Beatrice is a town in Monroe County, Alabama. At the 2000 census the population was
412. According to the 2005 U.S.
Census estimates, the town had a population of 403.
Beatrice was established at the turn of the 20th century, and named for Beatrice Seymour, granddaughter of the railroad construction superintendent. The town of Beatrice was settled while work continued on the construction of a railroad link between Selma, Alabama and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad terminal in Pensacola, Florida. History remains a very important part of life in Beatrice, with historic buildings as well as many period homes and churches.
In the 1900's the Monroe Journal described Beatrice as "surrounded by beautiful and rich farming country, well timbered lands, pine, oak, poplar, ash, hickory and sweet gum, the purest and best water and one of the healthiest communities in the south. This place is fast building; there are at present six first class store, barbershop, and shoe shop and all the hotel accommodations that the traveling people are looking for. The Hotel McCreary, just completed is handsomely furnished with good beds and everything else necessary to make the guests happy and comfortable. Beatrice will be the largest shipping point between Selma and Pensacola. There are several farmers within three to six miles of this place who handle from 200-300 bales of cotton annually."
The town of Beatrice was incorporated in 1901. During the first half of the century, Beatrice was a hub of commerce and activity in the area. Business began to lag in the 60's and 70's. The merchants created "Trade Days" to boost the economy.
The first School was called Quigley Institute. The school was moved to Miss Minnie's home. Later it was moved to the present location of Beatrice Elementary School. The school burned in 1956. The gym and several houses across the street were used while the new school was being built. In 1967 Shields Elementary integrated with Beatrice High School and Elementary School.
The original house of worship in the town of Beatrice was originally built by the Presbyterians but served as a place of worship for the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian memberships. The Baptist church was constructed in 1925 on its current location. The Methodists competed their own church building in about 1926.
Beatrice is home to Monroe Sausage, a locally owned smoked pork sausage product. The town holds an annual sausage festival to celebrate the industry. It also has a thriving timber industry and rejuvenated downtown area that includes several antique and gift shops, a cafe, and a bed and breakfast.
Beatrice is full of historical and recreational activities. Two of the most famous houses are the Mary Elizabeth Stallworth House and the Burgess-Sanders-Steel House.
Mary Elizabeth Stallworth, the former owner of this turn-of-the-century home in Beatrice, was quite a remarkable woman in her time. She was the first woman to enroll in the College of Architecture at Auburn University and was the second to graduate. While her career took her to Washington, D.C., she eventually returned home to Beatrice. This home is both a testament to her past and a perfect place to spend a few nights in Monroe County.
Many aspects of the Stallworth Home are reminiscent of the era in which the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" was written just a few miles away in Monroeville.
The Burgess-Sanders-Steel House was built around 1837 by the Burgess family. It is thought to be one of the oldest structures in Monroe County. At some point prior to the War Between the States, it became the property of Mr. and Mrs. John Sanders. Upon their death the house was inherited by the Sander's son, John and his wife. Mrs. Sanders died in 1966 and later that year the house was eventually sold to the Steele family, who own the property now.