Demopolis is located at the confluence of the Tombigbee River and Black Warrior River atop a chalk cliff, known locally as White Bluff. The settlement was founded and named by a group of political exiles who had been banished from France following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. This group reached White Bluff on July 14, 1817 with the intention of establishing the “Vine and Olive Colony”. This was an unsuccessful venture to develop an agricultural settlement that grew wine grapes and olive trees. These French settlers named their settlement Demopolis which is a Greek word that means the “People’s City” or “City of the People”.
Today, Demopolis is the largest city in Marengo County – population 7540 according to the 2000 census. It is located on beautiful Demopolis Lake which is the largest lake in the Black Warrior-Tombigbee system. The lake extends 48 miles upriver on the Black Warrior, 53 miles up the Tombigbee and covers 10,000 acres. There is a beautiful U. S. Army Corp of Engineers’ campground and a large, full service yacht marina located on the lake in Demopolis.
Demopolis is one of the most historic towns in the Alabama Black Belt. It has eleven individual properties and one historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and thirteen properties listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage (ARLH). These listings include historic homes, churches, businesses and a beautiful one square block park that is one of the oldest parks in Alabama. Demopolis, AL also has a long theater tradition. (text and photos courtesy RuralSWAlabama.org)