Opp to be honored at Andy Chamber banquet Thursday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce will induct its second honoree, Henry Opp, into its leadership hall of fame at Thursday’s banquet.

Opp (of German descent) was a lawyer for the L&N Railroad who lived and practiced law in Andalusia in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, he served as mayor of Andalusia from Sept. 19, 1899, until 1906.

During this period, Opp represented the railroad in its litigation with the Central of Georgia Railroad.

The Central of Georgia was trying to prevent the L&N Railroad from surveying their right-of-way into the county.

Opp was apparently a good lawyer and he won his case, enabling the railroad to complete the survey and establish the Georgiana to Graceville branch of the railroad.

The railroad split with one arm traveling south and the other continuing east at a spot some 15 miles east of Andalusia.

Because this provided a good “turning around” place for trains and because it was already inhabited to a small degree, a town was laid out here with the encouragement of the railroad.

In appreciation to Henry Opp for being directly responsible for the railroad’s existence through the area, the L&N encouraged the people to name the town after Opp, and so it was.

But some say another story circulated in regard to the naming of Opp. According to these stories, Opp was chosen to ride on the first train to travel the new railroad through the little community, yet to become a town. This was a big event, and everyone from many miles around turned out to see the first train and hear Henry Opp make a speech. Moonshine whiskey was abundant and as the day wore on, spirits began to ride high.

When Opp finally arrived on the train and made his speech, the effects of the whiskey and the importance of the event combined to create a feeling of jubilance among the crowd.

The crowd was so impressed with everything in general and Henry Opp in particular, suddenly someone in the crowd cried out, “Let’s name the town after Opp!”

Opp (1858-1921) was married to the late Addie Bell Opp-Guy (1867-1965).

Source: Covington County History by Gus J. and Ruby R. Bryan, 1976.