Hale County, Alabama

Hale County is located in west-central Alabama, in an area of the state known as the Black Belt. Once known for its fertile soil, the region still retains its agrarian roots, though catfish ponds have now largely replaced cotton fields.  The county was not officially established until 1867, though its history predates the state of Alabama. The county was formed from land on the east side of the Black Warrior River formerly belonging to Greene County. Land was also carved out of Marengo, Perry, and Tuscaloosa counties to form Hale County. The county’s namesake, Lt. Col. Stephen F. Hale, was a confederate officer who fell during a Civil War battle in Virginia.  

At present, Hale county includes four incorporated municipalities: Greensboro, Akron, Moundville and Newbern as well as a number of smaller communities. According to recent census figures, the population of Hale County is around 15,700. Of that number, around 2,500 live in Greensboro, the county seat, while Newbern, Rural Studio’s home base, has 186 residents.  

Hale County is best summarized by Historic Hale County’s Randall Curb: “We cannot here begin to list all the contributions Hale County has made to its state and nation in natural resources, agriculture, industry, politics and culture. Hale County is unquestionably “historic,” a word we often toss around vaguely, as if that said it all, but it is also uniquely valuable to Alabama and to America. And to those of us who live there, it is a place to be cherished.”

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