Originally named Baine County, what is now Etowah County was created in 1866. The county was abolished in 1868 by the state's Constitutional Convention and reestablished on the same day under the name of Etoah, which is from the Cherokee language.
In terms of land area, Etowah is the smallest county in Alabama. Its population of 99,840 is 15 percent black and 85 percent white. Its county seat is Gadsden.
Most people in the county are high school graduates. The county is home to 27 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 13 high schools, a technical school and one two-year college.
Tourist attractions include Noccalula Falls, a 90-foot waterfall named after a Cherokee princess who, as legend has it, plunged to her death over the falls rather than forsake her true love.
Etowah County's chief agricultural product is poultry. The largest industries in the area are Goodyear Tires and Tyson Foods.
The Extension office employs five people full time and 6 part time. This includes 2 Regional Extension Agents who also work in other counties. There are 11 other REAs who serve Etowah County in specific program areas. The Master Gardener program is very popular, and the Master Gardener horticulture hotline that is located here serves eight northeast Alabama counties. There are around 2,000 young people who participate in traditional 4-H clubs or 4-H enrichment groups in their school or community. Agriculture, Family & Consumer Science, Expanded Foods and Nutrition are other program areas covered by Extension.