Founded by railroad investors and incorporated on May 6, 1891. Pell City was named for one of the financial backers, George Hamilton Pell of New York. Nearly disappearing after the panic of 1893, the town was redeveloped after 1901 by Sumter Cogswell and his wife, Lydia DeGaris Cogswell, along with other local investors and businessmen. Mr. Cogswell influenced the location here in 1902 of the Pell City Manufacturing Company, subsequently, Avondale Mills. The town's prosperity was secured after that time. The Historic District encompasses two long blocks along Cogswell Avenue from Nineteenth Street to Twenty-first Street and several buildings on Nineteenth and Twenty-first Streets North and Twentieth Street South. The only building to survive the earlier period was the Maxwell Building constructed in 1890. The majority of the historic structures were built in the years between 1902 and 1903. The Downtown District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Cotober 29, 2001.