Skip directly to content

Dora

Christopher Maloney, Auburn University
Dora is located in the southeast corner of Walker County in northwest Alabama. It has a mayor-council form of government.
History

Dora is situated in a valley alongside Horse Creek, a tributary of the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. The area around present-day Dora was first settled by veterans of the War of 1812 and the Creek War of 1813-14 who were lured there by land grants. Two of the first settlers were James M. Davis and Ezekiel Morgan, who were from North Carolina, as were some of the other early families arriving in the 1820s and 1830s. Some sources mention Cole Smith as the founder of the town. In the final weeks of the Civil War, Union general James H. Wilson and his cavalry moved through the community after burning nearby Jasper. Coal was discovered in the vicinity not long after, prompting a surge in mining companies, which built housing for their employees and supported a nearby mining camp known as Kershaw.
The arrival of the Kansas City, Memphis, and Birmingham Railroad in 1886 stimulated further development. The company constructed a stop at what is now Dora but at the time referred to as Sharon by railroad officials, and it spurred the subsequent establishment of numerous businesses; the town itself soon became known as Sharon. On February 18, 1897, however, the town was incorporated as Horse Creek. A post office was established in 1902, and the town's name was changed to Dora in 1906. By 1910, the town boasted a population of more than 900, many merchandise stores, several hotels, a school, and a cola bottling plant. The wooden high school was replaced with a brick edifice in 1921, and in 1935, a school was constructed to accommodate junior and senior high school students. Also during the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration built a library and jail.
Demographics
At the time of the 2010 Census the population of Dora was 2,025. Of that number, 85.6 percent of the population identified themselves as white, 12.2 percent as African American, 1.3 percent as two or more races, 0.7 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.3 percent as Native American, 0.3 percent as some other race, and 0.1 as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. According to 2012 Census estimates, the median household income is $42,375 and the per capita income $21,495.
Employment
According to 2012 Census estimates, the Dora workforce is divided among the following major industrial categories:
Educational services and health care and social assistance (24.5 percent)
· Retail trade (15.3 percent)
· Manufacturing (12.0 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (10.8 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (7.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (7.2 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.7   percent)
· Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste   management services (3.9 percent)
· Public Administration (3.2 percent)
· Construction (2.5 percent)
· Information (2.5 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.2 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (1.3 percent)
Education
The Walker County Board of Education administers public education in Dora and oversees a combined elementary and junior high school that enrolls approximately 270 students and employs approximately 20 teachers and a high school that enrolls approximately 465 students and employs nearly 30 teachers. Bevill State Community College operates a campus in nearby Sumiton.
Transportation
Dora lies northeast of U.S. Highway 78 and southwest of State Highway 5 or Old U.S. 78, about midway between Birmingham and Jasper. It is accessed directly by State Road 81. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad Company operates a line through Dora.
Events and Places of Interest
Alabama Mining Museum
Dora is home to a municipal park that features several ball fields, tennis courts, and playground equipment, and the Horse Creek Golf Course, a public 18-hole facility, is located in the town. The Alabama Mining Museum is located in Dora, and features exhibits of equipment and photographs related to the mining history in the region; it also houses a large vintage locomotive and several cars. The Dr. C. B. Jackson House (ca. 1902) and the Wyatt School, on the museum grounds, are on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Additional Resources
The Heritage of Walker County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1999.
Published:  July 1, 2014   |   Last updated:  October 12, 2016