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Gordon

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Gordon is located on the Chattahoochee River in Houston County in the extreme southeastern corner of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
History
Nunnley-Bowden House
White settlers came into the Gordon area as early as 1819. Initially known as Open Pond for its proximity to the Chattahoochee River, the town probably began as a trading post. The local economy started to expand in the 1820s after the federal government began building roads in the area. The main economic boon came in 1828 when the first steamboats began to sail the Chattahoochee River, and the town became a major port and trading town, boasting three landings at one point. Cotton from the surrounding plantations became the main cargo shipped from the town, and the riverboats brought in products to be sold by local merchants.
A stagecoach line began running through Open Pond in 1839. The town became known as Woodville in the 1850s, after the postmaster. During the Civil War, the town was subject to Union blockades of the river, which slowed riverboat traffic and depressed the town's economy. In the 1880s, the town was renamed for Dan Gordon, Henry County probate judge from 1880-1907. Gordon's role as a river port ended when the Alabama Midland Railroad built a track through town in 1890. Gordon remained a shipping center, but the town was dealt a severe blow in 1904 when a fire destroyed most of the downtown area, much of which was not restored. The Great Depression further harmed the economy, and farmers began losing their land and moving away. The town never recovered, and very little evidence remains of the once-thriving port. Gordon holds the distinction of electing the second woman as mayor of an Alabama municipality: Betty Tomlinson in 1956.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Gordon recorded a population of 255. Of that number, 82.0 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, 17.6 percent as white, and 0.4 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income was $22,250, and the per capita income was $14,072.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Gordon was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Educational services, and health care and social assistance (21.1 percent)
  • Manufacturing (19.7 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing and utilities (18.3 percent)
  • Retail trade (16.9 percent)
  • Construction (5.6 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (4.2 percent)
  • Public administration (4.2 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (2.8 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (2.8 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (2.8 percent)
  • Information (1.4 percent)
Education
Students in Gordon attend Houston County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
Transportation
U.S. Highway 84 parallels the southern town limits of Gordon, running east-west, and State Highway 95 bisects the town running northwest-southeast. The Great Northern Airport is located approximately two miles north of town. CSX Transportation, Inc. operates a line through the town.
Events and Places of Interest
The Chattahoochee River offers recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming. Chattahoochee State Park is located just south of Gordon.

Additional Resources

Dickson, Martha Lee. Gordon, Alabama: Pioneer Riverboat Town. Montgomery, Ala.: Walker Printing, 1999.
Houston County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Houston County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
Published:  August 22, 2016   |   Last updated:  February 12, 2020