Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Wall Street financier Franklin Delano, uncle of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was president of the railroad at the time. The railroad sponsored a school for African-American children of freedmen, and Luke was the teacher. Word spread in the area that Luke was teaching racial equality, and resentment developed against him in the northern Calhoun County area. The railroad was planning to use the graduates as a source of students for Talladega College who might then go on to work for the railroad. A racial fight at the Cross Plains station gave rise to arrests of certain freedmen, and then of Luke as well. Klansmen then seized the prisoners and murdered them. Congressional hearings followed, with strengthened civil rights laws, but the murderers were never properly punished.
On July 30, 1888, the Postal Department renamed the office Piedmont, which means "Foot of the Mountains".
An F4 tornado struck the community on Palm Sunday 1994, killing twenty people at Goshen United Methodist Church including Reverend Kelly Clem's four-year-old daughter, Hannah. It destroyed two other area churches mid-service as well as many homes in the town and neighboring communities.
Piedmont is located at 33°55′34″N 85°36′47″W According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.9 square miles (25.6 km2), of which 9.8 square miles (25.4 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.67%, is water.
The Piedmont City Schools athletic teams are known as the Bulldogs. Piedmont High School is a member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association and participates in Class 3A Football, Basketball, Baseball, Wrestling (1A-4A), Golf (Boys 3A, Girls 1A-5A), Volleyball, and Track. They also have a band: the Piedmont Blue Knights Marching Band, class 2A.
On February 6, 2009, under Head Coach Harley Lamey, the Piedmont High School wrestling team won the first state championship in school history in any sport. At the AHSAA 1A-4A State Wrestling Championship, the bulldogs had two individual champions, two runners-up, and nine wrestlers who placed. The Bulldogs were 14-0 in dual meets.
On December 3, 2009, at Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Head Coach Steve Smith led Piedmont to a 35-28 overtime win over the Cordova Blue Devils in the AHSAA 3A State Championship Game. Luke Smith tied state record for most tackles in 3A state championship game (according to the AHSAA 15) and recovered Ryan Smith's fumble to secure the Bulldogs' win. Christian Cantrell was responsible for four of the Bulldogs' touchdowns and one two-point conversion totalling 26 points, but Chase Childers' performance as QB named him the MVP of the Championship Game. The team finished with a 13-2 record.
On December 3, 2015, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Head Coach Steve Smith led Piedmont to a 44-7 win over Bayside Academy in the AHSAA 3A State Championship Game. Taylor Hayes and Darnell Jackson combined for 124 yards on 18 carries and four touchdowns. The victory gave Piedmont (14-1) its second football state title in school history – exactly six years after Bulldogs won their first, concluding the 2009 season. Also, Piedmont’s run to the title included a school record for wins in a season (14) and points scored (572). On May 4, 2013, Head Coach Mark Mitchell led the Piedmont High School Boys Track and Field Team to the 2013 AHSAA 3A Track & Field State Championship in Selma. The Bulldogs scored 81 points to outpace runner-up Trinity Presbyterian, which scored 74. This was Coach Mitchell's seventh consecutive state championship (six previous at 1A Cedar Bluff).
Piedmont is home to the Chief Ladiga Trail. The Seaboard/CSX Railroad was converted into a recreational bike and walking trail as a non-motorized way to travel, exercise, and relax while enjoying the outdoors. The Chief Ladiga Trail and the Silver Comet Trail stretch nearly 100 miles (161 km) from Anniston to Atlanta, making it the second longest paved trail in the United States(longest being the Paul Bunyan in Minnesota).
Hundreds of cyclists from more than 20 states participate in the Cheaha Challenge every year. The "Toughest Ride in the South" is a recreational bicycle ride that has been moved to Anniston, AL from Piedmont's Civic Center. The ride follows the Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway then ends at the top of Cheaha Mountain, Alabama's highest point. The Cheaha Challenge was selected as a Top 10 Event in the State of Alabama by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel.
NewspaperThe Piedmont Journal - Weekly, locally owned newspaper
TelevisionWJXS TV 24 - Local news, sports and programming
AM RadioWPID 1280 AM
FM RadioWJCK 88.3 FM (Christian)
WCKA Alabama 810 AM 94.3 and 97.1 FM Broadcasts Piedmont High School Football Games
As of the census of 2010, there were 4,878 people, 2,053 households, and 1,351 families residing in the city. The population density was 497 people per square mile (191.9/km²). There were 2,404 housing units at an average density of 242.8 per square mile (93.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.0% White, 10.0% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.
There were 2,053 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.0% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.5 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,589, and the median income for a family was $39,417. Males had a median income of $36,332 versus $28,355 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,573. About 21.1% of families and 24.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.0% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Piedmont City School District consists of three schools: Piedmont Elementary School, Piedmont Middle School, and Piedmont High School. The Piedmont athletic teams are known as the Bulldogs and the marching band is known as The Piedmont Blue Knights. Piedmont High School competes in the Alabama High School Athletic Association in Class 3A.CVG formerly Bostrom, manufacturer of truck seats for heavy-duty trucks such as Freightliner and Mack Trucks.
Garcy, manufacturer of display showcases for retailers such as Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Bennett Lumber Company LLC, remanufacturing of lumber which includes planing, resawing, and other specifications to order. In operation since 1945.
Willie Dee Bowles, educator and historian
Rick Bragg, writer, 1996 Pulitzer Prize winner
Desmond Doss, first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor
William E. Harbour, civil rights activist
Kenneth A. Roberts, U.S. Representative from 1951 to 1965