Jasper was first settled around 1815; it was named after Sgt. William Jasper, a Revolutionary War hero. Its first settler,
E. D. Musgrove, donated land to the county for the establishment of the city with the stipulation that it be designated as
the county seat.
During the Civil War, Jasper was the target of Union troops marching toward Selma during Wilson's Raid. The troops burned the courthouse and several other buildings in town and raided neighboring farms for supplies. The county
courthouse burned again in 1877, 1878, and 1884. It was replaced by a brick structure that in turn burned in 1886. Jasper
was officially incorporated on August 18, 1886.
In 1886, the Kansas City-Memphis Railroad completed a line through Jasper, and the Sheffield and Birmingham Railroad completed a line in 1888. These new connections
brought a huge increase in population, from 200 in 1886 to more than 3,000 by 1890. Into the 1890s, the main industries in
the area were coal mining and coke oven operations, as well as timber processing operations, such as saw mills. Jasper's first water and power authority was established in 1905, and the current courthouse was completed in 1907, as was the town's Confederate
Memorial. The first automobile appeared on the streets of Jasper in 1907 as well.
In April 1974, downtown Jasper was heavily damaged by a tornado. More recently, the once-thriving downtown area has experienced
the same economic challenges faced by many towns as businesses have moved out or closed because of competition from larger
population at the time of the 2000 Census was 14,052; the 2006 Census
estimate was 14,117. Of that number, 84.2 percent
identified themselves as White, 14 percent as African American,
1.3 percent as Hispanic, 0.5 percent as Asian, and 0.2 percent
as Native American. The city's median household income was
$33,044, compared with the state's median income of $34,135; per
capita income was $19,491, compared with $18,189 for the state as a
Jasper are part of the Jasper City School System; the city has
approximately 2,633 students and 189 teachers in
six public schools (three elementary, middle, high, and an
alternative school). It also has one private school serving K-12
with approximately 71 students and 5 teachers.
Jasper is intersected by U.S. Highway 78 (east-west) and State Highway 269 (roughly north-south). It also is served by the
Walker County-Bevill Field Airport.
Every spring and fall, the city of Jasper hosts the Blackwater
Bluegrass festival, a celebration of music and heritage in
Jasper's Blackwater Park. Visitors interested in history can view
the Bankhead House, home of Alabama's notable Bankhead family
of politicians, and the Carl Elliot House Museum, former home of
Congressman Carl Elliot.
Winston County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Winston County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.