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Loachapoka

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Loachapoka is located in western Lee County in the east-central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Pioneering radio entrepreneur John Herbert Orr is buried in his family plot in Loachapoka.
History
The earliest known Creek village in the area that now encompasses Loachapoka was established in 1796. The name Loachapoka allegedly translates to "place where turtles are killed" or "live." The first white settler was a man named Square Talley, who arrived in 1836. Originally called Ball?s Fork, the town was on a stagecoach route that ran from Montgomery, Montgomery County, into Tallapoosa County. The Western Railroad of Alabama (now owned by CSX Transportation) reached Loachapoka from Montgomery in 1845 (although one source gives a date of 1860). A trade center, now housing the Lee County Historical Museum, gave residents and people from surrounding communities the opportunity to buy supplies delivered by the railroad.
Among the local businesses that drove the economy were sawmills and grist mills as well as numerous shops and stores. Loachapoka raised at least three regiments of men to fight during the Civil War, and the town was raided and the train depot and tracks burned and damaged in 1864 by Gen. Lovell Rousseau and his troops.
Reconstruction cause a great deal of hardship in the town, and by 1896 its population had fallen to 136. In 1914, the first Rosenwald School for African Americans in Alabama opened in Loachapoka with funds donated by education reformer Julius Rosenwald; it operated until the 1950s. Loachapoka was incorporated first in 1910, then again in 1926, and still again in 1974.
Demographics
Loachapoka's population according to the 2010 Census was 180. Of that number, 58.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 37.2 percent as African American, 2.8 percent as Asian, 1.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 1.1 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $47,708, and the per capita income was $33,797.
Employment
According to the 2010 Census, the workforce in Loachapoka was divided among the following occupational categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (46.2 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (16.8   percent)
· Construction (14.3 percent)
· Public administration (10.1 percent)
· Retail trade (6.7 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (1.7 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (1.7 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (0.8 percent)
Education
Schools in Loachapoka are part of the Lee County school system; the town has approximately 625 students and 55 teachers in one K-6 elementary school and one 7-12 high school. The town is located about six miles from Auburn University.
Transportation
State Highway 14 bisects Loachapoka running roughly east-west. County Highway 188 runs through the western end of town, going north-south. Interstate Highway 85 is located about five miles south of town.
Events and Places of Interest
The Loachapoka Historic District (ca. 1840-1850) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The nation's first Rosenwald School, the Loachapoka School, is commemorated by a historic marker located on State Highway 14.
The Annual Historical Fair is held in October and features craft demonstrations and food vendors; it attracts approximately 15,000 visitors each year. The Lee County Historical Society maintains a museum in Loachapoka that consists of nine historic structures referred to collectively as Pioneer Park.

Additional Resources

Lee County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Lee County, Alabama Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2000.
Nunn, William Glenn, and Jesse Boring Page. "A History of Loachapoka." Master's thesis, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 1929.
Published:  April 27, 2017   |   Last updated:  April 27, 2017