Settled in the early 1800's, this is one of
the first settlements in Etowah County. Rainbow City extends from Gadsden
on the North to the county line on the South and East to the Coosa River.
Geographically, it boasts rolling green hills and a multitude of various tree
Rainbow City was named after
U.S. Highway 411, called Rainbow Drive, which runs through the middle of the
city. However, some of the older citizens say it was named after Alabama’s
Rainbow Division that fought in World War I.
As early as 1818, families from the
Carolinas and Georgia began to migrate to the area and homestead land near the
Coosa River. Between 2828 and 1830 landowners were the families of Edmond Jones;
James Brown; John Choat; Mark Phillips; James Lister; Berry Dodd; Henry B. Boyd;
John H. Garrett; and Samuel Walker. Later settlers included the Gilbert,
Dunaway, Littlefield, McDaniel, Lee, Best, Wright, Newton, Dismuke, Gilliland,
and Sheffield families.
Hernando DeSoto’s troops were
the first visitors to the area in 1540 and today a bridge now stands where the
Pensacola Trading Path crossed the Coosa River. A paved highway now traces the
trail that was cut from Horseshoe Bend to Nashville by Gen. Stonewall Jackson on
his way to fight the Creek Indians in a battle known today as the Battle of
Known in the beginning as Coosa Bend, it was
later called Morgan's Cross Road. It was located at the intersection of
the Gadsden-Ashville Road and Gilberts Ferry Road. The land was passed from
Edmond Jones to his son, Clayton, who never married. When he died, the land
passed to his sister, Luvica Morgan, who was also the wife of William Morgan.
John Sheffield Jones, the grandson of Edmond
Jones, an original settler, donated $1000 and the land for construction of the
John S. Jones Elementary School. Later, John S. Jones burned to the ground
and a new elementary school was built and serves the Rainbow City area today.
Old Harmony Baptist Church is the oldest
church in the county. On Saturday, April 2, 1831 the church was organized at the
Harmony Meeting House. Thomas Morgan served as the first pastor. A few years
later, the first Baptist Association was organized by Rev. John Gilliland.
Harmony was one of the first five members in the association. The
adjoining cemetery, which is still in existence today, has been the burial place
of many of the oldest families in Etowah County.
Rainbow City incorporated may 29, 1950.
W.R. Smith was the first mayor.
The city has more than doubled in population
each decade with approximately 9,000 residents today.