Napier Field In 1939, public officials in Dothan and surrounding Houston County sought to have the Army Air Corps (AAC) establish a training school at the new Dothan Airport. It was one of several established by the AAC in the state in prior to U.S. entry in World War II. The Air Corps was not interested in locating an air field that close to Dothan, however, and a 1,500-acre site northwest of town was selected. Dothan and Houston County each pledged roughly $56,000 to purchase the land, which lay in Dale County, and work to erect the Napier Field Air Base began. The facility was used for advanced pilot training throughout World War II. It was named in honor of Maj. Edward Napier, the first aviator from Alabama to be killed in service to his country, in September 1923.
The U.S. Air Force deactivated the field on October 31, 1945, and turned custodianship of the property over to the city of Dothan and Houston County; Houston County immediately sold its share in the air field to Dothan. The city began selling the land to individuals and the former air base evolved into a town. The airfield remained dormant for most of two decades, but in the early 1960s, private investors began renovating the site, adding reinforced hard surfacing for new jet runways, buildings, and other facilities. On February 15, 1965, Napier Air Field became the new home of Dothan Regional Airport. Napier Field incorporated as a town in September 1968. In 2004, the Air Force returned to Napier Field, establishing the 280th Combat Communications Squadron, a non-flying unit that functions in a guard tower alongside the civilian airport.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Napier Field recorded a population of 509. Of that number, 69.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 27.3 percent as African American, 10.2 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.2 percent as American Indian, and 2.8 percent as two or more races. The town’s median household income was $32,813, and the per capita income was $15,933.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Napier Field was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (29.4 percent)
- Retail trade (16.2 percent)
- Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (12.3 percent)
- Construction (9.3 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.9 percent)
- Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (6.4 percent)
- Manufacturing (6.4 percent)
- Public administration (4.9 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (4.4 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.9 percent)
Students in Napier Field attend Dale County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits. A branch of Wallace Community College is located in town.
County Highway 112 forms the southern town limit of Napier Field. The Dothan Regional Airport is located less than a mile northeast of Napier Field.
Dale County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Dale County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.