The Creek Indians were the first inhabitants of Atmore, Alabama. After the Civil War, the expansion of the railroad sparked new developments in Atmore, previously known as Williams Station, a supply stop for trains. The town has a rich history and was officially incorporated in 1907.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized American Indian tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. Long before settlers came to the area that is now Atmore, the Creek Indians inhabited the virgin forests of longleaf pines settling along the creeks and rivers.
The development of the area began in the 1860s following the Civil War as the Mobile and Great Northern Railroad extended its line south to the Tensaw River near Mobile. Workers who moved through the area laying track for the railroad were drawn to the area’s rich farmland and abundance of timber. Agriculture and timber are still major factors in Atmore’s economy.
The first structure in what is Atmore was a small shed built along the railroad where supplies were left for William Larkin Williams who had a logging operation 10 miles down the tracks in Florida. In 1866, the site was first called Williams Station, just a supply stop along the railroad.
By the 1870s, there were several buildings — a railroad station, a store containing the post office, and one dwelling. In late 1870, the first sawmill was put into operation, but the sawmill built by William Marshall Carney in 1876 sparked the growth of the community. Recognizing the potential of the area that abounded in cypress ponds and virgin forests, legend says Carney hitched a mule to a boat and set claim to most of the area. Because of his many contributions to the growth of the community, Carney is often called “the father of Atmore.”
By 1885 with a population of 195, Williams Station had enough residents to take an interest in politics. A polling place was provided and votes were cast in a county election. The W.M. Carney Mill Company was in full swing attracting settlers from Wilcox and Monroe counties who came to work in the lumber and turpentine industries. During this time, the social life of the town centered around its early churches.
As the community grew, several leading citizens advanced the argument that the name Williams Station was not suitable for a thriving municipality of two hotels and a few stores. Carney was the most popular name, but a small village just west of the town was already named Carney. In 1897, the name was changed to Atmore in honor of C.P. Atmore, the general ticket agent on the Louisville Nashville Railroad, which stretched to Mobile.
Don’t miss these top things to do:
- Wind Creek Casino and Hotel
- Little River State Forest
- Atmore Dragway
- Mangolia Branch Wild Life Reserve
- Greater Escambia Arts Council
- Atmore Heritage Park
- David’s Catfish House
- Atmore Country Club
- POW WOW — The Poarch Band of Creek Indians (Annual)
- Strand Theatre
137 North Main Street Atmore, AL 36502 | 251-368-2253