Historic Markers Across Alabama

History of Gurley

Marker ID:  
County: Madison
Waymark: None


Side 1:
There has been a settlement at and around the area presently known as Gurley for over a century and a half. Gurley is located in Madison County, in the rich agricultural, mineral and timber belt of northern Alabama. It lies 16 miles east of Huntsville and 80 miles West of Chattanooga on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad near the line between Madison and Jackson Counties. In 1830 several families, including that of John Gurley, purchased land and built homes in what was then a dense forest of timber covering fertile red clay lands and lowlands thick with canebreak. The country was full of game which provided abundant hunting for these growing families. Natural springs and wells were available to supply pure water to the homes. For many years, the area then known as "Gurley's", was in the woods with no public roads.

Side 2:
The railroad was built through here in 1857. Then, because of the large cedar water tank, the town became known as "Gurley's Tank". The water tank supplied water to the steam driven engines of the trains. However, when the post office was established in 1867, the name was changed to "Gurleysville". The name was later shortened to Gurley because the mail to Guntersville was often confused with Gurleysville. In 1892, there were 24 businesses: Livery stables, saloons, hotels, three churches and a school. There were physicians, a druggist, blacksmiths, woodworkers, bankers, jewelers and a photographer. Gurley had two newspapers, "The Gurley Record", and later, "The Gurley Herald". Besides having a large mercantile business, Gurley had in 1890 a number of manufacturing establishments including the Eagle Pencil Mill. Through the years, fire ravaged the business district at least three times. In 1923 fire almost completely destroyed the business district. Only two stores were spared from the fire.

End of History of Gurley