Settlers who came to the area now known as Gantt in the late 1800s were drawn to its location on the Conecuh River and its abundant timber. Initially the town was located about a mile east of its current position and was a thriving river town sustained primarily by the lumber industry. The lumber was cut in Gantt and then floated downriver to Pensacola, Florida, for processing. The abundance of pine trees in the area made also Gantt a large-scale producer of turpentine as well. After the Central of Georgia Railroad came through in 1899, the town migrated closer to the railroad line. The town was named Christine briefly, allegedly after a schoolteacher. The town finally settled on Gantt as its name, after the head of a prominent local family.
In addition to timber and tobacco, cotton was another industry staple of Gantt. Farmers from the surrounding area would bring their cotton to be ginned in town before shipping their harvest on either the trains that stopped through twice a day or via the Conecuh River. Other businesses in town included stores, a blacksmith, drugstores, and two saloons. Individuals also supplemented their income by such means as selling shelled pecans to the passengers on the trains. The town had four churches, and much of the social life revolved around those churches. The first dam across the Conecuh River was built in 1899 so that the local timber yard could float its logs to market. The first hydroelectric plant on the dam was added in 1920, which gave Gantt electricity before other towns in the county. For some time, the town turned out the lights at 10:00 every night as the power was shut off. Gantt was incorporated in August 1970.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Gantt recorded a population of 174. Of that number, 58.0 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 24.7 percent as African American, and 17.2 percent as Asian. The town’s per capita income was $21,876.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Gantt was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (35.3 percent)
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (22.4 percent)
- Retail trade (21.2 percent)
- Construction (12.9 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (4.7 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (3.5 percent)
Students in Gantt attend Covington County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
Gantt is bisected by U.S. Highway 29/State Highway 15 running north-south through town.
Events and Places of Interest
Gantt Lake, a 2,700-acre reservoir created on the Conecuh River by the Gantt Dam built in the 1920s, offers boating, swimming, skiing, and fishing opportunities.
Covington County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Covington County, Alabama Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.