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Gilbertown

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Gilbertown is located in south-central Choctaw County in the southwest part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
History
Choctaw County Historical Museum
Gilbertown was established in 1910 by the Gilbert Townsite Company. The construction of the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad through the area in 1912 led to increased population growth. A number of businesses soon followed, including a bank, a bottling company, a hotel, a drugstore, and a blacksmith shop. This same period saw the construction of the Gilbertown Grade School followed by Gilbertown Junior High School in the 1920s. In the next decade, the Alabama Power Company brought electricity to the area. On January 2, 1944, the state of Alabama permitted the Hunt Oil Company to drill what would become the first oil well in Alabama, southwest of Gilbertown. In February, oil was struck and the discovery of this well led to the creation of the Northern State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama in 1945. After World War II, the town built a town hall and established fire and police departments, and a new junior college was constructed. In November 1975, the town council issued revenue bonds to establish the Gilbertown Water Works. In 1977, the state established the Gilbertown campus of Hobson State Technical College. It is now part of the Coastal Alabama Community College system.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Gilbertown recorded a population of 167. Of that number, 69.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 29.3 percent as African American, and 1.2 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income was $21,750, and the per capita income was $17,063.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Gilbertown was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Manufacturing (42.9 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (22.9 percent)
· Construction (8.6 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (8.6 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (8.6 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.7 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.9 percent)
Education
Public education in Gilbertown is served by a K-6 elementary school and a grade 7-12 high school in the Choctaw County school system. Coastal Alabama Community College has a campus in Gilbertown.
Transportation
State Highway 17 bisects Gilbertown running north-south, County Highway 14 runs northwest-southeast, and County Highway 16 runs southwest from town.
Events and Places of Interest
The Choctaw County Heritage Festival is held in Gilbertown in early May. It features arts, crafts, antique cars, food vendors, and gospel singing. Gilbertown also has an annual Christmas Parade in early December. The Choctaw County Historical Museum is located in downtown Gilbertown and includes exhibits on Choctaw County's heritage, as well as a log structure that served as the first Choctaw County courthouse, a country store, and a large outbuilding housing antique farm equipment. The Gilbertown Town Park located beside the museum has an old caboose and a Hunt Oil Company rig.

Additional Resources

Choctaw County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Choctaw County, Alabama Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.
Published:  May 4, 2017   |   Last updated:  May 4, 2017