Here is a quick look at your area to acquaint you with Local Facilities, Government, Education, and more.
May Day-An annual Celebration held in commemoration of the day the Blacks of Russell County heard news of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. Held each May 28 in Rutherford on County Road 65.
For more information contact Ms. Bennie Mae Johnson (334) 667-7807 or Jessie Beverly (334) 667-7397.
Twin Cities Classic Horse Show: Held the last Saturday of June sponsored by the Exchange Club of Phenix City. Located at Austin Sumbry Park on 431 south.
Rodeo: Held Labor Day Weekend, 11-miles out on Hwy 80 West.
Veterans Day Ceremonies: Those who served to defend the United States and those who gave the greatest sacrifice of all are remembered at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery on Highway 165.
Festival of Lights: Numerous festive light displays are placed along the Phenix City Riverwalk. The displays go up around Thanksgiving and stay up through December 31.
Bi-City Christmas Parade: Bands, Floats, Singing Groups, and the arrival of St. Nick highlight this holiday event held two weeks prior to Christmas.
Festival of Art at the Log Cabin: The accomplishments of local artists are presented inside this original log cabin located at 35th Street, (334) 297-7453.
Education: Children must be six years of age on or before September 1 to enter the first grade. Kindergarten is available for children five years of age by September 1. Head Start is available for children four years of age by September 1.
Fishing and Hunting: The Chattahoochee River and its accompanying lakes have developed into one of the finest fishing areas in the nation. Warm waters, coves, shallow backwater, underwater stumps, and trees, and over 50 miles of shoreline offer a wide variety of fishing grounds. Largemouth or Black Bass, Crappie, (black and white), Bream, Striped and White Bass are plentiful.
Government and Services: City government is administered by City Manager-City Council, located at 1119 Broad Street, 448-2701. The Police Department is composed of 82 Full time and 10 Part time members with 45 vehicles, 2 Bicycle Patrols, and Foot Patrols, located at 1111 Broad Street, 448-2800. The Fire Department has 44 members housed in 3 stations. Enhanced 911 is in place in the City and County.
Health and Medical: Medical services are provided by one health care office, and 3 Nursing Homes. The City has 106 Doctors and 5 Dentists. There are many hospitals, 62 Dentists, and 127 Doctors in the MSA.
Alabama State Parks: Montgomery, Alabama 1-800-252-7275.
Bluff Creek Park: One of the 3 federal recreational areas along the Chattahoochee River. The park is designed for total family use and offers a Boat Ramp, Tent and Trailer Camping, Playground Equipment, and Fishing. Information and Comfort stations are also available. Information on Bluff Creek Park may be obtained by calling (334) 855-2746.
Briar Creek Park: Located midway up Hatchechubbee Creek which empties into the main Chattahoochee River channel. The park offers a Boat Ramp, Outdoor Restrooms, and Bank Fishing-an ideal park for Canoeing and Rafting Launches.
Hatchechubbee Creek Park: Located at the mouth of Hatchechubbee Creek as it empties into the Chattahoochee River a few miles north of the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, and features include a Boat Ramp, Picnic Area, Comfort Station, Bank Fishing, and Canoeing is permitted. The Park is Open from 7:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M. daily. Parts & Recreation, 700 Hwy 26, (334) 667-7661.
Phenix City Parks & Recreation – 950 Airport Road, Phenix City
Austin Sumbry Park: Located on Old 431 South offers Fishing, Playgrounds, Picnic Areas with grills, Softball Fields, Covered Picnic Pavilions, and a Horse Arena.
Idle Hour Park: 240-acre Park featuring a 25-acre and a 5-acre Lake; they are open for Fishing. The area includes a Jogging/Walking Trail around the lake, Playground, Lighted Tennis Courts, Barbecue Pits, Covered Picnic Pavilions, Softball and Baseball Fields, Volleyball Court, and the Roy Martin Recreation Center. Below the lake is a nature trail. All areas are open to the Public Free of Charge. Clubhouse available for rental, 291-4719.
Lakewood Park: 4500 Lakewood Drive offers Fishing, Playgrounds, Picnic Areas with grills, Softball Fields, Covered Picnic Pavilions, and 18 Hole Golf Course (291-4726) with Driving Range & Clubhouse
Meadowlane Park: Spencer Recreation located at 8th Avenue South offers Playgrounds, Picnic Areas with grills, Softball Fields, Covered Picnic Pavilions and Swimming (Pool hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.).
Southside Park: Located in the Southwest part of Phenix City on Sandfort Road, is a 63 acre park that includes Lighted Tennis Court, Basketball Courts, Playground, Picnic Area, Softball Complex with 4 Lighted Fields and a Swimming Pool (Pool hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.).
In Phenix City and Russell County many things are available for you and your family to have a great time. Race tracks, bowling, country club, golf courses (the Buick Challenge is held annually at Callaway Gardens, within 40 Miles), roller skating, ball fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, indoor movies, parks, and water sports (Lake Eufaula is within 30 Miles) are all available.
Callaway Gardens: Pine Mountain, GA, North on GA 27. This 14,000 acre resort includes miles of trails for hiking, a 7.5-mile Discovery Bicycle Trail, horseback riding, four golf courses (63 holes), 19 tennis courts, fishing and hunting preserves, a manmade beach, several lakes (Fly-Fishing), some of the world’s largest botanical gardens, an expansive greenhouse conservatory, a butterfly center filled with as many as 1000 tropical butterflies, restaurants, and special events throughout the year. For more information call 1-800-282-8181.
Carmike Cinemas Hollywood Connections: Georgia’s largest indoor family entertainment center complete with video arcade, 10 movie theaters, carousel, electric train, mini-golf course, bumper cars, laser tag, Xanadu Skating and more. 1683 Whittlesey Road, Columbus GA. For more information call (706) 571-3456
Coca-Cola Space Science Center: 701 Front Avenue, Columbus GA. This space science center opened in the summer of 1996. The center includes: The Challenger Learning Center, which houses an accurate replica of an Apollo Capsule, a Mead Observatory, a Space Shuttle, an Omnisphere Theater, and many other fun and exciting events. Ticket prices are $5 for Feature Shows, $3 for Children’s Shows and $6 for Laser Shows. The Center is open Tuesday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Saturday 1:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information call (706) 649-1470.
Columbus Civic Center: 400 4th Avenue, Columbus, GA. This 170,000 square foot entertaining facility is host to basketball tournaments, concerts, national speakers, and hockey games. Call (706) 656-4473.
East Alabama Motor Speedway: Hwy. 80, is one of the finest 3/8-mile, 60-foot wide dirt tracks in the southeast. EAMS’s season is traditionally kicked off with the Monster Madness monster truck competition in April featuring the biggest names in monster trucks. The major stock car event of the season is held in June with the Jimmy Thomas Memorial followed by the Independence Race Weekend with spectacular fireworks, fan contests, a gigantic Demolition Derby and a big card of stock car action. The track also hosts the World Championship Mud Bog in July, the Southern Outlaw Sprint Car Classic in August, a Labor Day Shoot Out and the Alabama State Championships in October. For more information Call (334) 297-2594
Eufaula, AL: Historic Chattahoochee Commission, (334) 687-9755. This beautiful historic city is located on Lake Eufaula and offers walking and driving tours that start and end at Shorter Mansion, 340 N. Eufaula Avenue.
Fishing: The Chattahoochee River and its accompanying lakes have developed into one of the finest fishing areas in the nation. Warm waters, coves, shallow backwaters, underwater stumps, and trees and over 50-miles of shorelines offer a wide variety of fishing grounds. Largemouth or Black Bass, Crappie (black and white), Bream and Striped and White Bass are plentiful. For information on fishing license call (334) 298-0509.
Lakewood Golf Course: 2800 Lakewood Drive, is built to standards established by the Professional Golfers Association (PGA). Lakewood takes in the natural lay of the land to provide a challenging but enjoyable 18 Holes of golf. It also features a driving range. For more information call (334) 291-4726
National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center: 1775 Legacy Way Columbus, GA., (706) 685-5800. Two centuries of proud military history are displayed in what is considered the finest military museum in the nation. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 11:00-5:00 p.m.
Riverwalk: Phenix City’s Riverwalk, preserved with most of its natural environment, begins just north of the Amphitheater and meanders along the Chattahoochee River ending at 13th Street. It is constructed of concrete 12-foot wide by 3,800-feet long (8/10 mile). Equipped with a 200-foot bridge resting over Holland Creek, light posts every 50-feet, 3 observation decks, and benches along its winding path.
Senior Citizens: Central Activities Center, 1500 14th Street (291-4743) Beautiful facility with many different activities catering to please the seniors in our area age 50 and over. Everything from cards, crafts, dancing, trips, art lessons, exercise, game room, and luncheons.
Peachtree Mall: 3131 Manchester Expressway, Columbus, Georgia, features two anchor stores: JC Penny, and Dillards, plus a food court, skylights, fountains, old-fashioned park benches and over one hundred specialty stores, including Kirklands, and Victoria’s Secret.
Sometime prior to 1820, Girard was established as a trading post in the Creek Indian Territory of Alabama on the West Bank of the Chattahoochee River opposite a white settlement that later was named Columbus, Georgia. The north boundary of Girard being the north boundary of Russell County is presently known as 15th Street North.
The Capital of the Creek Nation at this time was situated about 8 miles south of Girard in Alabama and was called Coweta.
Prior to this area being established as a White Community, a town was laid out by a member of a New York Engineering Firm, Edward Lloyd Thomas, and was designated Marshall’s Reserve. This land area was sold to a Columbus Real Estate interest for $35,000.00 by a half-breed Indian named Ben Marshall. It was later sold for a total of $100,000.00.
The City was named for a young Philadelphia Philanthropist and slave dealer, Stephen Girard, who acquired much of the land in this area. When Russell County was formed December 18, 1832, Girard became the County Seat; the first session of Court convened there October 14, 1833. With the population at 3,840 the City of Girard was officially incorporated by an Act of the Alabama Legislature H.B.-333 on December 8, 1890. A Mr. West served as its first Mayor.
In 1846, a corporation headed by Samuel G. Ingersoll and Associates was granted a charter to build a railroad from Ingersoll’ s Hill in the town of Girard in the direction of Crawford. This railroad later became the Central of Georgia.
Russell County Seat moved from Girard to Crockettville, presently Crawford, in 1842. Russell County Seat moved from Crawford to Seale, Alabama in 1868.
Population growth of the City of Girard by Federal Census:
The City of Phenix City was first incorporated as the Town of Brownville by an Act of the Alabama Legislature H.B.#585 on February 23, 1883. The town of Brownville was situated north of the Town of Girard in Lee County, with its Southern boundary being the northern boundary of Girard, which is presently known a 15th Street North. The County Seat of Lee County was Opelika.
T.S. Young was Elected Brownville’s first Mayor and presided at the first meeting of the Board of Alderman held March 27, 1883 in the Masonic Building. This small residential community was established prior to the Civil War and by 1880 had a population of 2,224. Although the town was officially named Brownville, the Post Office serving it was called Lively, and the Central of Georgia Railroad designated its depot, Knights Station. On February 19, 1889 the Town of Brownville by an Act of the Alabama Legislature H.B. #679 was officially changed to Phenix City, named for the Old Phoenix Mills in Columbus.
Population growth of the City of Phenix City prior to the annexation of the City of Girard by Federal Census:
The Cities of Girard and Phenix City were consolidated August 9, 1923 with a total population of 10,374. Soon afterward an effort was made to change the City’s name to Brandon in Honor of Governor William W. Brandon who signed the consolidation bill. However, after technical difficulties, the original name was retained.
The City of Phenix City has been governed at various times by a Board of Alderman and a 5-man and 3-man Board of Commissioners. Dr. Ashby Floyd was appointed Mayor with Homer D. Cobb, Sr., Isaac L Moses, Clyde M. Knowles, Sr., and Claude B. Gullatt, Sr., serving as commissioners immediately after the consolidation. The 5-Man Board of Commissioners was decreed unconstitutional, and a Board of Alderman governed the City from December 1923 until September 1928.
The City’s Government headed by a 3-Man Board of Commissioners from 1928 until 1947 changed to a 5-Man Board for the period from 1947 until 1953, when it reverted to a 3-Man Board. In October 1977, the present Council-City Manager form of government was adopted.
The original City Hall of Phenix City was built in three stages between the early 1900’s and mid 1940’s.
The Old building was demolished in 1963 to make room for construction of the City’s new Municipal Building.
The first section of the building was constructed in 1909 or 1910 and for the next 12 to 13 years served as the municipal building for the old City of Girard. In 1923, following the consolidation of Phenix City and Girard into a single City, the building became the municipal headquarters for the consolidated area.
The first expansion of the old building was completed in 1927 with the addition of a City Jail costing approximately $19,000.00. The unit was built on the south side of the first section and at the time of demolition was serving as a combination Police Headquarters and Jail.
In 1932, Russell County traded the Marvyn Community, in the northwest section of the county, to Lee County for a portion of Phenix City in Lee.
Following the trade a northern district of Russell County was established in Phenix City. County Officials set up office on the first floor of Old City Hall and the City Clerk was moved to the second floor of the building. In 1938, the present Russell County Courthouse was built, and all County Offices, both for the southern and northern districts were moved to the new building.
The final addition of the City Hall Building was constructed on the north side of the municipal building in 1944 and in the years that followed, it housed the Commission chamber, and the Offices of the City Clerk.
If you are moving into Russell or Lee County from out of state you are required to purchase an Alabama car tag within 30 days. If not, you could face a $10 fine.
A certificate of title is necessary for out-of-state residents or for those buying their tag in Russell County for the first time. Also, you must provide proof of residency. For out-of-state residents there is an $18 title fee and the first year’s tag cost is $31.25. The tag office is located in the Russell County Courthouse Annex at 1206 7th Avenue in Phenix City behind Colonial Bank.
The hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tag office number is 298-1520.
In Lee County you must purchase your automobile tags by stopping by the Lee County Tax Assessor’s office at the Lee County Courthouse in Opelika.
Next stop is the Lee County Tax Collector, and then the final stop is the Lee County Probate office, where the tags are actually issued. A one- stop tag office and a satellite tag office in Smiths Station is in the works now.
If you are new to the state of Alabama and have a valid driver’s license from another state, getting an Alabama license should be fairly easy. It’s a simple process in Russell County: Take your valid out-of- state license to the driver’s license examining office at 1411 5th Avenue in Phenix City and turn it in. You’ll be required to pay a $5 processing fee and take an eye examination. The processing fee must be paid in cash. A photo ID, Social Security card and proof of residency is required. Proof of residence can be any piece of mail that includes your name and your new Russell County address. Once you’ve done that, a certificate saying you’ve passed the eye exam will be issued. You’ll take the certificate to the probate judge’s office in the county courthouse, 501 14th Street, pay a $23 fee for the license itself, and your new Alabama license will arrive by mail. Newcomers to the state must acquire an Alabama driver’s license within 30 days of establishing Alabama residency. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: 298-1953.
Getting connected in Phenix City is as easy as 1.2.3. With a few simple phone calls, you can be plugged in, turned on and have those moving boxes picked up.
For electrical service:
Alabama Power Co.: Located 1601 Broad St., serves Phenix City and most of the county 298-4692, or 1-800- 245-2244.
Tallapoosa River Electric Co-Op: is the supplier of electricity to southern areas 1-800-332-8732.
Alabama Gas Co.: Located at 1112 Broad Street, serves Phenix City and most of the county 297-6249.
For telephone service:
AT&T: The cost to hook up or turn on a residential telephone is $40, which can be billed 557-6500.
Garbage and water service:
In Phenix City, you can sign up for water, garbage pick-up and sewer service at the Utilities Building at 1119 Broad St. next door to City Hall. There is a $54 deposit required for both services combined.
All rural residents must sign up with Russell County Utilities for garbage service, while Phenix City and Hurtsboro offer the service. Hurtsboro residents need to call City Hall at 334-667-7771 to have their services turned on. There is a $50 deposit required.
Russell County Utilities: Serves from Ladonia west and along U.S. 431 west and south to the county line. The Russell Utilities office is at 4109 Sandfort Road. The phone number is 297-3393.
Smiths Water and Sewer Authority: Provides water to Smiths Station, the newest city in Lee County, to parts of Phenix City in Lee County and Salem. There’s a basic $60 deposit required. You will need to sign up in person at the office, which is located at 2848 Lee Road 243. The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST, Monday – Friday. The phone number is 298-6342.
Fort Mitchell Water Authority: Serves the area and the communities of Cottonton, Mount Olive, Jernigan and Sunderlan. The office is on Alabama Highway 165 near Rainbow Foods. There is a $50 deposit required for renters and a $30 deposit required for homeowners. The office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST and the phone number is 855-4703.
Population: Alabama’s population is 4,858,979 ranking 23nd among the states. The population-density is 94.4 persons per square mile, with the US average at 87.4 per square mile. The larger cities are Birmingham (212,461), Mobile (194,288), Montgomery (200,602), Huntsville (190,582), Tuscaloosa (98,332), and Dothan (68,567).
State Bird: In 1927, the Yellowhammer (Colaptes aratus), also known as a flicker, was designated as the official state bird. It is a member of the woodpecker family. The yellowhammer became the state bird, due to its association with the Alabama Confederate soldiers. The Yellowhammer has gray feathers with yellow patches, showing red polka dots on its breast and a red band around its neck, gives an appearance similar to the gray and yellow colors of the Confederate uniforms. There is a story of a new company of Confederate soldiers from Huntsville entering a Confederate camp, which upon arrival in their flashy new uniforms were referred to, in jest, as the Yellowhammers. The name stuck. Soon after, Alabama Confederate soldiers became known as the Yellowhammers. The Confederate Veterans in Alabama wore yellowhammer feathers during reunions as a sign of pride in their duty served.
State Flag: The state flag features a white background with a crimson St. Andrew’s cross, crossing diagonally from corner to corner. In 1895, the flag was adopted as the state flag.
State Flower: In 1959, the Camellia replaced the goldenrod as the state flower. Colors of the flower are white, pink, and red, as well as a blend of three. A particular species of the Camellia has not been designated, hence the color variety. However, the red camellia is the accepted state flower.
State Salute: Flag of Alabama I salute thee. To thee I pledge my allegiance, my service, and my life.
State Seal: The state seal is round and bordered by the words, “Alabama Great Seal”. Within the circle, a map of Alabama is placed in the center and is bordered by Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida, along with the part of the Gulf of Mexico, which is named the Mississippi Delta, being the end of the Mississippi River.
State Tree – Southern Pine (Longleaf). In 1949, the Southern Pine was designated to be the Alabama State tree. The original bill proposed, however, nominated the Longleaf Pine to be the state tree. The four largest groups of pine species are the longleaf, the slash pine, the loblolly and the longleaf.