City of Fairhope History

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The City of Fairhope began as a dream in the minds of a group of populist reformers who were seeking their own special utopia.  Over a hundred similar utopian colonies had already come and gone in other locations including our very own founders' failed attempt at “The National Cooperative Company” colony in Louisiana. They went back to the planning stage and borrowed from Henry George’s Single Tax philosophy trying to solve some of the economic and social problems of the day.  After searching several Southern states for possible sites, they chose the Eastern shore of Mobile Bay and declared November 15, 1894 as "Round-Up Day."  Our founders settled on the high bluff where they bought clear-cut wasteland for $5.50 per acre.  They thought using the Single Tax plan would give them at least a "fair hope" of succeeding.  Thus, the Fairhope Single Tax Colony was founded, attracting supporters and financial backers from around the country and drawing an eclectic assemblage of industrious, creative and free-thinking people to Fairhope, Alabama.

The City of Fairhope was established with around 500 residents in 1908, taking over responsibility for all municipal services. In the 1930s, the city became the caretaker of Fairhope's greatest assets, the beachfront park, the park lands on the bluff above the beach, Henry George Park, Knoll Park, and the quarter-mile long pier, all gifts of the Single Tax Colony, which continues to have an active presence in the city to this day.

Fairhope has always been a resort community, early visitors came by Bayboat from Mobile to vacation in the small bay cottages and hotels along the bluff top. Vacationers came to Fairhope in the early days for many of the same reasons they do today: its pleasant climate, peaceful surroundings, and inspiring scenery.

Over the years artists, writers, and craftsmen have found Fairhope to be an inspiring haven for their work and have helped to make the community what it is today.