Ariton was created from the merger of two rival towns: Charlton (originally called Dean's Station) was a stop on the Central of Georgia Railroad, and Ariosta was a stop on the Alabama Midland Railroad, about a mile from Charlton. The towns competed with one another for shipping customers, to the detriment of both. Town leaders met and decided to purchase land between the two existing towns to create a new town, to which most of the businesses from the separate towns would move.
In 1905, the towns purchased the necessary land, laid out blocks, and began selling them. In April, a town well was dug in the center of the new town. Stores, a cotton gin, and cotton warehouses soon followed. Initially, the inhabitants of this new town wanted to name it Union City, but that name had already been taken. They decided instead to combine the first part of Ariosta and the last part of Charlton, and Ariton was born. A post office was opened soon after the town was named, and the town incorporated in April 1906.
Churches and other institutions began to move to the new town and merge; the Masonic Lodges were among the first to do so, in 1906. The first school was built around 1907, and the first newspaper was published beginning in 1913.
Ariton's population according to the 2010 Census was 764. Of that number, 78.3 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 19.2 percent as African American, 6.0 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 1.4 percent as two or more races, and 0.1 percent as Asian. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $33,203, and the per capita income was $20,848.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Ariton was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (28.5 percent)
· Retail trade (20.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (16.4 percent)
· Public administration (6.7 percent)
· Construction (5.2 percent)
· Information (5.2 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.6 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.0 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.0 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.7 percent)
· Wholesale trade (2.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (1.8 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (1.5 percent)
Schools in Ariton are part of the Dale County school system; the town has approximately 690 students and 45 teachers in one K-12 school.
State Highway 123 runs west-southeast through Ariton. State Highway 51 runs from southwest-northeast through town, and County Road 3 runs from the center of town to the northwest.
Events and Places of Interest
The Ariton Universalist Church and the Veterans Memorial Bridge just north of Ariton are listed on the Alabama Register of
Landmarks and Heritage.
Commander, Annie Retha. "History Of Ariton." The Southern Star, Dec. 21, 1939.
McGee, Val L. Claybank Memories: A History of Dale County, Alabama. Ozark, Ala.: Dale County Historical Society, Inc., 1989.
James P. Kaetz
Published March 12, 2013
Last updated March 21, 2013