Thorsby, Alabama

Thorsby is a small Central Alabama town located in Chilton County. Thorsby was first settled in 1895 and incorporated in 1901 by Scandinavian immigrants who had originally settled in the midwestern United States, but who were seeking a milder climate and fertile soil for growing food. One of those earliest settlers was Theodore T. Thorson, for whom the town was eventually named (the suffix “by” meaning “settlement” in Scandinavian languages). The town grew quickly, with two hotels, a sawmill and lumber company, and two wineries being built within the first couple of years. The town of Thorsby was declared a promised land for northerners looking to relocate to a warmer climate, suitable for farming and better health. The fertile soil of the South produced grapes in large numbers, along with other fruits such as strawberries, and the peaches for which Chilton County is famous. The founders formed the Concordia Land and Improvement Association and began advertising in New England newspapers about the “utopia” they had discovered in the Southeastern United States. Many traveled by railroad to purchase a tract of land and start a better life. Thorsby became affectionately known as the little “Swede town” by locals.