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Phenix City

seat of Russell County; population 29,460

location of Phenix City


Sometime prior to 1820, a trading post was established in the Creek Indian Territory of Alabama on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River opposite a white settlement which eventually became known as Columbus, Georgia. The town that grew up around this post became known as Girard, in honor of Stephen Girard, a Philadelphia philanthropist who had acquired much of the land in the area. When Russell County was formed in 1832, Girard became the county seat. The county seat was moved from Girard to Crockettsville (now Crawford) in 1842, and to Seale in 1868. The City of Girard was officially incorporated on December 8, 1890.

The Town of Brownville was incorporated on February 23, 1883. Brownville was situated north of Girard in Lee County, with its southern boundary being the northern boundary of Girard. Although the town was officially named Brownville, the Post Office serving it was called "Lively," and the Central of Georgia Railroad designated its depot "Knight's Station." On February 19, 1889, the Town of Brownville was officially renamed Phenix City, for the Phenix Mills in Columbus.

The cities of Girard and Phenix City were consolidated on August 9, 1923.

In 1932, Russell County traded the Marvyn Community in the northwest section of the county to Lee County for that portion of Phenix City lying in Lee County. Following the trade, a northern division of the Russell County Courthouse was established in Phenix City. The county seat was officially moved to Phenix City upon completion of the Russell County Courthouse in 1938.

Long known as a denizen of crime, Phenix City residents and government officials mounted a major anti-crime campaign in the early 1950's. That campaign was so successful that Phenix City was named an All-America City in 1955.

Dr. Clyde Knowles, Mayor of Phenix City from 1955 to 1957, led the administration that rid the city of its criminal image
Mayor Clyde Knowles


Phenix City has a council-city manager form of government.

The official Phenix City website is located at

Phenix City Riverwalk
Phenix City Riverwalk

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Gulf States >> Alabama

This page was last updated on September 25, 2017.