Ragland is located in northeast St. Clair County the east-central part of the state. It has a mayor/council form of government. Rudy York, long-time major league baseball player in the late 1930s to mid-1940s, was born in Ragland.
Originally known as Trout Creek, the community that would become Ragland sprang up around several coal mines in the decade before the Civil War. The mines supplied coal to the Brierfield Furnace, which manufactured weapons for the Confederacy. The mines closed briefly until the railroad came through in 1882. The town then expanded around the railroad stop that served coal mines in the area owned by George Ragland.
In September 1899, citizens of the town petitioned for incorporation under the name Ragland. Coal mining and the timber industry were the main economic drivers during its early years, in addition to a cement plant and a brick manufacturer. Cotton was a main cash crop until the land became depleted from overuse. Ragland's first school was constructed as early as 1907. A new city hall and jail were built in 1913, and a fire company was organized in 1916 after several destructive blazes in the business district. Brick manufacturing remains an essential part of the Ragland economy today, as does the production of of cement.
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