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|Baldwin County, Alabama|
The Baldwin County Courthouse in Bay Minette
Location in the U.S. state of Alabama
Alabama's location in the U.S.
|Founded||December 21, 1809|
|• Total||2,027 sq mi (5,250 km2)|
|• Land||1,590 sq mi (4,118 km2)|
|• Water||438 sq mi (1,134 km2), 21.6%|
|• Density||134/sq mi (52/km2)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC−6/−5|
Baldwin County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. According to the 2015 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population is approximately 203,709. The county seat is Bay Minette. The county is named in honor of Senator Abraham Baldwin, though he never lived in what is now Alabama.
It is the largest county in Alabama by area and is located on the eastern side of Mobile Bay. Part of its western border with Mobile County is formed by the Spanish River, a brackish distributary river.
Baldwin County was established on December 21, 1809, ten years before Alabama became a state. Previously, the county had been a part of the Mississippi Territory until 1817, when the area was included in the separate Alabama Territory. Statehood was gained by Alabama in 1819.
There have been numerous border changes to the county as population grew and other counties were formed. Numerous armies have invaded during the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War.
In the first days of Baldwin County, the town of McIntosh Bluff on the Tombigbee River was the county seat. (It is now included in Mobile County, west of Baldwin County.) The county seat was transferred to the town of Blakeley in 1810, and then to the city of Daphne in 1868. In 1900, by an act of the legislature of Alabama, the county seat was authorized for relocation to the city of Bay Minette; however, the city of Daphne resisted this relocation.
To achieve the relocation, the men of Bay Minette devised a scheme. They fabricated a murder to lure the Sheriff and his deputy out of the Daphne. While the law was chasing down the fictitious killer during the late hours, the group of Bay Minette men stealthily traveled the seventeen miles (27 km) to Daphne, stole the Baldwin County Courthouse records, and delivered them to the city of Bay Minette, where Baldwin County's county seat remains. A New Deal mural, completed by WPA artists during the Great Depression, depicts these events. It hangs in the Bay Minette United States Post Office.
Due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Baldwin County frequently endures tropical weather systems, including hurricanes. Since the late 20th century, the county was declared a disaster area in September 1979 due to damage from Hurricane Frederic, in July 1997 due to Hurricane Danny, in September 1998 from Hurricane Georges, in September 2004 due to damage from Hurricane Ivan, and again in August 2005 due to damage from Hurricane Katrina.
Baldwin County attracted national attention after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting as the only county in the United States to refuse to lower its flags to half-staff. Both President Obama and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley had ordered all flags to be lowered immediately following the attack, which specifically targeted the LGBTQ community. Citing the U.S. Flag Code, Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey stated that while his "heart certainly goes out to the victims and their families," the incident "doesn't meet the test of the reason for the flag to be lowered."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,027 square miles (5,250 km2), of which 1,590 square miles (4,100 km2) is land and 438 square miles (1,130 km2) (21.6%) is water. It is the largest county by area in Alabama and the 12th-largest county east of the Mississippi River. It is larger than the US state of Rhode Island.
Two separate areas in Baldwin County have been designated as "Outstanding Alabama Water" by the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, which oversees the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. As of April 2007, only two other areas in Alabama have received what is the "highest environmental status" in the state. A portion of Wolf Bay and 42 miles (68 km) of the Tensaw River in northern Baldwin County have received the designation. Officials believe the "pristine water" will become an important eco-tourism destination.
There are numerous private airports and heliports in Baldwin County. Considerable military airspace overlies much of the county and adjacent bay and coastal waters.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Whereas according to the 2010 United States Census Bureau:
As of the census of 2010, there were 182,265 people, 73,180 households, and 51,151 families residing in the county. The population density was 110 people per square mile (40/km2). There were 104,061 housing units at an average density of 54 per square mile (23/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 85.7% White, 9.4% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.0% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. 4.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 73,180 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.46 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $40,250, and the median income for a family was $47,028. Males had a median income of $34,507 versus $23,069 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,826. 10.10% of the population and 7.60% of families were below the poverty line. 13.10% of those under the age of 18 and 8.90% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
In 2000, the largest denominational groups were Evangelical Protestants (with 38,670 adherents) and Mainline Protestants (with 16,399 adherents). The largest religious bodies were the Southern Baptist Convention (with 27,789 members) and the Catholic Church (with 10,482 members).
The Baldwin County Board of Education / Baldwin County Public Schools oversees most public education in the county.
There are Catholic elementary schools in the county, including Christ the King (Daphne), St. Patrick (Robertsdale) and St. Benedict (Elberta). Beginning in 2016 there is also a Catholic high school, St. Michael Catholic High School--Baldwin County, Al, located just east of Fairhope.
Baldwin County was one of the earliest counties in Alabama where the old-line Southern Democrats began splitting their tickets, and today is one of the most solidly Republican counties in Alabama. No Republican has failed to win a majority in the county since it was easily carried by George Wallace in 1968. The last Democrat to win the county was Adlai Stevenson II in 1952, although John F. Kennedy and a slate of unpledged electors formed the last Democratic ticket to carry Baldwin County in 1960.
The county is governed by a four-member county commission, elected from single-member districts. A sheriff, coroner, and revenue commissioner are elected in at-large positions countywide. The sheriff of Baldwin County is Hoss Mack (R).
Perdido County, Alabama would contain northern Baldwin County, divided by a straight line extending westward from the northwestern tip of Florida, and western Escambia County, west of Big Escambia Creek. (The Flomaton area is excluded via a prominent power line easement, from Big Escambia Creek to the Florida state line.) The southwestern tip of Conecuh County, also west of Big Escambia Creek, may be included as well. The headwaters of the Perdido River rise near the center of this proposed county. The Perdido County seat would be Atmore. The county has been proposed by city of Atmore backers, who believe that their growing city of over 10,000 residents should be a county seat. Furthermore, county backers believe that Atmore belongs in the Mobile-Daphne-Fairhope metropolitan combined statistical area, which would become much more likely within its own exurban-leaning county. Brewton would remain the county seat of rural-leaning Escambia County. In addition to the incorporated city of Atmore, Perdido County would include the unincorporated communities of Blacksher, Canoe, Freemanville, Huxford, Nokomis, Perdido and Tensaw.
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