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The City of Anniston, Alabama is located approximately 60 miles from Birmingham, Alabama, and 90 miles from Atlanta, Georgia. It is just north of Oxford, Alabama, which sits astride US Highway 20. The city is situated on the slope of Blue Mountain. It is the county seat for Calhoun County.
Anniston was founded in 1872, by Samuel Noble. It was initially a factory town centered on the Woodstock Iron Company, which has organized by Noble and Union General Daniel Tyler. The original planned community was named Woodstock. However, it was later named Anniston after Annie Scott Tyler, the wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873 and soon was regarded as the fifth largest city in the State of Alabama. It held that distinction between the 1890’s to the 1950’s.
The city has always been known for being a proactive, carefully planned community. This led Atlanta newspaperman Henry W. Grady to call it The Model City. The city is still known for its historic buildings and the trees along Quintard Avenue.
Anniston has long been known for its involvement in the steel industry and as a “military-town” due to the operation of Fort McClellan, which was originally established in 1917 as a United States Army training camp and became the primary training facility for Military Police and the Chemical Corps. It also played a significant role in the Army Women’s Corps until women later became fully integrated into the Army. Additionally, Anniston Army Depot has had an extremely important role in the area since World War II. Anniston also played a significant role in the Civil Rights era.
The city is now in a transition phase as the steel industry has long since ceased and with the closing of Fort McClellan in 1999 as part of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure round of 1995 the military aspect of the area has somewhat diminished. This restructuring has resulted in a 27.2% population decline between 1970 (31,533) and 2011 (22,959). Nevertheless, considering Anniston’s advantageous location between Birmingham and Atlanta off US Highway 20 and its convenience to Gadsden and Huntsville via US Highway 431, the availability of McClellan (the former Fort McClellan) as an economic development resource, and the nearby Jacksonville State University and the commercial rise of Oxford to its south, Anniston’s potential makes it an attractive commercial, industrial, retirement location. Among the numerous opportunities that make Anniston attractive, thanks to the Northeast Alabama Entertainment Initiative, it is being marketed as a prime location for film and video production.
Realizing the transitional nature of Anniston’s present situation, under the leadership of Mayor Vaughn Stewart and the Anniston City Council, the city has created a One City/One Vision project, which is designed to re-harmonize and re-energize the city’s citizens and businesses as it once again becomes The Model City.
Major employers in the Anniston, Alabama area include Anniston Army Depot, Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center and Jacksonville State University. Anniston is just miles away from the Tallegdega International Raceway. Atlanta, Georgia is approximately 90 miles east of Anniston. Birmingham is 60 miles west of Anniston. Major cities in the area include Oxford, Jacksonville, and Talledega. The city is often visited as by the residents of Carrollton and Rome, Georgia and Gadsden, Alabama. The city is known for many unique stores and restaurants in its Historic Downtown Anniston shopping, arts, and dining area, the Chief Ladiga Trail, Talledega NASCAR racing, Music at McClellan (the city is the summer home of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra), and the beautiful architecture downtown and the Spanish-style architecture at McClellan (formerly Fort McClellan). It is also known internationally by cyclists, who descend on Anniston each Spring for the Cheaha Challenge bike race. In the early to mid-twentieth century Anniston was known for its minor league baseball teams. Ty Cobb, who still holds the record for stealing home, started his career in Anniston. Cobb Elementary and the now closed Cobb High School were named for Ty Cobb.
With its restaurants, medical facility, convenient travel times, and close access to a couple Atlanta and Birmingham, Anniston, Alabama, can be considered as one of the best places to retire, cheapest place to live, and an ideal place to visit and live It is only miles from Jacksonville State University and the Talledega International Raceway.