· Area: 561 square miles
· Population: 50,251 (2010 Census)
· Major Waterway: Choctawhatchee River
· Major Highway: U.S 231
· County Seat: Ozark
· Largest City: Ozark
Dale County was created by an act of the Alabama State Legislature on December 22, 1824. The county was named for Georgia native Samuel Dale, an early pioneer who led a group of settlers to Alabama. In 1841 the county was split in half to create Coffee County and in 1868, Geneva County was formed from southern portions of Dale County. In 1903, Dale County was further reduced when the state legislature carved Houston County out of the southeastern corner. The county seat was originally located at Daleville, but was removed to Newton in 1843 and finally to Ozark in 1870. The courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1884 and replaced by an ornate brick structure in 1901. In 1968 the county erected the current courthouse.
During the nineteenth century, Dale County was populated by small farmers who raised corn, cotton, and livestock. In 1888 the Central of Georgia Railroad built a track from Eufaula to Ozark, and in 1889 the Alabama Midland Railroad completed a line from Troy to Ozark. In 1914 the Mutual Cotton Oil Company, originally called the Ozark Oil Mill, was created to process the oil in cotton seed. Other businesses that located to the county during the early and mid-twentieth century were Cowikee Mills, a cotton-processing plant, Columbian Peanut Mill, Tri-Glass Manufacturing, Mass Merchandising, and Frit Industries.
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (11.1 percent)
· Retail trade (10.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (10.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (10.3 percent)
· Public administration (9.8 percent)
· Construction (8.0 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (6.0 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (4.5 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.7 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.2 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.4 percent)
· Information (1.4 percent)
Comprising approximately 561 square miles, Dale County lies in the southeastern area of the state, wholly within the East Gulf Coastal Plain physiographic region. It is bounded to the north by Pike and Barbour counties, to the east by Henry County, to the south by Houston and Geneva counties, and to the west by Coffee County.
Events and Places of Interest
Lake Tholocco, located at Fort Rucker, is a 640-acre facility that offers a full range of recreation activities including swimming, boating, camping, RV parking, volleyball, basketball, and hiking. Ed Lisenby, or Dale County, Lake, is a 92-acre lake that offers excellent bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and shellcracker (also known as red-ear) fishing. Every year Ozark hosts the Claybank Jamboree, which features antiques, paintings, food, music, and a 5K race. Other attractions include the Dowling Art Museum, which showcases local art.
Heritage of Dale County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2001.