History of the City of Prichard
In 1914, Prichard was just a small settlement. Wilson Avenue was only around five blocks long, and the site of present day Vigor High School was occupied by two vegetable farms. For the most part, the Prichard settlement was located on the Southside of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad track. Only downtown streets such as Wilson Ave., Main, Clark, and Holmes had any noticeable amount of residents on them.
Prichard remained a village until shortly after the beginning of World War I. As a result of the Chickasaw Shipbuilding plant and building of the town of Chickasaw by the Tennessee Coal & Iron Company, the population of Prichard increased very rapidly.
On August 4, 1925, an election was held that allowed the property owners of Prichard to decide whether it should be incorporated as a town or not. 116 votes were cast that day, and the Incorporation passed with a count of 93 – 23. From henceforth, after roughly two hundred years as a settlement, Prichard would be recognized as a city.
According to a map on file in the probate court, the new municipality included an area of approximately one square mile, with 1,000 homes and an estimated population of 5,000.
On October 1, 1925 Jasper S. Mills was elected the first Mayor of Prichard and other council positions were also assigned. Mills was voted to earn a salary of $100 per year.
The first City Council was composed of: Dr. Porter Mixon, Messrs E.B Frasch, Charles Rogers, Otto M. Wiggins and Mr. Thomas Wilkins. Mr. Gus E. Dixon was appointed Chief of Police. He served voluntarily and was later paid a $25.00 a month salary.
The first administration appointed the committees of Ordinances, Taxation, Public Service Corporation, Finances, Public Safety, Sewers and Sidewalks, Special Committee to Prepare and Report a Budget, and the Committee to Determine compensation for the new administration.
With these committees in place, the City began structuring its financial footing and regulating order. Prichard had began its journey and legacy as a sustainable municipality.
Today the City of Prichard consists of 896 square miles, and a population of over 22,000. A figure the dwindles the initial numbers of the City’s incorporation.
The current Mayor of the City of Prichard, is Jimmie Gardner. Mayor Gardner, elected to office in 2016, has taken stance on the initiatives of Public Safety, Economic Development, and Transparent Financial Reform. Along with these initiatives, the Mayor is also working tirelessly to strengthen communication between the City and its citizens, as well as revitalize the businesses and residential communities of the City of Prichard.