Malvern is named after the Battle of Malvern Hill, a Civil War conflict fought in Henrico County, Virginia, between the forces of U.S. Army 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 Novosel (formerly Fort Rucker).
According to 2020 Census estimates, Malvern recorded a population of 1,702. Of that number, 91.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 12.0 percent as Hispanic, 6.6 percent as African American, 1.8 percent as two or more races, and 0.3 as Asian. The town’s median household income was $39,583, and the per capita income was $18,531.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Malvern was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (22.1 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (17.3 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (12.9 percent)
- Retail trade (9.1 percent)
- Construction (7.9 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (7.7 percent)
- Wholesale trade (6.0 percent)
- Manufacturing (4.8 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (4.6 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (2.8 percent)
- Public administration (2.8 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (1.9 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.