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Town History

Emelle is a small town in rural Sumter County, Alabama. The town is located at the intersection of Alabama highway 17 and county road 24 approximately 65 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa Alabama and 45 miles northeast of Meridian Mississippi. Emelle is located in the heart of the Black Belt region in western Alabama. The region is called the Black Belt because of its black soil and because it was the center of Alabama’s cotton plantation economy before the Civil War. Sumter County was the major population center in the state of Alabama in the late 19th century.

One tradition says the community was named after Emma and Ella Dial, daughters of a local landowner. Another says it was named for Emelle Dial, whose father provided land to the railroad. Emelle was established in 1912 with the completion of the AT&N Railroad.

 Joseph Dial donated the land for the right-of-way, provided the town would be named in honor his two daughters, Emma and Ella. The town was not incorporated until 1981.

 According to the 2000 Census, the population was 31; however, formal surveys and assessment by the Mayor and Town Council of Emelle document a population of 154. There are 57 residential homes, 4 businesses, 1 Post Office, 1 Volunteer Fire Station, 4 area churches and 1 City Hall. The Volunteer Fire department is responsible for fire protection in the town of Emelle and the surrounding community.

Over 900 people come from out of town to Emelle each year. The County Store, an antique store, serves as the hub of the community on weekends, attracting more than 50 customers to town each week. The Willingham Family Reunion and The JGR Family Reunion are yearly events that bring in the majority of out of town guest to the Town of Emelle. These events are looked forward to each spring/summer. These guests contribute to the financial well being of the town by the extra dollars spent.

The residents love their community and believe that they live longer in rural areas like Emelle; Emelle is often described as “one of a kind”.


  Copyright 2008 Emelle, Alabama as part of a Grant from University of West Alabama Division of Outreach Services. All Rights Reserved.