Town of Fruithurst
Fruithurst is located in the northern area of Cleburne County. A small rural community called Summitt Cut was the beginning of Fruithurst. The Southern Railway figured prominently in the founding of Fruithurst. Summitt Cut was settled around 1880. The settlers were primarily of Scotch-Irish descent and farmers from the Carolinas and Georgia. The primary crop was cotton. Cotton prices began to decline and the farmers sold out their land to a gentleman from Massachusetts and other northern investors (approximately 20,000 acres). The investors divided the land into town and vineyard lots, and they persuaded other northerners to move south and purchase them. The investors named the town Fruithurst. The town was incorporated in 1896, by an act of the Alabama Legislature. The investors envisioned an area of fruit trees and grape vineyards. By 1898, Fruithurst had become a real boomtown with people pouring into the area. The city was laid out with diagonal streets, joining parallel avenues linking the entire city together. There were gardens, parks and an experimental station. The experimental station contained approximately 105 varieties of grapes, an orchard, berry patches and rose and vegetable gardens.
Numerous exclusive businesses were established in Fruithurst, a real tribute to the Yankee ingenuity. Of all the buildings erected in Fruithurst, the Fruithurst Inn was the showplace of the town. It claimed to be one of the finest hotels in the South and was justly qualified to make the statement. There were several churches established and several wineries were in operation. Vineyard owners joined together to form the Fruithurst Vineyard Improvement Association. Fruithurst prospered. Then, prohibition came along and stopped the wine making. The vineyards fell by the wayside. The great depression struck and while some of the transplants stayed, many of the immigrants left.
Very little is left of the town that was once known as the pride of the northern Alabama hills. Many of these historical parts of Fruithurst have vanished, however, a few scattered old Victorian houses remain. The grave markers in the cemeteries are a reminder of the many immigrants who once lived, worked, and played in the now small town of Fruithurst.
The Wine industry is making a comeback with the establishment of Fruithurst Winery Company. Surrounded by fifteen acres of muscadine vineyards, owned and operated by two cousins Josh and Dylan Laminack, it carries the elegance and culture of what was then and will forever be the vineyard village.
Town of Fruithurst Leadership and Contacts
Mayor James Owens, City Clerk Charlotte Funderburk – (256)579-7717