Historic Markers Across Alabama

Demopolis, The People's City

Marker ID: ABT 
County: Marengo
Waymark: None



The Demopolis Historic Business District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, welcomes visitors to a showcase of architectural styles and elements. It has long served West Alabama as a commercial center for townspeople and residents of surrounding farms, plantations and communities. The district contains 57 structures built between 1843 and 1926. Reflecting the city's democratic theme, downtown Demopolis developed around the Public Square, dedicated in 1819. Its architectural treasures preserve lasting proof of local artistry by skilled craftsmen, masons and carpenters, who contributed their talents to building the town after its colonization in 1817. The town's businesses have included specialty shops, livery stables, hardware stores, law offices, banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, newspapers, and West Alabama's first noteworthy department store, Mayer Brothers. With its tradition of theaters, opera houses, and libraries, downtown Demopolis has also been a regional home for cultural and literary arts.


Demopolis was destined for commercial success and a diverse population due to its prime location in the fork of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers. River transportation and the railroad positively influenced the town's growth. French colonists founded Demopolis in 1817. They created a spirited town that welcomed European merchants including Germans of Jewish faith and American planters from states on the country's eastern coast. The hard labor of African Americans enabled local cotton businesses to prosper and to construct prominent warehouses on riverbanks where they attracted busy riverboat traffic. The artistry and craftsmanship of enslaved workers are still evident in the city's vintage buildings, homes, and churches that endure into the twenty-first century. Different nationalities, different religions, and different races have contributed to Demopolis, first envisioned by its French settlers as an American utopia and as a place they called "The People's City."

Erected by the Alabama Tourism Department and the City of Demopolis
December 2010

End of Demopolis, The People's City