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Houston County Formed February 9, 1903

Rickey Stokes

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Posted by: RStokes
rstokes1450@gmail.com
334-790-1729
Date: Feb 09 2019 9:06 PM

HOUSTON COUNTY:    It was on this date, February 9, 1903 that the Alabama Legislature created "HOUSTON COUNTY ALABAMA".


Houston County was named in honor of Alabama Governor George Smith Houston who came from Lamar County Alabama.


On March 16, 1903 "Dothan" was chosen as the county seat for Houston County. The first Houston County Courthouse was constructed as a brick building in 1905 and remained until 1962.At that time a more modern courthouse was constructed. The Houston County Commission renovated the courthouse in 2003.


Houston County was formed by the Alabama Legislature taking 3/4 of the land from


( 72%)  Henry County Alabama with the remainder from Dale and Geneva County.


The existence of Houston County is owed to the existence to the political leaders who during the 1901 Constitutional Convention eliminated the requirement that counties have an area of at least 600 square miles.


The main argument for the creation of the new county was the great distance citizens in the lower half of Henry County had to travel to pay taxes and attend legal affairs.


A branch of the courthouse was established in 1894 but proved insufficient for residents of lower Henry County.


Some facts according to the encyclopediaofalabama.org.


Houston County produces one fourth of the nation's peanuts, rightly giving Houston County the title " PEANUT CAPITAL OF THE WORLD".


Houston County is the birthplace and childhood home of College Football Hall of Famer and Western Film Star Johnny Mack Brown ( 1904 - 1974 ).


Houston County is governed by a 5 member elected commission consisting of one Chairman and four commissioners.


Houston County has 577 square miles of which the City of Dothan lies in Houston County and not Houston County being in the City of Dothan. Dothan is the largest municipality of the county with an estimated population of 68,066 according to the 2016 census. 


Currently the muncipalities in Houston County are Taylor, Rehobeth, Madrid, Cottonwood, Cowarts, Ashford, Gordon, Columbia, Webb and Kinsey.


The 2016 census estimate for Houston County was 103,891 people. Of that total 69.6% of the respondents identified themselves as white, 26.6% identified themselves as African American, 3.2% as Hispanic, 1.8% as two or more races, .08% as Asian and 0.4% as Native American. 


Houston County's major waterway is the Chattahochee River.


The major highways in Houston County are Highway 231 and U.S. 84.


 The median household income in 2016 was $ 41,945.00, compared with $ 44,758.00 for the state as a whole. The per capita income was $ 24,086.00 compared with $ 24,736.00 for the state as a whole.


Like most of Alabama, farming was the prevailing occupation in the area that became Houston County until well into the 20th century. The region's relative isolation and seemingly poor soil meant that it was sparsely settled until after the Civil War.


Prior to that time only a few subsistence farms existed in the area. 


After the war, the timber industry boomed as lumbering interests rushed in to take advantage of the longleaf pine forests that covered the county. 


During the early years of the 20th century farmers realized that the sandy soil could be made fertile with the aid of commercial fertilizers, and the county became a cotton producing region.


The arrival of the boll weevil in the early 20th century forced a shift from cotton to crops such as peanuts, corn and pecans as well as the raising of livestock.


Peanuts came so important to the county's economy that approximately half of the peanuts produced in the United States are grown within a 100 mile radius of Dothan.


With the introduction of hydroelectric power in the 1930's, Houston County moved from an agriculture-based economy to an industry-based economy, although most major industries in the county remained tied to the land in the form of textile factories or food-production factories.


According to the 2016 census estimates the workforce of Houston County was divided among the following categories:


Educational services, healthcare and social assistance - 24.0%


Retail trade - 14.5%


Manufacturing - 9.6%


Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services - 9.2%


Transportation and warehousing and utilities  - 7.8%


Professional, scientific, management, and waste management services - 7.3%


Construction - 6.0 %


Other services, except public administration - 5.7%


Public Administration - 4.9%


Finance and Insurance and real estate, rental and leasing 4.1%


Wholesale trade - 3.6%


Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive 1.6%


Information 1.6%


The Houston County School system employs more than 670 teachers and administrators who serve approximately 6,100 students in 11 primary and secondary schools. 


Dothan City Schools employ more than 1,100 teachers and administrators in 20 primary and secondary schools, serving nearly 8,700 students ( 2016 Census ). 


Troy University has a branch campus that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as continuing education courses and distance learning opportunities. Located in Dothan, Wallace Community College offers two year associate degrees as well as career and technical programs.


Comprising of more than 575 square miles, Houston County lies in the Southeast corner of the State of Alabama. The county is part of the Coastal Plain physiographic section and consists pf sandy and shallow soils dotted throughout with pine forests. 


The Chattahochee River and its lower tributaries flow throughout Houston County. Because the Chattahochee River is one of the most dammed rivers in the southeast, its physical and biological system have been severely altered during the last half century. The overall biological diversity of the river has declined, and several fish and mussel species are at risk.


U.S. Highway 231 and U.S. Highway 84 are Houston County's main transportation routes with the Dothan-Houston County Airport being the county's only airport.


Houston County offers a number of recreational activities with Landmark Park, National Peanut Festival, Wiregrass Museum of Art, colorful murals of pictorial history downtown,  Dothan Opera House, and the Mile Marker of in Popular Head Park.


 


 


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