Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2015 population of 62,059 and it is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. Auburn is a town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabamas fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990, U. S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The citys unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains, ” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith, inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County and these settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area. Auburn was incorporated on February 2,1839, in what was then Macon County, by that time, Methodist and Baptist churches had been established, and a school had been built and had come into operation. In the mid-1840s, separate academies for boys and girls were established in addition to the primary school and this concentration of educational institutions led to a rapid influx of families from the planter class into Auburn in the 1840s and 1850s. By 1858, of the roughly 1,000 free residents of Auburn, in 1856, the state legislature chartered a Methodist college, the East Alabama Male College in Auburn. This college, now Auburn University, opened its doors in 1859, with the advent of the Civil War in 1861, Auburn quickly emptied. All of the closed, and most businesses shuttered. Auburn was the site of a hospital for Texan Confederate soldiers, after the Civil War, Auburn’s economy entered a prolonged depression that would last the remainder of the century. Public schools did not reopen until the mid-1870s, and most businesses remained closed, a series of fires in the 1860s and 1870s gutted the downtown area. Passage of the Hatch Act in 1887 allowed for expansion of research facilities on campus. In 1892, the became the first four-year college in Alabama to admit women. This, combined with increased interest in agriculture and engineering and new funding from business licenses. By 1910, Auburns population had returned to its antebellum level, SIAA Conference championships won by the Auburn college’s football team brought attention and support to Auburn, and helped fill the citys coffers. Fortunes were quickly reversed with the collapse of prices in the early 1920s
Image: Auburn AL Above
Local artist Bruce Larsen (foreground) confronts a Ku Klux Klan member at an Auburn rally in 1986.