Harpersville is one of Shelby County's oldest communities. Its existence precedes that of Shelby County and the State of Alabama. Big Springs, as Harpersville was originally called, was settled around 1815 by the Harper and Kidd families. Prime farmland, the abundance of creeks, springs and branches are what attracted the first families. Soon after the first settlers, other from North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia took up residency here. They established a store, blacksmith shop, a steam-driven cotton gin and a variety of other businesses. Mail delivery followed and community prosperity soon led to a regular stage coach stop. Early settlers made one-room schools characteristic of the area. These led to the construction of Elmhill Academy which attracted both out-of-town and out-of-state students who boarded in the community. Harpersville soon became well known for its educational facilities and cultural activities.
One of its native sons, Henry B. Walthal, was a stage and silent film actor and a pioneer in Hollywood. "The Florida Short Route" or Highway 280 has brought many opportunities to Harpersville. In 1945, Harpersville officially incorporated. Shortly after incorporation, the town purchased the old Harpersville School and converted it into the Town Hall and municipal complex. Harpersville has produced two NBA stars, George McGinnis (Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers) and Warren Kidd of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Tulane brothers were also prominent residents of Harpersville for a short time and there are two Revolutionary War Heroes buried here. Some of Harpersville's historic sites and structures are: Civil War Fort Ruins, Wallace-Klein Plantation, Chancellor Home, Newman Ruck House, Borum-Darby House, Old Baker Farm, Scott-Bradford Estate and Harpersville Garden of Memories, in which Chief Boz Sheppard, the last chief of the Kewohatchie Indians and his family are buried.