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Fairhope is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on a sloping plateau, along the cliffs and shoreline of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 15,326. Fairhope is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County. In 2016, Fairhope was named the best small town in the South by Southern Living magazine.
Fairhope was founded in November 1894 on the site of the former Alabama City as a radical Georgist "Single-Tax" colony by the Fairhope Industrial Association, a group of 28 followers of economist Henry George who had incorporated earlier that year in Des Moines, Iowa. Their corporate constitution explained their purpose in founding a new colony:
to establish and conduct a model community or colony, free from all forms of private monopoly, and to secure to its members therein equality of opportunity, the full reward of individual efforts, and the benefits of co-operation in matters of general concern.
In forming their demonstration project, they pooled their funds to purchase land at "Stapleton's pasture" on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay and then divided it into a number of long-term leaseholds. The corporation paid all governmental taxes from rents paid by the lessees, thus simulating a single-tax. The purpose of the single-tax colony was to eliminate disincentives for productive use of land and thereby retain the value of land for the community.
"Fairhope Avenue" was one of the properties on the 1910 version of the board game The Landlord's Game, a precursor of Monopoly.
In 1907 educator Marietta Johnson founded the School for Organic Education in Fairhope. The school was praised in John Dewey's influential 1915 book Schools of Tomorrow. Dewey and Johnson were founding members of the Progressive Education Association.
Fairhope became a popular wintering spot for artists and intellectuals. Sherwood Anderson, Clarence Darrow, Wharton Esherick, Carl Zigrosser, and Upton Sinclair were among its notable visitors.
The Fairhope Single-Tax Corporation still operates, with 1,800 leaseholds covering more than 4,000 acres (16 km2) in and around the current city of Fairhope. Despite the ideals of the corporation, the town has transitioned from utopian experiment to artists' and intellectuals' colony to boutique resort and affluent suburb of Mobile.
For over 50 years, fishermen and residents of Fairhope have experienced the "jubilee" phenomenon. During a jubilee along the shores of Mobile Bay, some aquatic animals, including blue crabs, flounder, stingrays, and eels, come to the shallow water. At those times, it is possible to catch the fish, crabs, and other sea life near the water's edge.
The Weeks Bay Nature Reserve, located 10 miles (16 km) to the southeast, is known for the many oaks, wildlife and pitcher plants along the elevated walkways through the swamp forest.
The Bell Building on the Faulkner State Community College campus houses the Marietta Johnson Museum. The Fairhope Museum of History is located downtown.
Fairhope is located on the shore of Mobile Bay. It is located 6 miles (10 km) south of Daphne and 10 miles (16 km) south of Spanish Fort. U.S. Route 98 (Greeno Road) runs north-south through the city.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31.1 km2), of which 0.019 square mile (0.05 km2), or 0.16%, is water. Its elevation ranges from sea level at the bay to 122 feet (37 m) in the city center.
Fairhope has a humid subtropical climate. It experiences hot, humid summers and generally mild winters, with average temperatures ranging from 81.9 °F (27.7 °C) in the summer to 50.4 °F (10.2 °C) during winter.
As of the census of 2010, there were 15,326 people, 6,732 households, and 4,395 families residing in the city. Its population density was 1,271 per square mile (491/km2). There were 7,659 housing units at an average density of 634.5 per square mile (245.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.1% White, 6.2% Black, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. 2.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,732 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.84.
21.4% of the population was under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 20.4% from 25 to 44, 28.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males. The median income for a household in the city was $66,157, and the median income for a family was $93,549. Males had a median income of $60,591 versus $36,218 for females. The per capita income for the city was $35,086. About 5.0% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
Fairhope is governed by a mayor and five-person city council which was last elected in 2016. The mayor serves as the full-time city executive, while council members serve part-time.
Mayor: Karin Wilson.
Local and national real estate developers have built commercial facilities in the downtown area that are larger than have been historically allowed.
Fairhope's building and zoning ordinances overlap with those of Baldwin County. Residents of the city want more control of construction projects near, but still outside the city limits, while residents outside the city limits want less city control of their property.
Fairhope's public schools are part of the Baldwin County Public Schools system:
Other schools in Fairhope include:
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