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The Historic Dothan Opera House


Johnny Mack Brown
Heather Whitestone
Bobby Goldsboro

Originally occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American Tribes, the area once known as Poplar Head was an overnight camping spot for pioneers headed farther west during the late 1700s and early 1800s. It was situated where several ancient Indian trails crossed, at a spring where many poplar trees grew. The soft soil was generally considered to be unfit for farming, even though it was in an area of very heavy forests.

Someone finally realized the soil in the area was very fertile and quite suitable for farming. At some point before 1830, a fort was built on the Barber Plantation, located ten miles east of Popular Head. It was there that the local settlers sought sanctuary during uprisings by the Native Americans. Following the Indian Wars, the fort was abandoned by 1840. The little settlement of Poplar Head continued to grow.

On November 10, 1885, the people of Popular Head voted to incorporate, but quickly learned that a Popular Head already existed in northern Alabama. The name was then changed to Dothan, a name taken from the Bible. The city was incorporated under its new name, Dothan, on November 11, 1885. Dothan is known for the peanuts grown in this area.

Fort Rucker, the home of US Army Helicopter training, is located near Dothan. In 1942, Camp Rucker was established and served as a basic infantry training center originally. To learn more of Fort Rucker, click here.

Dothan has been home to several famous people over the years. During the 1930s, western movies were the main draw at movie theaters and one of its main stars was Johnny Mack Brown of Dothan, Alabama. Prior to entering movies as a western character, he had been an All-American college football player for the University of Alabama.

Former Miss America, Heather Whitestone, the first deaf Miss America, was born in Dothan in 1972.

Singer/songwriter Bobby Goldsboro wasn’t born in Dothan (actually in Marianna, Florida), but he grew up in Dothan. He had many hits during the sixties, including “Honey”, “Autumn of My Life” and “Watching Scotty Grow.

For Attractions in and near Dothan, Click Here
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© 2008 Wilson Jay