Semmes History and Incorporation
The Semmes Community voted on August 17, 2010 by nearly a 3 to 1 margin to become Alabama’s 461st municipality. Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis declared the City of Semmes incorporated with a population of 2,897 on May 2, 2011 after an official census of the municipality was completed. The City of Semmes annexation efforts were led by a group of citizens and friends of Semmes who through their dedicated efforts helped make the City of Semmes’s incorporation a reality.
Semmes is located almost in the center of Mobile County. Alabama and covers over 2100 acres. The Semmes area is bounded to the North by the City of Citronelle, bounded to the East by the City of Saraland and Prichard, bounded to the Southeast by the City of Mobile, and finally bounded to the West by Big Creek Lake.
Historically, the Semmes Community was founded around the railroad and The Semmes Land Company was incorporated in November, 1900. The railroad served an industrial purpose by transporting yellow pine from areas north of the community, as well as providing transportation services for passengers. The community was named for Admiral Raphael Semmes (1809-1877), an officer in the United States Navy from 1826 to 1860 and the Confederate States Navy from 1860 to 1865.
Once known as the “nursery capital of the world”, Semmes is best known for it’s large nurseries that produce ornamental shrubs, the most popular being the azalea. Our subtropical climate is ideal for growing many varieties or ornamentals. Our nurseries grow many of the azaleas and camellias sold throughout the United States and several varieties developed at Semmes nurseries have won national recognition and awards. Locally owned nurseries have become a large part of the City’s character and charm contributing to the rich agricultural heritage which abounds within our community.
The Semmes Annual Camellia Show held each January in Semmes and sponsored by the Alumni and Friends of Semmes School, AKA Semmes Heritage Park is an outstanding exhibit of professional, locally grown “hothouse” camellias, as well as amateur exhibitors of this beautiful flower. The event boasts an exceptional display of camellias from local residents, nurseries, and professional growers. Displays at the show feature camellia propagation, camellia artwork, tea plant growing, tea processing and is capped by a presentation from a guest lecturer.