Originally named the Alabama Reporter and later merged with the Shelby County Democrat, the first edition was published on May 6, 1843, by J.D. O’Donnell and T.J. Cross in what is now Talladega County. Civil War news sent by telegraph published along with the names of local soldiers, oftentimes on sheets of paper, on paper bags, and once on wallpaper due to paper shortages. The newspaper’s printing press, used to print the original Code of Alabama, was moved to Columbiana by then owner Luther J. Fowler in June 1923.
The Reporter has chronicled the growth of the county from a mostly rural community into the state’s fastest growing, most affluent county.
The Shelby County Reporter and its employees strive to:
- Produce exciting, top-quality news publications focusing on people and events that affect the Shelby County area;
- Go the extra mile to meet the needs of our advertisers;
- Report news accurately and without bias;
- Edit and publish with integrity and with the best interest of our community in mind;
- Operate at a profit level that allows us to fairly compensate our employees, reinvest in our community and stand independent from outside influences;
- Take an active leadership role in our community;
- Do what we say we will do;
- Treat our readers, advertisers and employees as we would like to be treated ourselves.
The Shelby County Reporter is published weekly on Wednesdays, and has a wide readership across Shelby County and its 14 cities and towns.
The Reporter’s online home — www.shelbycountyreporter.com — is a 24/7 news engine for Shelby County.
The Shelby County Reporter has won dozens of awards for editorial content, advertising design, layout, photography and its web presence. The Reporter won the Alabama Press Association’s General Excellence for large weekly newspapers in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 the highest honor an Alabama newspaper can achieve. In 2008, the Reporter became the first Alabama paper to win the Advertising Sweepstakes award, General Excellence award and Best Website award in the same year.
The Shelby County Reporter leads by example in its community. It is actively involved with its five local Chambers of Commerce [Calera, Greater Shelby County, Hoover Area, Montevallo and South Shelby]. The Reporter is a major sponsor of Leadership Shelby County, and many of its employees have gone through the program and graduated. The Reporter works with many local high schools and colleges to produce their student newspapers, and many of its employees are active in local civic organizations, charitable groups and local churches.
Shelby County is located in the geographic center of Alabama, and is the county directly south of Birmingham, the state’s largest city. The terrain ranges from mountainous and hilly to flat farmlands. The county is bounded by the Cahaba River to the north and the Coosa River to the east.
The Shelby County market is among the fastest growing in Alabama. While Shelby County is very much a bedroom community for many people working in Birmingham, businesses continue to relocate to the county to take advantage of a highly educated and skilled workforce. Shelby County routinely boasts Alabama’s lowest unemployment rate.
2008 Census estimates put the county’s population at 187,784, making it the fastest growing county in Alabama and among the fastest growing counties in the United States. Long-range estimates indicate that the county could have more than 300,000 residents by the year 2030.
Shelby County experiences a typical Southern climate with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Some of the larger employers in Shelby County include the Shelby County School System, EBSCO Industries, Regions Bank, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Southern Company, the University of Montevallo and BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama. The lime and cement industry also has a large presence in the county, employing thousands of people across dozens of companies.
Shelby County is served by two public school systems.
The Shelby County School System, with the central office located in Columbiana, is among the state’s largest and most respected school systems. The system has 41 schools in all corners of the county, with nearly 28,000 students, 2,100 professional employees and 1,400 support employees.
The Hoover City School System serves the city of Hoover, which is partially located in Shelby County. Of the system’s 17 schools, four are located in Shelby County. The Hoover system is also regarded as one of the best in Alabama.
Shelby County is home to Alabama’s only public liberal arts university, the University of Montevallo, home to more than 3,000 students.
Jefferson State Community College, a 2-year college, has a campus in North Shelby County that is the largest of its four campuses.
Numerous other colleges and universities offer classes in Shelby County, including Central Alabama Community College, Faulkner University, Southeastern Bible College and ITT Technical Institute.
There are many highly regarded private schools in Shelby County as well, including Indian Springs School, Briarwood Christian School, Kingwood Christian School, Cornerstone Christian School, Coosa Valley Academy and others.
Shelby County was created by an act of the Mississippi Territorial General Assembly on February 7, 1817. It is named for Isaac Shelby, a Revolutionary War soldier and a governor of Kentucky.
The county experienced modest growth through much of its history, with much of its growth coming in the past twenty years as the Birmingham area has grown.
Located in the Birmingham MSA, Shelby Countians enjoy a wealth of cultural opportunities in and around Birmingham. Many cultural groups in Birmingham actively reach out to Shelby County to offer its residents even more opportunities.
Local cultural attractions include the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham, the American Village in Montevallo and the Harrison Museum of George Washington in Columbiana.
Shelby County has many natural wonders, creating ample recreational opportunities for its citizens. Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama’s largest state park, covers more than 9900 acres in the center of the county, offering hiking, fishing, camping, golf and boating.
Many outfitters offer rafting and boating along the Cahaba River, and Lay Lake, along the county’s eastern border, is home to some of the best bass fishing in the country and is a regular stop along the Bassmasters Tour.
There are nearly 20 golf courses in Shelby County, some of which are among the best-rated courses in Alabama and the Southeast.
There is a state-of-the-art racquet club in Pelham, many soccer clubs, dozens of youth sporting leagues and many biking trails in the county as well.
Shelby County is home to five chambers of commerce:
Calera Chamber of Commerce
Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce
Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce
Montevallo Chamber of Commerce
South Shelby Chamber of Commerce
The Shelby County Tourism Board is a good resource for visitors and newcomers.