Prattville City Hall is located at 101 West Main Street, Prattville, AL 36067.
Photo: Bell House (a.k.a. Briggs House), circa 1893, located at 550 Upper Kingston Road, Prattville, AL. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Photographed by user:Chris Pruitt (own work), 2010, [cc-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed April, 2023.
Since 1868 Prattville [†] has served as the county seat of Autauga County, one of the earliest settled areas in Alabama. The county (which is actually older than the state itself) was created in 1818 out of a part of the territory ceded by the Creek Indians in the Treaty of 1814. Both the county and Autauga Creek, on which Prattville is located, take their name from the "Autaugi" band of Creek Indians who inhabited the area. Prattville takes its name from its founder, Daniel Pratt, a native of New England who came south to Savannah, Georgia in 1819. While in Georgia, Mr. Pratt perfected his trade of carpenter and architect, skills which also led him into a partnership to build the relatively new device known as the cotton gin. Showing the same foresight which guided him throughout life, Mr. Pratt saw the great potential market for cotton gins in the South. He decided to move to Alabama, find a place with readily available timber and water power, and build a business based on gin manufacturing.
In 1833 Daniel Pratt moved to Autauga County and built the first cotton gin ever constructed in Alabama. At first, he had a difficult time locating a site which met his requirements and that he could also afford. Then. in 183 5 he purchased I, 000 acres along the Autauga Creek: a location which would prove to be most profitable for him and that would become the Town of Prattville in August of 1865. No other industry in the State of Alabama has operated continuously for as long as the cotton gin factory established in 1838. Known today as Continental Eagle, the cotton gin factory has also been known as "the world's largest manufacturer of cotton gins." But, the gin shop was only one of the factories begun by Mr. Pratt. He also built a grist mill, a saw mill, a flour mill, a sash and door factory, a wool textile mill, and a cotton textile mill. Still operating in town today is the Gurney Manufacturing Company which is an outgrowth of the Daniel Pratt Cotton Factory, a textile mill. Gurney is the "oldest successful cotton mill in Alabama" and some of the current factory is still housed in the original buildings built by Pratt in 1846.
Obviously, the economic climate in Prattville has been favorable to industry for a long time. It has been stated that during the 19th Century, "no other town of its size in America could make as good an industrial showing as Prattville, Alabama." Mr. Pratt was always an avid promoter of industry and manufacturing. He took every opportunity to promote a strong industrial base in the South to balance the region's agricultural strength. He is considered to be "Alabama's first industrialist."
Until 1967, when Union Camp Corporation built a paper mill in Prattville, almost the entire population of the city was employed by the two original industries: the cotton gin factory and the textile mill. Since then though, the city has added many successful smaller industries and service businesses, and Continental Eagle, Gurney Manufacturing and Union Camp have continued to thrive and grow here, providing good stable employment to hundreds of Prattville citizens. Today, Prattville continues to be one of Alabama's strongest communities. The city has been able to maintain its small town, friendly atmosphere in one of the most historically industrial towns in America.
† Planning Prattville into the 21st Cewntury, comprehensive plan, 1995, www.prattville.gov, accessed April, 2023.