In 1860, the center of commerce in Baldwin County ran along the rivers with the remainder of the county mostly wilderness. In 1861, with secession declared, the Alabama Legislature allocated funds to finish the stalled Mobile and Great Northern Railroad from Pollard to Tensaw Landing. With some effort, this was finished November 15, 1861. The settlers on Minette Bay, south of Bay Minette's current location, recognized the importance of the railroad and moved to a high level spot near the center of the county. This place promised to be good for agriculture, and its location on the railroad boded well for industry. Minette Bay and Bay Minette are named for the French surveyor Minette. On October 1, 1901, the Alabama Legislature named Bay Minette the county seat due to its centralized location. The old county seat at Daphne refused to surrender the records and men from Bay Minette literally stole them in the middle of the night.
Although Bay Minette was the county seat, it was not incorporated until 1907. In that same year, the Fort Morgan Railroad was completed from Bay Minette to Foley. It was soon sold to the L&N Railroad and operated until 1984. The railroads opened up the center and eastern sides of the county with Bay Minette as the nexus of rail operations. Bay Minette became the center of industry and transportation for the county and the center of agriculture for North Baldwin County. Bay Minette is still the center of industry and agriculture in Baldwin County and with the addition of the nearby interstate highway and roads leading in every direction from the county courthouse, it is still a leader in transportation.
Erected by the Alabama Tourism Department and the City of Bay Minette