Goodwater was first known as Adkins Gap after an early settler, but became known as Goodwater because of its location near the spring that is the source of Hatchett Creek. The town remained relatively small until 1874, when the Central of Georgia Railroad ran a line through the town on its way to Birmingham, Jefferson County, from Columbus, Georgia. Goodwater was incorporated in 1875.
To assist the railroad, the Goodwater Depot was built in 1887. Because it had the only coal chute on the line between Columbus and Birmingham, most trains stopped there to take on coal. Goodwater also became a shipping center as area farmers and other communities brought goods to be sent throughout the state. A number of businesses sprang up to serve the railroad and passengers, and the town had several doctors and dentists. In 1891, a burning train trestle over Hatcher's Creek near Goodwater collapsed under a passing Columbus and Western Railroad Train, plunging part of the train into the creek valley and trapping three individuals in the caboose, burning them alive. Two others were injured.
With the eventual switch to diesel engines, trains no longer were forced to stop in Goodwater; eventually trains no longer stopped in the town at all. The Goodwater Depot was donated to the town by the Central of Georgia in 1984 and was moved to State Highway 9, where it now serves as the local Ruritan headquarters.
Goodwater's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,475. Of that number, 73.7 percent of the respondents identified themselves as black, 24.3 percent as white, 0.7 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.7 percent as Native American, and 0.5 percent as two or more races. The city's median household income was $24,909, and per capita income was $12,957.
Goodwater's workforce in 2010 according to Census estimates was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Manufacturing (34.4 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (22.0 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (15.6 percent)
· Retail trade (11.0 percent)
· Public administration (5.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.9 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (3.5 percent)
· Construction (2.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (1.2 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (1.2 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (0.8 percent)
Students in Goodwater attend schools in the Coosa County School District; the town has no public schools within its city limits.
State Highway 9 runs roughly north-south through Goodwater, County Highway 511 runs west from the town, and County Highway 86 runs east.
Events and Places of Interest
Goodwater is located approximately 10 miles north of Lake Martin, which offers all types of water sports, camping and rental facilities, and fishing. The Talladega National Forest lies just north of town.
The Hatchett Creek Golf Course in Goodwater is a nine-hole course open to the public.
Coosa County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Coosa County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1999.
James P. Kaetz
Published December 14, 2011
Last updated July 13, 2012