The area on which Florala now stands was the site of one of Gen. Andrew Jackson's encampments during the Creek War of 1813-1814, After the removal of the Creek Indians from the area following their defeat in the Creek War, settlers slowly began to populate the area. By 1875, the town had grown enough to warrant the establishment of a post office and was initially called called Lake City. The name was changed to Lakeview in 1877 and to Florala in 1891 in recognition of its position on the border with Florida. The town was incorporated in 1901. The Jackson Lumber Company, one of the major early industries in the area, was established in 1902, and other lumber companies quickly followed.
The early part of the twentieth century was a boom time for Florala because of the burgeoning forestry and naval stores industry. The town's population increased from 300 in 1900 to more than 2,000 by 1910, and it boasted numerous businesses, two hotels, and an opera house (which burned in 1913). Textile manufacturing and agriculture also became important to the local economy. At one time, the Yellow River (1898), Louisville and Nashville (1903), and Central of Georgia (1904) railroads all had lines through Florala. By 1904, a telephone system was well-established in town, and an electric system was established in 1906.
With the coming of the Great Depression, the depletion of area forests, and the eventual demise of the textile industry, Florala began depending more on tourism to 500-acre Lake Jackson to sustain the local economy. By the early 1940s, all three railroad lines had ceased operations in Florala.
Florala's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,980. Of that number, 80.1 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 15.8 percent as African American, 2.8 percent as Hispanic, 2.3 percent as two or more races, 0.8 percent as Native American, and 0.4 percent as Asian. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $30,833, and the per capita income was $16,344.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Florala was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (20.7 percent)
· Public administration (16.7 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (12.0 percent)
· Retail trade (11.6 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (10.2 percent)
· Construction (8.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (6.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (5.5 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.2 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.1 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (1.4 percent)
· Wholesale trade (0.9 percent)
· Information (0.6 percent)
Schools in Florala are part of the Covington County School System; the town has approximately 140 students and 11 teachers in one high school.
U.S. Highway 331 runs north-south through Florala, State Highway 55 runs northeast from the city, and State Highway 54 runs east from the city. Florala Municipal Airport serves general aviation.
Events and Places of Interest
Florala State Park is located on Lake Jackson, named for Gen. Andrew Jackson, and features all forms of water sports as well as camping and picnic facilities.
The First National Bank of Florala is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Depot has been restored and is open to the public on special occasions.
Covington County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
Rodwell, E. P. Jr. "A Short History of Florala, Alabama." Masonic Centennial Celebration 1871-1970, Historic Book. Florala, Ala.: Fidelity Lodge 685, 1970.
James P. Kaetz
Published August 30, 2012
Last updated August 31, 2012