The odd relationship of Phil Campbells to the town of Phil Campbell started at the very beginning.
In the 1880s, a railroad work crew leader and engineer by the name of -- yep -- Phillip Campbell (originally from England) once established a work camp in northwest Alabama. Mel Allen, a prominent local businessman, told Mr. Campbell if he would construct a railroad depot and add a side track to the stretch of railroad going through the area, he would name the subsequent town after Campbell. Both men lived up to their side of the deal: Mr. Campbell built both the depot and siding, leading to the creation and naming of the new town.
Below is an interview with a local historian that provides a history of the town:
The first school in Phil Campbell was a two story frame building constructed in 1910. It was located at the back of the Phil Campbell Methodist Church. The school was subsequently destroyed by fire. The second school was constructed in 1915 and was located at the site of the present school on Alabama State Route 13 in Phil Campbell. This school was a small wooden building. Like the previous school, this school was also destroyed by fire. The fire began at six o'clock in the evening on Christmas Day, 1924.During the next two years, school was held in local church buildings, the town's former bank building, and the U.S. Post Office building located near the railroad. Graduation services for the first accredited Phil Campbell High School class were conducted in the Phil Campbell Methodist Church. The year was 1926 and the class had eight graduating members. The third Phil Campbell school was completed in 1926. There were two buildings, a main classroom building and a vocational school. After the main building was destroyed by fire in 1954, the school buildings were reconstructed.
The history of the town is still being written. After an EF-5 struck the town, devastating much of it, in April of 2011, Phil Campbell has been working to rebuild.