The first white settler in the area was Walker Patrick, who in 1880 bought 160 acres in the area for a farm and built a house and store on the property. The area at the time was known variously as Hallton or Cool Springs. The first post office was established in the late 1800s. The city of Opp grew up along the route of the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad at a point on the southeastern part of the line. When the railroad came through, local entrepreneur Alex Hart bought land along its route and subdivided it in lots to sell that made up the downtown area.
Veterans Memorial Scenic Overlook Opp was named after Henry Opp, an L&N lawyer and future mayor of Andalusia, for his role in defending L&N’s survey of a right of way for its line, which had been contested by the Central of Georgia Railroad. The post office moved to the new town in 1900, and a turpentine distillery opened nearby. A town charter was granted by the state legislature in 1901, and the town officially incorporated in 1902. Cotton mills and a furniture manufacturer became the sustaining industries in the 1920s. After World War II, the apparel industry provided employment until its decline in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2017, Opp residents elected local business woman Becky Bracke to the office of mayor, the first woman to hold that office.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Opp recorded a population of 6,405. Of that number, 78.8 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 17.7 percent as African American, 3.2 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Hispanic, and 0.3 percent as American Indian. The town’s median household income was $34,548, and the per capita income was $22,314.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Opp was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (21.6 percent)
- Manufacturing (19.2 percent)
- Retail trade (7.9 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.8 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (6.9 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.4 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (6.2 percent)
- Wholesale trade (5.8 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (4.8 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (4.5 percent)
- Construction (4.4 percent)
- Public administration (3.9 percent)
- Information (0.6 percent)
Schools in Opp are part of the Opp City School District; the town has one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. Lurleen B. Wallace Community College operates a campus in the city.
Opp is bisected north-south by U.S. Highway 331. U.S. Highway 84 runs west and south from the city, and State Highway 134 runs east from the city. The South Alabama Regional Airport with one runway is located about 15 miles west of the city.
Events and Places of Interest
Frank Jackson State Park The Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo is held annually on the first full weekend of April. The festival includes arts and crafts booths, food vendors, a 5K run, and musical acts. Some 20,000 people attend the festival each year. Although a popular event, it has stirred controversy among conservationists and wildlife biologists for the number of animals killed during the event and the effects on their populations and on other wildlife of the methods used to collect them. Opp Fest is held the last Saturday in October. The city also holds a Christmas Parade in early December.
The Opp Commercial Historic District and the William T. Shepard House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alex Hart House and the Mizzell Mansion are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Frank Jackson State Park is located just north of town, with fishing, water sports, and camping. The Veterans Memorial Scenic Overlook, honoring Opp area veterans, sits on the shore of the lake.
Covington County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Covington County. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.