The land on which Guin was established was first homesteaded in 1820 as a 680-acre U.S. land grant. The land changed hands several times until 1872, when it was purchased by physician Jerry Guin, for whom the town was eventually named. In 1886, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway began construction of a line from Birmingham to Memphis, and Guin, whose farm lay along the route, donated land with the stipulation that the area become a flagstop (that is, the train would stop as needed to pick up passengers but would not make regularly scheduled stops). The railroad dubbed the stop Guin.
Businesses grew up quickly to serve the railroad and its passengers, and in December 1889 the town incorporated. The population at the time was about 350. The town expanded steadily during the next few decades, with the first county high school being built there in 1912 and the first automobile agency opening in 1913. A public well was replaced by a new water system in the 1930s.
A number of businesses boosted the local economy over the years, including a Coca Cola bottling plant that opened in 1926 and a 3M plant in 1955. In 1974, the town was badly damaged by a tornado that leveled much of the business district and killed 23 people.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Guin recorded a population of 2,684. Of that number, 79.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 11.6 percent as African American, 7.9 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 2.6 percent as two or more races, and 0.4 as American Indian. The town’s median household income was $39,725, and the per capita income was $19,609.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Guin was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (27.9 percent)
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (26.4 percent)
- Public administration (8.7 percent)
- Retail trade (7.7 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (7.0 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.0 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (4.0 percent)
- Construction (3.5 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (3.1 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (2.8 percent)
- Wholesale trade (2.8 percent)
Schools in Guin are part of the Marion County School system; the town has one elementary school and one high school.
U.S. Highway 78 lies just northeast of Guin, running southeast-northwest. U.S. Highway 278/State Highway 118 runs roughly east-west through town. Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport is located 12 miles to the northwest.
Events and Places of Interest
Guin has a city park that features a very popular water slide as well as tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, and picnic pavilions; a separate field hosts local baseball games.
Guin holds a Mayfest celebration the second weekend of May each year. Events include a car show, a 5K run, a dog show, and a tractor pull, as well as live entertainment and food vendors. The city also has a Fourth of July celebration complete with food, entertainment, and a fireworks show.
Marion County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.