Greenville, known as the Camellia City, is the county seat of Butler County,
Alabama. At the 2000
census, the population was 7,228. The town lies between
Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama, along the area of Interstate 65 known as the
"Lost Highway" in honor of Country Singer Hank Williams, Sr.
The movement to change the Official Alabama State Flower from the goldenrod to the camellia originated in Greenville.
Most of the travelers up and down Interstate 65 have probably at one time or another stopped at one of Greenville's most popular roadside stops, the Bates House of Turkey Restaurant.
Greenville was first settled in 1819. Immigrants named it Greenville due to the forests of oak trees that reminded them of their former home in Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville's original name was Buttsville.
After becoming the county seat in 1822, its name was changed to Greenville, in remembrance of the former locale in South Carolina of many of the original settlers. The first county seat was at Fort Dale, a fortification that was named for Sam Dale, who fought to defend the area during the Creek Indian War. The site of Fort Dale lies on the north of the city near the Fort Dale Cemetery, along what is now Alabama Highway 185.
The namesake of the county, Captain William Butler, was killed during the Creek Indian War. He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, which is across from the oldest church in Butler County, the First United Methodist Church of Greenville.
Prior to the Civil War, cotton farming was the main occupation in Butler County. During the 1850s lines along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad were constructed, making the county a major trading center. Greenville was a railroad town and became the center of commerce between Montgomery and south Alabama. During the late nineteenth century, the construction of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad through Greenville contributed further to the town's success. At the turn of the century, Gulf Red Cedar Company and Factory in Greenville became a noted bucket manufacturing enterprise.
During World War II, a satellite camp for German prisoners was based in Greenville.
Today, Greenville has a diverse industrial manufacturing base of companies in the textile, wood products, automobile, and other industries. Major employers include Hwashin American Corporation, Hysco America Corporation, CorStone Industry, and Connector Manufacturing.
The 2007 movie Honeydripper was shot in locations around Greenville in late summer and fall of 2006. The film featured sites located on Main Street in the city's historic downtown. Local residents were selected as principal characters and extras for the movie. New Beginnings Ministry's church choir was featured in the film.
Greenville is also the home of the Watermelon Jubilee, a local arts and crafts exposition held each year in August. Every year in September, the city hosts the Butler County Fair. Also, during the fall, Greenville hosts Old Time Farm Day which features activities such as tractor races, blacksmithing and quilting demonstrations.
Greenville is a wonderful place to visit. It is full of southern charm and history. Just take your time and soak in the beauty.