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Pinckard

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Pinckard is located in southeastern Dale County in southeast Alabama. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
History
The town of Pinckard had its beginnings in the Midland Railroad Company's need for a new office between Troy, Pike County, and a proposed extension line to Thomasville, Georgia. The railroad persuaded several farmers who owned land around the Newton-Columbia Road and the Newton-Campbellton road to donate land for a right of way and for a place to build the new headquarters. Five prominent landowners—Jacob Snell, Daniel C. Gissendanner, J. K. York, M. L. Balcom, and Leroy S. Anderson—donated land, and the company built a dispatch office and a turntable that could quickly turn engines around so they could haul cars in both directions. The railroad line was completed in 1889, and the first train ran in September 1889. The location served as the division office between Montgomery and Thomasville, Clarke County, until it was supplanted by Dothan in 1901.
Settlers began to move near the new transportation hub and by 1891 were considering a name for the new town. It was named Pinckard in 1892 after J. Oscar Pinckard, a local citizen and school teacher who had moved there from nearby Newton. The town incorporated in September 1892 by a unanimous vote of the townspeople, who numbered roughly 100 at that point. (One source cites March 1909 as the date of incorporation.) Pinckard was served by several stores and one school that had been in operation since before the Civil War. That school, called the Old Post Oak School, was replaced in 1897. A 30-room lodging house known as Hill's Hotel was built in 1896 to accommodate train passengers. The Peoples Bank, Pinckard's first local lending house, opened in 1923, but became insolvent and closed in 1929. On December 20, 2000, the town was struck by and F-2 tornado, which destroyed several homes and caused widespread damage.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Pinckard recorded a population of 471. Ofthat number, 87.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 12.1 percent as African American, and 2.8 percent as Hispanic. The town's median household income was $31,429, and the per capita income was $24,110.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Pinckard was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Retail trade (15.0 percent)
  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (13.2 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (11.4 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (9.0 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (9.0 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (9.0 percent)
  • Construction (7.2 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (7.2 percent)
  • Manufacturing (5.4 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (5.4 percent)
  • Public administration (4.8 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (3.6 percent)
Education
Schools in Pinckard are part of the Dale County school system; the town has one 5-8 middle school.
Transportation
State Highway 231/53 forms the northern town limit of Pinckard. State Highway 134 runs roughly east-west through the center of town. CSX Transportation, Inc. operates a rail line through Pinckard.
Events and Places of Interest
The Mack M. Matthews School (ca. 1961), formerly known as the Pinckard Colored School and South Dale Middle School, is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Additional Resources
Dale County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Dale County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.
Watson, Fred S. Forgotten Trails: A History of Dale County, Alabama, 1824-1966. Birmingham, Ala.: Banner Press, 1968.
Published:  September 13, 2016   |   Last updated:  October 8, 2020