Verbena United Methodist Church was the first church constructed in Verbena, Alabama in 1877.
Verbena, also known as Summerfield, is an unincorporated community in southeastern Chilton County, Alabama, United States. Named for the indigenous flower, Verbena developed into a popular resort location for the more affluent citizenry of Montgomery, the state’s capital, during the yellow fever outbreaks of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many stately homes, some of which have undergone recent renovation and restoration, line the streets of the town as a reminder of this historic past.
The town was built beside the railroad currently owned by CSX Transportation. In its heyday, Verbena had two hotels, a bank, a post office, and a general store. Many of those buildings are gone or boarded up today, but the Verbena United Methodist Church still stands on County Road 59 near the town’s center.
According to the U.S. Census in 1890, Verbena showed a population of 756, making it the largest community in Chilton County at that time.
Clanton, Alabama was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town. Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power’s first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county’s peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
The Wetumpka Impact Crater is the only confirmed meteorite crater in Alabama, United States. It is located east of downtown Wetumpka in Elmore County, Alabama. The crater is 7.6 km in diameter and its age is estimated to be about 83 million years (Cretaceous) old based on fossils found in the youngest disturbed deposits, which belong to the Mooreville Chalk. The crater is well preserved, including the original impact rim and breccia, but exposures are few owing to plant and soil cover, and nearly all are on private land. Thornton L. Neathery discovered the Wetumpka Crater in 1969-70 during regional geological mapping and published the first article on the subject in 1976. However, conclusive evidence of impact origin was lacking until 1998 when David T. King, Jr. and colleagues discovered shocked quartz in a core drilled near the center of the structure. In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as an internationally recognized impact crater.
Each year, the city of Wetumpka sponsors annual ‘crater tours’ for the public in cooperation with local landowners and authorities. In March 2007, the Geological Society of America sponsored an international field forum for impact geologists led by David T. King, Jr. and Jens Ormö.
In May of 2007, Auburn University graduate student Reuben Johnson earned his master’s degree studying the impact crater. This work added to a growing body of evidence that Wetumpka’s crystalline “rim” may instead mark the edge of a deep central basin within what was originally a much larger impact crater that has since been almost completely eroded away.