Sylacauga is a city in Talladega County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 12,749. Nicknames for Sylacauga include "The Marble City", "Buzzard's Roost", "Alabama’s Best-Kept Secret" and "Sly Town".
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. It was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 9 lb piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first settlers in the Coosa River Valley were the Creek Indians whose later encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 by Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier.
Sylacauga was first mentioned in Hernando de Soto's records in 1540. It was later listed in the French territorial records in 1759 as being a town inhabited by 50 Shawnee Indian warriors, and the name then known as Chalakagay. Late in the summer of 1836 all of the Indians remaining in Alabama were taken west by the United States government. The name Sy-la-cau-ga is derived from the Indian words Chalaka-ge which mean "The Place of the Chalaka Tribe". The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga.
Several important roads traversed the region as early as the 1830s. Numerous ferries were put across the rivers. In 1852, a plank road was built from Montgomery to Winterboro, Alabama, passing through Sylacauga. The first railroad through Sylacauga was the Anniston and Atlantic Railroad on December 1, 1886. In 1838, the first Sylacauga post office was established, with George Washington Stone, later Chief Justice Stone of Alabama, as postmaster.
The first newspaper, the Sylacauga Argus, made its appearance in 1887. The paper was printed and edited in Calera by H.G. McCall.
Sylacauga's main thoroughfare is Broadway Avenue. The first building on this street was built in 1890 by the Smith Brothers.
Sylacauga, "The Marble City", is constructed on a solid deposit of the hardest, whitest marble in the world. The bed is approximately 32 miles long by 1.5 miles wide and 400 feet deep. Some of the most beautiful buildings in the country, such as the United States Supreme Court, the Al Jolson Shrine in California, the Woolworth building in Houston, Texas, and many others have been constructed and ornamented with Sylacauga marble.
Sylacauga is located slightly to the east of the geographical center of the state of Alabama in Talladega County. The city is roughly 51 miles southeast of Birmingham, 63 miles north of Montgomery, and 40 miles southwest of Anniston, Alabama.