Rich in heritage and loaded with small-town charm, Trussville was once merely a bedroom community of neighboring Birmingham. But over the past three decades, this thriving northeast Jefferson County municipality has come into its own. Rooted in old-fashioned values and its strong heritage of faith, Trussville is also a thoroughly modern city governed by leaders with an eye toward the future.
Hardy pioneer stock moving into Alabama during the early 1800s formed the basis for the Trussville of today. One of those pioneers was Warren Truss, who built a gristmill along the Cahaba River around 1825, and around that mill grew a farming community called “Truss.”
During the Civil War, many men from the area fought for the Confederacy, not so much in support of slavery as to protect their land. The 1865 destruction of a Confederate storehouse in present-day downtown Trussville was the town’s only significant brush with the Union army, so postwar recovery was rapid.
In the 1870s, railroads brought passenger, freight and mail service to Alabama, and industries followed. Among them was the Trussville Iron Furnace, located near the present-day Cahaba Project school site. At its peak, the ironworks produced 70,000 tons of pig iron annually and was a source of income and prosperity to individuals and associated businesses in the area. Production ceased not long after World War I due to a shortage of iron ore.
Like other parts of the country, Trussville experienced the hardships of the Great Depression, but the economic catastrophe held a silver lining for Trussville: it became the catalyst that moved the rural little town toward becoming the distinctive city it is today.
In the late 1930s, the U.S. Government funded and built a planned suburban community of 287 one- and two-story homes on and around the site of the old iron furnace. Initially dubbed “Slag Heap Village,” the project was later more pleasantly renamed “Cahaba Village” and ultimately became known locally as “The Cahaba Project.”
To this day, the area comprises the heart of Trussville and in 2006, was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Located within the neighborhood are parks, playgrounds, the Trussville Public Library, tennis courts and the city swimming pool.
The town of Trussville was incorporated in 1947. The following year, the U.S. government deeded all Cahaba Project park property to the town for the sum of $1 and began selling the area’s homes to the residents. The town bought The Project’s co-op store for use as a community center. The co-op building now houses the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce offices, the Arts Council of Trussville, Alabama (ACTA) Theater, and the city’s historical archives.
Shortly after the city was incorporated, Trussville constructed a natural gas system, and in December 1950, the Water Works and Gas Board of the Town of Trussville was established. Now known as Trussville Utilities, the system is run by a five-member board appointed by the city council.
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