City of Centreville, Alabama
1270 Walnut Street, Centreville, Alabama 35042
Phone (205) 926-4995 Fax (205) 926-5443
History of Centreville (From: History of Bibb County Alabama, The First Hundred Years, Rhoda Coleman Ellison)
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Sarah Willis Chotard obtained an original land grant from the federal government in 1823 for “services” provided by her husband with the assistance of General Andrew Jackson. “Old Hickory” had been credited with a decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans (1814) and with driving the British and the Native Indian population out of the newly declared Alabama and Mississippi territories.
A resident named Frank Chotard owned land and a ferry across the Cahaba River at that location, but early accounts are unclear about his relation to Sarah Chotard. The location had been inhabited by settlers and was known as Falls of the Cahaba and Centerville before the current spelling variation came into common use. The original land grant awarded to Mrs. Chotard consisted of a 160 acre quarter section of land. Her surveyor divided the land into 265 lots, 105 lying on the West side of the Cahaba and 55 on the East bank. She began moving squatters off the land and laid out a plat for the new town of Centreville.
The famous rocky shoals or falls, clearly visible and just north of the Howard Cooper (Walnut Street) bridge, mark the southern end point of the Appalachian mountain chain. Just south of the falls Frank Chotard was believed to operate the first ferry to carry traffic across the Cahaba long before a bridge crossing existed. When Centreville was laid out to form a town the local farmers were already dependent on river barges and flatboats to transport their cotton bales to the Port of Mobile.
Centreville became the county seat soon after the county was created in 1818. The county seat moved briefly in the mid 1820s to present-day Antioch. In 1829 Centreville became the permanent seat for Bibb County after several years of debate and different locations of the county courthouse and the town was incorporated in 1832.
In the 1857-58 state legislative session, a vote was held to relocate the County seat to Randolph, but Centreville prevailed. A new county courthouse, the fourth, was completed in 1859. Boundary lines were later redrawn for the town and it was re-incorporated in 1890. That year, a mayor and city council were first elected and are believed to be the Centreville’s first governing body.