Helena, Alabama

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Helena is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. Helena is considered a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Greater Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area. It is also one of three cities, along with Alabaster and Pelham, that make up the area known as "North Shelby" or "North Shelby County". As of the 2000 census the population was 10,296. Helena is highly regarded as a place to live and raise children; Business Week named Helena the 13th "Best Place to Raise Your Kids" in 2007.[1] It has the eighth lowest crime rate per population in the U.S., and the city was ranked in Money Magazine's 2007 list of "Best Places to Live: Top 100" in the U.S., placing at number 91.[2] The Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Award (population 10,001 to 20,000).[3]



The community that would become Helena started in 1845 as the town of Cove. In 1856 the town changed its name to Hillsboro, at the same time as a rolling mill was built. This rolling mill would produce arms for the Confederacy and would later be destroyed by Union raiders at the end of the Civil War.

During Reconstruction, railroads would be extended through Helena as part of the post-war development of central Alabama’s mineral resources. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad sent an engineer named Pete Boyle to survey a route south from Birmingham to Montgomery, Alabama. The station established near the town of Hillsboro was named Helena after Boyle’s sweetheart, Helen Lee. After the area around the station developed and encompassed the town of Hillsboro, the community incorporated to become the City of Helena. The City's first mayor was M.H. Williams, a railroad agent.

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