstate 65 in Cullman. After many years of political campaigning by local leaders to have the four-laning of the road completed, the project wrapped up in the summer of 2007. The road is known as the "University of North Alabama Highway".

Florence and the Shoals area does not have a direct link to an Interstate highway at the present time. One solution discussed over the years has been the "Memphis to Atlanta Highway", proposed to connect the two cities via a freeway through north Alabama. However, in recent years Mississippi has concentrated its funding on U.S. 78 (future Interstate 22), also known as "Corridor X". Though U.S. 72 through Mississippi is four lanes, there are no plans to upgrade it to freeway status. Meanwhile, the state of Georgia has also not committed to the necessary work to connect the freeway from the Alabama state line to Atlanta. The highway remains in the planning stages with the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Another plan recently discussed is extending Interstate 565 west from its current terminus just outside Decatur, perhaps along Alabama 20/Alternate U.S. 72. The plan has received some support from Decatur officials, some of whom would like to see the Interstate eventually extend west of Decatur and at least into Lawrence County.

For air transportation, Florence is served by the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals. The airport is now solely used for general aviation, since daily flights to Atlanta ceased in early 2014. Huntsville International Airport, offering service to eleven domestic destinations, is about an hour′s drive from Florence.

Local industry is also served by the Tennessee Southern Railroad (TSRR), which runs from Florence to Columbia, Tennessee, and the Port of Florence on Pickwick Lake.


The TimesDaily is a daily newspaper published in Florence that serves the greater Florence area, and which is owned by the Tennessee Valley Printing Company, who purchased the newspaper and associated media from The New York Times Company in March, 2009.[15]

The Quad-Cities Daily is a "Newspaper of the Internet". It looks like a newspaper, it reads like a newspaper. It carries stories and features of general interest, as well a "hard news". The Quad-Cities Daily differentiates from "blogs" in that it refrains from carrying gossip, publishing editorials, or carrying salacious stories. Partnered with the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, the Quad-Cities Daily publishes Chamber Ribbon Cuttings, and Chamber events. The site is known for publishing EVENT PHOTOGRAPHS. The coverage area is bounded by Fort Payne, Al to the East; Tupelo, MS on the West; Jackson, TN on the North; and Jasper, AL on the South. In the four-plus years of publication, the Quad-Cities Daily has garnered almost 9-million page views.

Pen-N-Sword is an online magazine published daily since 2010. The magazine publishes news of local interest, specializing in crime stories that offer readers deeper insights into local crime events and their resulting legal outcomes. PNS covers Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence, and Limestone Counties in Alabama, as well as Lawrence County in Tennessee. It also sporadically publishes a blog on Shoals history taken from articles which first appeared in the magazine. Since its inception, the online magazine has accrued over five million page hits.

Shoals News is an online "newspaper" publishing stories of political import and obituaries. It is connected to WSHF radio station in Sheffield.

The Shoals Insider is a local news website. It is much like a newspaper, but doesn't print on paper. Local arrest records, foreclosures, divorces and other public documents are published daily, as well as news articles.

The Courier-Journal is a locally owned and distributed weekly publication serving the greater Florence area.

No'Ala is a locally owned Shoals area lifestyle magazine published six times annually.

SET Magazine is a publication of Listerhill Credit Union. It is a youth-initiative magazine, published monthly, written by young people for young people.

There are numerous radio, television and low-power FM radio stations and translators that serve Florence and the greater area, all which are in the greater Florence MSA.

Among them are:

AM Radio

  1. WSBM (1340 AM; 1 kW; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  2. WBCF (1240 AM; 1 kW; Florence, AL; Owner: Benny Carle Broadcasting, INC.)

FM Radio

  1. W280DA (103.9 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: BIBLE BROADCASTING NETWORK, INC.)
  2. WQLT-FM (107.3 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  3. W258AE (99.5 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: WAY-FM MEDIA GROUP, INC.)
  4. WFIX (91.3 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: TRI-STATE INSPIRATIONAL B/C CORP.)
  5. WXFL (96.1 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  6. W253AH (98.5 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: Big River Broadcasting Corporation)
  7. W276AM (103.1 FM; Florence, ETC., AL; Owner: J AND J BROADCASTING)
  8. W225AB (92.9 FM; Florence, AL; Owner: WILLIAM P. ROGERS)

Television and Low-Power Television

  1. WXFL-LD (Channel 5; Florence, ETC., AL; Owner: Benny Carle Broadcasting, INC.)
  2. WBCF-LP (Channel 3; Florence, AL; Owner: Benny Carle Broadcasting, INC.)
  3. WHDF (Channel 15; Florence, AL; Owner: VALLEY TELEVISION, LLC)

Past television stations


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Florence has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[16]

The average temperature of Florence is 59 F (15 C). The average yearly precipitation in Florence is 57.06 in (144.9 cm).[16] On average, Florence gets 2.25 in (5.7 cm) of snow per year, which is above the average for Alabama of 0.57 in (1.44 cm).[17]

While Florence is almost 300 miles (480 km) from the Gulf of Mexico, strong hurricanes have brought severe weather to the area. For example, in 2005, the path of Hurricane Katrina came very close to the city, causing nearly 70 mph (112 kph) winds and some storm damage.

Notable people


  1. Act 95. "AN ACT to incorporate the town of Florence in the state of Alabama." Acts Passed at the Seventh Annual Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama. 1825. Pages 70-73.
  2. "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  3. Knight, Ben (Nov 19, 1975). "A look at early Florence, Sheffield". Times Daily. p. 4. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  4. "Early history". Times Daily. Apr 30, 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  5. "Hospital signs contracts for land purchases.". Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  6. "City readying for hospital construction.". Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  9. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  10. https://www.billyreid.com/journal/billy-reids-florence
  11. "Cox Creek Complex". City of Florence, Alabama. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  12. Veterans Memorial Park Course. Professional Disc Golf Association. Accessed 2012-03-12.
  13. "Woodrow Wilson Park 1818". The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  14. "Florence Harbor Marina". Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  15. "NYT Sells Times Daily." TimesDaily. Wednesday, March 25, 2009. http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090325/ARTICLES/903255029
  16. 1 2 Climate Summary for Florence, Alabama
  17. http://www.usa.com/florence-al-weather.htm#HistoricalSnow
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Florence, Alabama.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/23/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.