Historic Markers Across Alabama

Thorsby: A Scandinavian Colony in the South

Marker ID: ABT 
Location: On U.S. 31 just north of Minnesota Ave, Thorsby, AL
County: Chilton
Coordinates: N 32° 55.029    W 086° 42.995
  32.91715    -86.71658333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMH3E8


(Side 1)
Founded in 1895, the Town of Thorsby was the first planned community in Chilton County. The original settlers were people of Scandinavian origin seeking a favorable climate to locate for farming, fruit growing and better health. The original founders of Thorsby were three Swedes, Theodore T. Thorson, John F. Peterson, John E. Hedberg, and a Norwegian, K. G. Faegre. Advertisements were placed in northern newspapers declaring the discovery of a southern utopia, one that promised good soil, plenty of fresh water, nice warm temperatures and long growing seasons for crops. Soon excursion trains brought new residents to town, most of them Swedes, Norwegians, Finns and Danes.

(Side 2)
The name Thorsby may have been derived from a town named"Torsby” in Sweden, but more likely it originated from the combination of the name"Thorson” and the suffix"by” –which means town in Swedish. The founders formed the Concordia Land and Improvement Association and began mapping out the new community. Parks were included in the plan and residential plots were sold mostly in ten-acre tracts which included a small vineyard. The town formally incorporated in 1901 and continued to grow as churches, homes and businesses began to fill the landscape of the little"Swede Town.” as it became affectionately known by locals. The Town of Thorsby was one of three Scandinavian Colonies that were established around Alabama at the turn of the century.

Erected by the Alabama Tourism Department and the Town of Thorsby October 2010

End of Thorsby: A Scandinavian Colony in the South