History Happened Here

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Escambia County

Year Founded: 1945


Timber and lumber are the key words identified with Century’s founding and history. In July 1900, General Russell Alexander Alger and Martin H. Sullivan, among others, formed the Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company to establish lumber operations in the South and located a mill two miles south of the Alabama-Florida state line. The company built the mill and an entire town after George M. Pullman’s model town in Illinois. Pullman constructed a town adjacent to his factory with its own housing, shopping areas, churches, theaters, parks, hotel and library for his employees. Alger, along with Pullman, believed that country air and fine facilities without agitators, saloons and city vice districts would result in a happy, loyal workforce. The mill town was named Century in 1901 because of the company’s optimism for economic development and the community’s emergence at the dawn of a new century. The Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company was the first in the west Florida region to adopt a policy of reforestation on a large scale. Because of this policy, the company lasted for much more than the founders’ original intent of ten-fifteen years. Over one hundred years later and nearly 50 years after the mill closed, the Town of Century remains virtually intact as an example of a planned company town. The mill town area of Century agreed to annexation by the Town of South Flomaton (formed in 1945) if it would first change its name to Century. The Town of Century annexed the unincorporated area known as Century on April 22, 1980. With annexation, the town grew from 493 persons to 2,394.

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