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Fairfield is a suburb of Birmingham, Alabamamarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 12,381 at the 2000 census. As of 2006, the Census estimates the population to be 11,547.

History

This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U. S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U. S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel similar to its northern city of Ensleymarker.

Geography

Fairfield is located at .

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7/sq mi (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,600 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 28.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 79.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,845, and the median income for a family was $38,552. Males had a median income of $30,833 versus $25,143 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,607. About 16.5% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.7% of those under age 18 and 25.3% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Fairfield has its own school system, independent from Jefferson County. The system includes three elementary schools, Forest Hills Middle School, Fairfield High Preparatory School (formerly Fairfield High School), and an alternative all-grades school.

The city is also home to Miles College, a historically black college operated by the CME Church. The school was founded in 1905.

Industry and business

Though the United Statesmarker steel making industry has gone through a decline through the last half of the 20th Century, U.S. Steel's Fairfield Works continues to be a major employer, though not in the levels seen around the 1950s. Advances in steelmaking technology have enabled the works to produce roughly the same amount of product as during that era, bt with a much smaller workforce.

Portions of the Works have been closed over the years, but many parts of the complex have been reopened by smaller industries, some of which are steel-related.

Fairfield is traversed by I-20/I-59. Three railroads serve the area: CSX Transportation (former Louisville and Nashville Railroad), Norfolk Southern Railway (former Southern Railway), and short-line Birmingham Southern Railroad, which is headquartered in Fairfield.

The city's downtown area features a number of small businesses, primarily service-related. Other retail businesses are concentrated along Aronov Drive, northwest of Western Hills Mall, though those strip malls have declined due to closures of Kmart and Winn-Dixie locations. Sears operates a stand-alone store in this area.

Western Hills Mall

The city's major retail center is Western Hills Mall, which was the second enclosed shopping mall in metro Birmingham. It opened in the late 1960s with two anchor department stores, Loveman's and J.C. Penney, a Woolworth's discount store, a Britling cafeteria and about three dozen specialty stores.

The mall is owned and operated by Aronov Realty of Montgomerymarker, one of Alabama's largest commercial developers[15364]. The Fairfield City Council renamed Weibel Drive, which runs in front of the mall, to Aaron Aronov Drive in honor of the developer.

As is the case with many malls from that era, Western Hills Mall was a successful mall based in a community that saw its economy change with the decline and/or closing of numerous steel-related industries, particularly the nearby steel mills. Britling's closed, along with the rest of the chain, in the 1970s. The Woolworth location closed with the rest of the chain in the 1990s. After Loveman's ceased operation, the location became Pizitz, McRae's, and later Parisian, before finally closing in 2005. J.C. Penney finally closed its store in 2005. Most specialty stores went through numerous changes; those that were part of national chains had largely pulled out by the turn of the century. The stores that remain are mostly independent stores, and largely cater to the African-American and multi-cultural community that now is predominant in the surrounding areas. The mall has a large primary market that includes Fairfield, Midfield, Pleasant Grove and Hueytown and Bessemer among other communities.

In 2006, Western Hills Mall underwent a major transformation. The J.C. Penney location was demolished, with the mall building being truncated at the former Penney entrance. A new Wal-Mart Supercenter was built on the site of the former JCPenney. The Supercenter replaces an existing standard Wal-Mart (itself a former Woolco location) across the street. The new store was sought by Fairfield officials for many years; former mayor Larry Langford had conducted negotiations for a Supercenter during most of his time in office. The mall has successfully implemented a redevelopment plan that now includes a new anchor, Burlington Coat Factory.

References

  1. Shopmalls.com: Western Hills Mall - official website
  2. Aronov Realty, operator of Western Hills Mall

External links




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