The population of Fort Payne is around 15,000 people. This small town has all of the comforts of southern living with easy access to the surrounding areas. Its many attractions include the Little River Canyon National Preserve and DeSoto State Park. The Coosa River also flows through the city. This city has been called the "City of Huddles".
By the end of the nineteenth century, Fort Payne had become more like a New England city. The area had a barber shop and shoe shop. Many residents considered Fort Payne to be the Pittsburgh of the South. Then, the city was hit by a depression and its population fell below 1700. The city's future depended on small businesses and the surrounding agricultural area.
Fort Payne's central business district is centered around the intersection of Gault Avenue and First Street. This road serves as the town's main thoroughfare. The intersection was once on axis with the courthouse of DeKalb County. The intersection features a two-story building on each corner. The Fort Payne Historic District is a historic area in which numerous buildings from the city's past have survived.
A new library was opened in Fort Payne in 1930. It was named after Mary C. Weatherly, wife of G. I. Weatherly, president of the First National Bank. It served DeKalb County for almost 40 years. She did not receive any compensation for her work. Despite the recession, Mary C. Weatherly continued to volunteer her time in the library, serving the citizens of DeKalb County for over four decades.