Lockhart was founded around the turn of the twentieth century by the Jackson Lumber Company which was attracted to the thousands of acres of longleaf yellow pine used for turpentine, resin, and lumber. Many of the investors were from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and the venture attracted many workers from eastern North Carolina who were familiar with longleaf yellow pine and processing turpentine and resin.
The company built a mill and a town named for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, financier Charles Lockhart that included a general store, a multi-denominational church, and an electricity generating plant. The town was modeled after a typical northern industrial town in a grid, and many of the streets are named for Indian tribes of North America; it would have 1,220 residents by 1907. By about 1912, the mill would be one of the largest in the United States, boasting about 1,000 workers who reportedly ran the mill day and night. It was also reputed to be the world's largest manufacturer of longleaf yellow pine "rift," rift being a process of making flooring. Indeed, the Jackson Lumber Company provided flooring for many notable buildings in New York City, Washington, D.C., Annapolis, Maryland, and in Virginia.
W. S. Harlan built a one-room school house and the present elementary school, established in 1924, is named in his honor. Lockhart was incorporated in 1931. The mill, however, closed in 1940, and historical accounts offer two reasons. Military enlistments prior to U.S. entry in World War II caused a labor shortage, or company officials sold their holdings and the land to the residents after cutting all the timber in the area and deciding not to wait for replanted timber to mature. Jackson Lumber Company also donated much land to the state that was replanted and developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps into Geneva State Forest in neighboring Geneva County.
The population of Lockhart at the time of the 2010 Census was 516. Of that number, 72.7 percent identified themselves as white, 25.2 percent as African American, 1.4 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 1.2 percent as two or more races, and 0.2 percent as American Indian and Alaska Native. The median household income according to Census estimates is $32,500 and the per capita income $17,797.
According to Census estimates, the Lockhart workforce is divided among the following major industrial categories:
· Retail Trade (29.9 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (27.6 percent)
· Manufacturing (19.5 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.7 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (6.3 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.4 percent)
· Construction (3.6 percent)
Public schools in Lockhart are administered by Covington County Schools which oversees one elementary school which serves 290 students and employs approximately 45 educators and staff.
Lockhart is accessed by State Highway 55 that runs east-west. Florala Municipal Airport lies approximately four miles to the northeast.
Florala State Park, which features camping, fishing, and swimming, is located approximately two miles east of Lockhart. Nearby to the west is
the Conecuh National Forest that features boating, camping, fishing, hiking, and picnicking facilities.
Covington County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
Bryan, Gus J. and Ruby R. Covington County History, 1821-1976. Opp, Ala.: Opp Historical Society, 1983.
James P. Kaetz
Published May 3, 2013
Last updated May 3, 2013