Ohatchee is located in Calhoun County in the northeastern portion of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Cartoonist Tom Sims, who co-wrote the comic strip Popeye from 1938 to 1955, was born in Ohatchee.
The area around Ohatchee reportedly was used by General Andrew Jackson as a staging area for the Battle of Talladega during the Creek War. During the Civil War, nearby Janney Furnaces, built to produce pig iron for the Confederacy but never used, drew raiding Union Army troops. Finding the furnaces unused, the soldiers left them largely untouched.
Ohatchee was incorporated in 1956. The town was struck by a tornado on April 27 during the so-called Super Outbreak of April 25-28, 2011, devastating the town and killing four of the nine people killed in Calhoun County.
According to the 2010 Census, Ohatchee had a population of 1,170. Of that number, 94.1 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 3.2 percent as African American, 2.1 percent as two or more races, 0.6 percent as Hispanic, and 0.6 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 Census estimates, was $55,769, and the per capita income was $23,041.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Ohatchee was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Manufacturing (22.6 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (22.3 percent)
· Public administration (10.7 percent)
· Professional, scientific, and administrative and waste management services (8.3 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (7.8 percent)
· Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (6.6 percent)
· Wholesale trade (5.9 percent)
· Retail trade (5.4 percent)
· Construction (5.1 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, and recreation and accommodation and food services (4.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.7 percent)
· Finance and insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing (0.5 percent)
Ohatchee public education is overseen by the Calhoun County Schools. There are approximately 1,015 students enrolled in one elementary and one high school; the schools employ approximately 60 teachers.
Ohatchee is bisected by State Highway 144, which runs east-west through the center of the town; State Highway 77 runs north-south along its western edge.
Events and Places of Interest
Janney Furnace is preserved as a museum and park and is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. It was established in 1863 to produce pig iron for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The site includes a memorial to men from Calhoun County who lost their lives while serving in the Confederate military as well as museums dedicated to the area's Native American and Civil War history. The park hosts re-enactments and a Native American festival each year and offers educational programming.
The site of Fort Strother is listed on the National Heritage of Historic Places.
Calhoun County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Calhoun County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc., 1998.
James P. Kaetz
Published December 11, 2012
Last updated December 12, 2012