Alabaster is a sprawling suburban city in Shelby County, whose population tripled between 1980 and 2000. Its name refers to the white calcium carbonate mineral mined in the area. The city is situated between Birmingham and Clanton, along Highway 119. The surrounding area gives Alabaster a small town feel with a large town, Birmingham, nearby. Shelby County was established in 1818 by an act of the Alabama Territorial General Assembly, before Alabama attained statehood. In 1925, Joseph Elam Walker organized the first retail business in what was to become Alabaster. More people arrived to live in housing provided by the Alabaster Lime Company. Alabaster was located adjacent to Siluria and was served by its post office until it obtained its own in 1951. The following year, the First Bank of Alabaster opened. Its president was George L. Scott Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. Alabaster was incorporated in 1953 by a vote of its residents, following a failed attempt the previous year. Siluria was incorporated in 1954. The two communities saw the advantage of combining and in 1971, Siluria was merged into Alabaster. Construction of the Shelby County Hospital was begun in Alabaster in 1958 and finished in 1959. In 1996, the county agreed to sell the hospital to Baptist Health Systems for $45 million in cash. The hospital is now known as the Baptist Health Center. Nearby museums include the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum in Montevallo and the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera.