Malvern is named after the Battle of Malvern Hill, a Civil War conflict fought in Henrico County, Virginia, between the forces of Union general George McClellan and Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In this instance, McClellan's troops prevailed. In 1901, the town's name was officially changed to Eagan in honor of John M. Eagan, the president of the Central of Georgia Railroad, which built a rail line through the town around the same time. The railroad provided a way for local farmers and timber and naval stores industries to ship their products to wider markets. Early economic drivers included turpentine distilleries, sawmills, cotton gins, and a number of retail stores.
By 1909, the town's name again appears as Malvern on maps of the area, and in 1912 the post office was named Malvern. The town incorporated in 1958. Once primarily an agricultural town, Malvern is now largely a residential community for people connected with nearby Fort Rucker.
Malvern's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,448. Of that number, 91.2 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 4.8 percent as African American, 4.8 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 1.5 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Native American, and 0.1 percent as Asian. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $42,930, and the per capita income was $21,417.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Malvern was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (21.0 percent)
· Retail trade (15.2 percent)
· Manufacturing (12.8 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (11.3 percent)
· Construction (8.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (8.1 percent)
· Public administration (6.5 percent)
· Wholesale trade (5.0 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (3.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.0 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.7 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (1.5 percent)
· Information (0.9 percent)
Students in Malvern attend in the Geneva County Schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
State Highway 52 runs northeast-northwest through Malvern, State Highway 27 runs north-southwest, and State Highway 85 runs
northeast. Geneva Municipal Airport serves general aviation.
Geneva County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Geneva County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
James P. Kaetz
Published November 2, 2012
Last updated March 15, 2013