Its founders named their town Fairhope before it existed because they believed it had a “fair hope of success.” A utopian group of idealists – many from Iowa – settled the town as a social experiment based on the theory of a single tax on land regardless of improvements. A group of 28 settlers arrived at Battles Wharf in November 1894 to establish what became the oldest and largest single-tax colony in the world.
The unique village drew freethinkers, artists and intellectuals, sculptors and writers, Socialists and Quakers, even nudists and free-lovers. Major reformers of the 20th century from Dewey to Darrow made pilgrimages to Fairhope.
Today you’ll find noted authors like Winston Groom, Fanny Flagg, Sonny Brewer and Rick Bragg…. and perhaps the next best-seller penning a novel at the Fairhope Writer’s Cottage behind the library. The turn of the century Organic School founded by progressive educator Marietta Johnson still welcomes students. All in a town nestled among 4,500 acres of public park and greenspace welcoming theater on the bluff, fishing off the pier or just relaxing at dusk to watch the sun disappear into the bay.
Fairhope’s independent character remains – along with the special bay life that drew its founders a century ago.