MacArthur Memorial Park in Ashford The area that became Ashford was settled according to the federal census at least as early as 1830 and was part of Henry County at the time. One version of the origin of the town’s name states that it derives from the surname of the wife of an early landowner, Capt. John B. Davis. A second version states that it is named for a very large ash tree located at a popular ford in a local creek. The town was incorporated in June 1891, two years after a railroad line was constructed through town. At this time, the town had approximately 300 residents. As the region’s population increased, citizens began lobbying for the creation of a new county. In 1903, the state established Houston County, and Ashford residents urged county leaders to name it county seat, but the larger city of Dothan was chosen. Initially sustained by the timber industry, which included a large turpentine manufacturer, Ashford shifted to agriculture. Industries that have appeared variously over the city’s history include cotton gins, a fertilizer plant, and a pajama manufacturer in the late 1950s.
Ashford Scrap Metal Drive According to 2020 Census estimates, Ashford recorded a population of 2,431. Of that number, 70.8 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 28.8 percent as African American, 2.3 percent as Hispanic, 0.3 percent as two or more races, and 0.1 percent as Asian. The town’s median household income was $47,898, and the per capita income was $25,788.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Ashford was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (20.3 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (14.6 percent)
- Manufacturing (13.5 percent)
- Retail trade (11.6 percent)
- Construction (9.0 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (6.4 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.4 percent)
- Public administration (4.5 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (4.3 percent)
- Wholesale trade (4.2 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (3.6 percent)
- Information (1.4 percent)
Schools in Ashford are part of the Houston County School District; the town has a K-6 elementary school and a 7-12 high school.
Ashford is intersected by County Road 55 running north-south and connecting the town just to the south with U.S. Highway 84, running east-west. The nearest airport is the Dothan Regional Airport, approximately 20 miles to the northwest.
Events and Places of Interest
Alabama Midland Railroad Depot and Museum The Alabama Midland Railroad Depot and Museum is located in downtown Ashford. It features a variety of railroad-related artifacts in the museum and includes a conference center and a restored caboose and cargo rail car. The depot building itself is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Ashford holds a Harvest Day Festival each September featuring musical entertainment, children’s games, and food. The town also has Bicentennial Memorial Park, which celebrates the U.S. bicentennial and members of the Armed Services, and MacArthur Memorial Park, which features a heritage marker; both parks are located downtown.
Ashford 100 Years Centennial Celebration, 1891-1991. Ashford, Ala.: Ashford Power, 1991.
The Heritage of Houston County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.