Written by Wildcat Dianne on 13 Aug, 2008
After Mom and I toured Moton Field and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site, we made our way towards downtown Tuskegee and Tuskegee University. We didn't realize how spread out Tuskegee was and we didn't see any signs telling us where the University was…Read More
After Mom and I toured Moton Field and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site, we made our way towards downtown Tuskegee and Tuskegee University. We didn't realize how spread out Tuskegee was and we didn't see any signs telling us where the University was and decided to stop at the local McDonald's for a quick bite to eat and ask for directions. I asked a young man sweeping the playground outside, but he didn't know where Tuskegee University was, and I realized that he was mentally challenged. Jonesing for a USA Today, and Mom needing a nail file to clean her nails, we decided to stop at the nearby CVS to ask for directions.
Twenty minutes later and no newspaper since the CVS didn't carry USA Today and Mom looking forward to clean nails, we had directions to Tuskegee University and were on our way.
After the Civil War when all of the slaves were freed by Presidential decree, education for the freed slaves was virtually non-existent. when slavery was legal, slaves were not allowed to seek an education in any way or face flogging or death at the hands of their masters. But by the late-19th Century, rumblings were going on in the South demanding education for freed slaves and their families. In Tuskegee, Alabama, George Campbell, a former slave owner, and Lewis Adams, a slave who didn't go to school but knew how to read and write, got together with Campbell and Senator W.F. Foster about setting up a school for the African-Americans in the area.
In exchange for setting up a school for African-Americans, Foster didn't ask for money and only asked for support from the African-American community and Lewis Adams in the upcoming Senate election in which Foster was running for re-election. The Alabama legislation passed for a "Negro Normal School" and kicked in a $2,000 appropriation to pay the teachers of the school, and a commission was formed. In 1881, the first classes of the Tuskegee Institute were held in a shanty under the tutelage of Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), a former slave who would become President and founder of Tuskegee Institute. Only 30 students started out at Tuskegee Institute, but soon enough more students enrolled, and the shanty became too small to hold classes. Tuskegee Institute was moved to a 100-acre abandoned plantation where Tuskegee University is today.
Booker T. Washington ran Tuskegee Institute from 1881 until his death at age 59 in 1915. During Washington's administration, Tuskegee Institute became a prominent African-American college teaching African-American students to become agriculturists, veterinarians, business people, and other professional education for the next 127 years through its many schools established there. In 1985, Tuskegee Institute became Tuskegee University and today educates over 3,000 African-American students in its seven schools. There are over 70 buildings on the campus and more are being built today to accommodate the growing student population.
Due to it being summer vacation at the time of our visit, Mom and I were able to drive around the Tuskegee University campus without much trouble. I believe if we were there when school was in session, we would have had to park somewhere on campus and walk around which would have been no problem. The campus was pretty much deserted except for a handful of students going home from summer school. Most of the 19th and early 20th Century buildings are still standing on the campus and are used as classrooms or dormitories and there was more dorms being constructed on TU's main road. We passed George Washington Carver's museum while Mom read about his life from the brochure. Carver was the son of a slave woman and her white master, Moses Carver. When George was very young, his mother was kidnapped by slave runners and he never saw her again. Moses Carver made sure George got a good education after the Civil War and George took his name when he went to school. Carver became a well-known scientist, philanthropist, and artist and his studies on crop rotation and other agricultural studies improved farming throughout the USA and helped out freed slaves looking to start their own farms.
Mom and I spent about an hour driving around the campus reading our brochures we had gotten at Moton Field and soaking in Tuskegee University's hallowed history. When Mom and I go back to Georgia in January, we are planning on stopping at Tuskegee and the university again and taking up the assistant band director's, JaGayde Colvert, up on his offer to tour the campus of Tuskegee University with him.
To get to Tuskegee University from 1-85, take Exit 38 and take a left off the exit ramp. Take a left onto Daniel "Chappy" James Road and pass Moton Field. Go down James Road about 2 miles until you get to the end and an Exxon Station is on the right. Take a right onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Road and follow it for a mile into downtown Tuskegee. Take a right at the Taco Bell at Rosa Parks Plaza and then a left at the light about a half-mile up the road. Tuskegee University will be about a mile up the road on the right-hand side.
Mom and I made plans to visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site on our way home from our family visit to Georgia via Alabama as part of a vow to see as many historical sites in the American South as we can now that…Read More
Mom and I made plans to visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site on our way home from our family visit to Georgia via Alabama as part of a vow to see as many historical sites in the American South as we can now that we are living in Pensacola. Tuskegee, Alabama was one of our first places to visit, and after an early start from my cousin's house in Douglasville, GA, Mom and I arrived at Tuskegee about 11 a.m. on August 1.
Our first stop was the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site. Located on Route 81 in the middle of the huge Tuskegee National Forest, this fascinating piece of African-American history is not to be missed when visiting the State of Alabama.
There was not anyone in the parking lot when Mom and I arrived at Moton Field, the airfield that the Tuskegee Airmen did their training during World War II. It took a minute for Mom and I to find the building where the exhibits were being held, and noticed a temporary building to our left. The American flag in front of the building was at half-mast, and Mom and I were wondering if we missed something in the news about someone famous or a Tuskegee Airmen passing away. Entering the building, we were greeted by a park ranger named John Whitfield who said that due to the extensive reconstruction and remodeling of Moton Field, all of the exhibits were kept in this building, and he would be glad to give us a talk about Moton Field and the Tuskegee Airmen followed by a short film.
The Tuskegee Airmen were formed after pressure to the government grew for African-Americans to have a bigger role in the US Military. During World War I, thousands of African-Americans fought in segregated units in France, and it would be the same during World War II. After World War I, African-Americans also became fascinated with flying airplanes and several African-American flight clubs were formed throughout the USA. The Army Air Corps was first to suggest that there be an African-American air unit, and in 1941, a small number of students from the then-Tuskegee Insitute were selected as part of this "military experiment to train African-American pilots and support staff." The training would occur at nearby Moton Field, which was named after Robert Russa Moton, the principal of Tuskegee Institute, who had passed away in 1940, and this was the beginning of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Tuskegee Experience would last from 1941-1946 at Moton Field and over 15,000 African-American men and woman would undergo training in Tuskegee, and several of the airmen would see combat in Europe during World War II doing bombing raids on German strategic positions and formations. Daniel "Chappy" James, who was a student of Tuskegee Institute was one of the Tuskegee Airmen's success stories and would go on to become the first African-American four-star general, and the road that the historical site is on that also goes into downtown Tuskegee is named in James's honor.
After World War II ended, Moton Field was shut down and it went into terrible disrepair through the next six decades. One of the hangars along with the officers club were torn down, and some of the original brick gates were buried by construction crews who build new hangars at Moton Field. It looked like the history of the Tuskegee Airmen was going to be buried in time literally, but in 1998, Moton Field became a National Historical Site, and extensive reconstruction was started in order to preserve this valuable part of American history.
After Ranger Whitfield spoke and answered all of our questions, he took us into a small video room to watch the Tuskegee Airmen video that is narrated by actor Dorian Harewood (Roots: The Next Generation). It was a short and nice video showing pictures of the Tuskegee Airmen in training with voiceovers from the airmen talking about their experiences at Moton Field.
After the video, Mom and I were free to wander around the small exhibit in the temporary module, and then Ranger Whitfield let us out on the deck to see Moton Field more clearly. He told us we could go over to the overview area to the right to see Moton Field even better and after we said good-bye to Ranger Whitfield and thanked him for the talk, Mom and I headed over there to look around Moton Field.
During our visit to Moton Field in August 2008, it was in various stages of reconstruction and remodeling. The Officers Mess where the African-American servicemen could relax after a hard day of training (another place for the segregated unit to relax was at Tuskegee Institute), was a shell of its former self but its reconstruction was almost done. One of the hangars at Moton Field was totally razed after 1946, but while we were visiting, the hangar was being returned to its 1940's glory.
Reconstruction of Moton Field will be finished this October and a grand opening ceremony will happen at this time. The hangars will be museums depicting the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and Moton Field and will be a permanent fixture of African-American history. Mom and I hope to return to Moton Field in January when we make another (GAG!) trip to Georgia to visit the family, but our August visit was a big learning experience for Mom and me, and we won't forget it.
To get to Moton Field from I-85 East or West, take Exit 38 (Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site Exit) and take a left off the exit ramp. Go down the road about a mile before taking a left onto Daniel "Chappy" James Road and Moton Field will be about a 1/2 mile down on the left-hand side. Admission to Moton Field is free, and it's open from 9-5 daily.
Written by vampirefan on 20 Jun, 2007
The Birmingham show is one of the largest and longest running garden shows in the Southeast. This year I was there to work it. The show is held at the BJCC Center located in the heart of downtown Birmingham. This year’s show featured over 150…Read More
The Birmingham show is one of the largest and longest running garden shows in the Southeast. This year I was there to work it. The show is held at the BJCC Center located in the heart of downtown Birmingham. This year’s show featured over 150 vendors and 75 vendors in the Western Supermarket food pavilion. There was over 220,000 square feet of exhibit space offering a variety of vendors. They featured gardens, a women’s pavilion, and a cooking theater. The show covers two levels of floor space. There were vendors covering everything from home and gardens to just shopping. On the professional side you could find tractors big enough to tackle even the Biltmore House to every kind of home improvement service out there. Near me there was a home theater company which kept showing the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which was quite a distraction for me! They had pool companies and people ready to install a sun room for you. They had the CVB from nearby Gulf Shores Al. (where I hope to go to next summer to visit relatives). They had a drawing for a new Ford pick up truck, which was quite popular. There were plenty of prize drawings. In fact I won a free weekend in Gulf Shores. Just my luck, the time limit was two months! They even had real estate agents ready to sell your home after you improved it. For garden lover they had everything you need for your garden. The people across from me had bright and beautiful Adirondack chairs. I saw plenty of chic pieces of patio furniture and yard art. They had ponds, flowers, statues, trellises, gazebos, stones, etc. And for those who don’t do it yourself, they had plenty of people to make your garden into something to rival the gardens of Versailles. Pike Nurseries had a stunning display which made me come home and start work on my own garden for the fall. Shopping vendors ranged from pet accessories, jewelry, home decor, and clothing. One of the biggest draw was the Western Supermarket Food Pavilion. Over 75 vendors handed out free samples of everything from cakes and cookies, to ice cream, to beverages you needed to be carded to enjoy. They even had a huge play area for children. From a vendors stand point this place was great. Every evening they had hot refreshments sat up in a very nice vendors lounge. We had chicken wings, meatballs, hot sandwiches, chips and dip, and well you get the idea. Everyday they offered a hot lunch for purchase. And $7 got you a lot. One afternoon I had a huge piece of chicken, corn, potatoes, peas, salad, a roll, cake, and tea! Then one day hot roast beef open faced sandwich with fries, salad, corn on the cob, dessert, and drink! The show was held at the BJCC Center which is right next to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The complex does have rest rooms and elevators and escalator for the handicapped. They do have actual food vendors where you can purchase a full meal, and not just nibble food. There are also plenty of restaurants in the downtown area within walking distance of the complex. Your ticket does offer in and out privileges. The complex does have its own indoor parking, but parking is neither free nor are there in and out privileges. Complex parking was $7. There are several lots surrounding the complex and prices range from $7-$10 also with no in and out privileges. Hours/admission/info. This years ticket prices were $9 (a) $7 (s) Free for children under 12Hours: Thursday 11am- 8pmFriday 11am to 9pmSaturday 10am to 8pmSunday noon-6pm. Website: www.homeandgardenshow.tv www.bjcc.org If your in town next year and want plenty of ideas to get your green thumb ready, make sure to take in this great show. Very highly recommended Close
Written by vampirefan on 30 May, 2007
Located in the heart of downtown Birmingham, you will find the very impressive Birmingham Museum of Art. The museum contains over 22,000 works of arts and is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the Southeast. What started as five rooms in the…Read More
Located in the heart of downtown Birmingham, you will find the very impressive Birmingham Museum of Art. The museum contains over 22,000 works of arts and is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the Southeast. What started as five rooms in the city hall at the turn of the last century went on to be this remarkable art museum in 1951. Today works from ancient to modern are covered. They include European, Asian, American, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American. Their decorative arts collection includes one of the most extensive cast iron collections in the world. Here you will find the classic beauty of Tiffany and furniture made by legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. They also have a massive Wedgwood collection. The collection is a feast for the eyes as it shows Wedgwood comes in more than just blue and includes more than just china. It is also the largest special collection devoted to Wedgwood in the world. You can even see what an Oscar looks like up close. Their paintings include American, Modern, and European. Their American brings to life the beauty of the southwest. Their European includes masters such as Fragonard, Drouais, Courbet, and my favorite…Monet. Their impressive photography collection shows of the skills of Alfred Stieglitzz, Gordon Parks, Cindy Sherman, and Daine Arbus. She was recently portrayed by Nicole Kidman in the move Fur . Step outside the museum and enjoy the divine Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Gardens. The gardens offer three levels (Red Mountains Garden, Lower Gallery, and Upper Plaza) and cover over 30,000 sq. ft. The gardens were done in 1993 by Elyn Zimmerman and architect, Edward Larrabee Barnes. The works include Rodin, Botero, Lipchitz, and Caro. The museum is just incredible offering visitors a multitude of paintings, sculptures, masks, costumes, statues of deities, pottery, and so on. One of my favorites was the Asian display which showed the renowned Ming vases as well as the exquisite and ornate work of the kimono. Once inside the building your eyes will be immediately to the Chihuly glass display jut beyond the visitor’s desk. I asked the volunteer at the desk if they had been lucky enough to have the Chihuly exhibition when it was touring. The very pleasant lady told me that they had commissioned Chihuly to do the Birmingham Persian Wall and Dale had come in specifically to oversee the installation. You can hold your corporate meeting in their auditorium, have your wedding in their sculpture garden, or host your anniversary dinner as the Persian Wall illuminates at night. The staff is glad to help you with your next corporate or social gathering. In fact when I was here, they were hosting a high school senior party. The Clarence B. Hanson Jr. Library is one of the largest art research libraries in the Southeast. The library works closely with over 250 other art museums to provide reference material, artist’s files, collection catalogs, auction catalogs, indexes, and periodicals. They also offer online and CD references. They are open from 10am to 4pm during the week. They have the Terrace Café which over looks the sculpture gardens for when you need to refuel before enjoying the rest of the museum. They do have a gift shop. They are fully handicapped accessible. They do host groups, especially school groups. They do offer free parking. You can pick up a stroller at the visitor's desk. Photography and hand held camcorders are permitted. You have to check in at the security guard desk first though. They also have a number of lectures, classes, and workshops for the public. They also offer several really amazing travel trips. Hours/admission/info Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday noon-5 pmClosed Monday, New Years, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Admission: Free! But please be nice and make a donation. Some events may carry a separate admission. From October 14th through January 27, 2008, Birmingham Art Museum will be proudly hosting Pompeii: Tales from the Eruption . There are only a handful of museums lucky enough to host this exhibit. Of course admission will be charged for this and you can go on line to purchase tickets. If you like fascinating art exhibits like I do check out www.artknowledgenews.com for information on art exhibits all over the country. Website: www.artsbma.org. The Birmingham Museum of art is a real treat for the visitor to Birmingham. You can spend hours in here and never get bored. The people of Birmingham truly have a special place here indeed. Now make sure you visit when in town. Very highly recommended Close
For one of the best views of Birmingham and the surrounding area, you have to stop in at Vulcan Park and take the elevator up over 100 feet off the ground for a breathtaking view, day or night, of the Magic City. In 1904 NY…Read More
For one of the best views of Birmingham and the surrounding area, you have to stop in at Vulcan Park and take the elevator up over 100 feet off the ground for a breathtaking view, day or night, of the Magic City. In 1904 NY sculpture, Giuseppe Moretti built the 56’ (and weights in at a hefty 101,200 pounds) cast iron statue for the World’s Fair in St. Louis. After the fair the statue just sat around and collected dust. In the 1930s the Kiwanis Club decided to purchase the statue as a symbol of Birmingham. After all Birmingham was a city of iron and Vulcan is the Roman God of fire and forge. So the club built a park around it and soon it was open to the public to enjoy. In 1999 some cracks started to cause it to become a safety hazard. The park was shut down and work on the statue began. It was rededicated to the public once again in 2004. Today this Roman god keeps his watchful eye on the city and the surrounding areas of the Red Mountains. The statue is the world’s largest cast iron statue and the largest metal statue in the US. In 2006 it was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation's highest honor-the Honor Award. The park sits on 10 acres in the Red Mountains just out side of Birmingham. Before you go up the observation tower take the time to come inside and enjoy the museum. The museum has numerous displays and several interactive displays. Guests take a tour through history as you see displays and information of the building of this monumental statue as well as the history of Birmingham. You can even stand by a huge replica of Vulcan’s foot. For the adventurous, step outside and get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area high atop the observation tower. You can either take the steps up to the tower or take the elevator, which will whisk you up in a matter of seconds and deposit you 124’ feet in the air. There is an observation deck that sits under the statue and gives you spectacular views of Birmingham and the surrounding area. Prefer keeping your feet on the ground? There is an overlook right outside of the park office that also give guests great views. And make sure to look down and check out the large scale ground map of the area. The park does offer rental facilities for your next meeting, workshop, or social event. They have both the indoor meeting room as well as a platform at the city overlook. Throughout the year the parks hosts a number of workshops and events including the upcoming Birthday Bash for Vulcan, which is held in June. The facility always welcomes groups. There is a gift shop on the premises as well as restrooms. The park is handicapped accessible. Hours/admission/info Museum: Monday-Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 1 to 6pmGrounds: 7am to 10pm dailyObservation tower: Monday through Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday 1 to 10pm. Admission (museum/observation tower): $6 (a)$5 (s)$4 (c)$3 (nighttime observation tower)Your day time admission allows you to come back to the observation tower in the evening on the same day for free. There is no admission to simply enjoy the grounds. They are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas. The observation tower may have to close during inclement weather. Website: www.visitvulcan.com You can see the statue from all over Birmingham. And with the Red Mountains as his backdrop, it is truly amazing. If you’re in Birmingham you must stop in. The views here will leave you speechless. This place is one of the best bargains around and defiantly one of my picks of things do in Birmingham. Very highly recommended Close
Thankfully I had my trusty historical homes guides or I would not have known about this place. I didn’t see it listed in any visitor’s guides. It is a shame as this place is certainly not to be missed. Arlington was the home of Judge…Read More
Thankfully I had my trusty historical homes guides or I would not have known about this place. I didn’t see it listed in any visitor’s guides. It is a shame as this place is certainly not to be missed. Arlington was the home of Judge William S. Mudd. Mudd went on to become one of the founding fathers of Birmingham. The exact date when the house was built remains unclear. But it is believed that the judge had the house built around 1822 but later expanded it to what you see today around 1842. When it was first built the design was strictly Greek Revival but later additions added Colonial Revival touches to the home. The home originally sat on 80 acres of land and was then in a city known as Elyton. The judge, his wife, and nine children enjoyed life here at "The Grove" (the original name of Arlington). In 1871 a new city was started 3 miles east of Elyton and the founders named it Birmingham after yes, Birmingham England. It was hoped that like its name sake it would also become a steel producing entity. Birmingham lived up to its name sake and due to an explosion of growth in the 1880s it was known as "The Magic City". In 1886 Franklin H. Whitney of Iowa purchased the home. He divided the property into several lots and named it "Arlington Survey" and the Arlington stayed. During the Civil War the home was used by Yankee (i.e. Union to be P.C. to our northern neighbors) General James Wilson as his headquarters. It was here that Wilson ordered the burning of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and to destroy the local iron furnaces. Like many southern homes, Arlington went through a secession of owners. The last owner was Texan Robert S. Munger. It was Munger who restored the house and added the Colonial Revival touches to the home. This was used as the family’s summer home until 1924 when they moved in permanently. In 1953 a local group of citizens started acquiring the funds to purchase the house and restore it to its antebellum splendor. The city matched their funds and the home was purchased to be used for a house museum. Today visitors will be enchanted with this spectacular home. The home is noted for its collection southern made pieces as its decorative arts collection. They also have an impressive collection of silver, textiles, and art. Most of the pieces are not original to the family but are of the time period. After touring the home you can enjoy several out buildings on the property, the gardens, and the lawn. They do have a gift shop on the premises and restrooms. Due to the nature of the home it is not handicapped accessible. They host a number of events during the year including holiday celebrations and summer lunches on Thursday in the historic garden room. The home does offer rentals for your next big affair and you can get married on the lawn here. How Scarlet O’Hara is that?Normally you are given a guided tour of the home. When I arrived at 10am on the dot this Friday morning, they seemed shocked to see me. I am assuming people don’t start arriving until later in the off season (I was here the first of March). I paid for my ticket and was given instructions to go to the front of the house and knock and the security guard would let me in. When I arrived the security guard, who looked an awful lot like actor Thom Barry (Will Jeffries on CSB’S Cold Case ) let me in. The home is just delightful. The rooms are beautifully decorated to give you an idea of how the richer half lived in the pre-civil war South. Normally it takes you about 45 minutes to see the home. But I only spent a total of about 45 minutes total. I hate I didn’t get a guided tour, but maybe some other time. I was just happy to visit this amazing beauty. Hours/admission/info Hours:Tuesday-Saturday 10am to 4pmSunday 1pm until 4pmAdmission:$5 (a)$3 (c)Website: www.informationbirmingham.com/arlington/index.htm. As always these are the best guide for southern mansion hunting:Bob Vila’s Guide to Historic Homes of the South by of course Bob Vila . It is an older book so you need to get it from a used book shop or Amazon. Marvelous Old Mansions by Sylvia Higginbotham. You can purchase the book from your favorite store or directly at www.blairpub.com. Now I must warn you, if you are driving in from downtown Birmingham, you will not be driving through the best neighborhood around. But don’t let that scare you off. Once you pull into the street and see this glorious mansion sitting ever so gracefully on the hill, you know all is right with the world. This is a must stop when in Birmingham. Very highly recommended Close
Written by Amber Autumn on 03 Sep, 2008
Hamilton is a small town nestled among the northern Alabama hills that is charming and serene. I had never traveled to northern Alabama before, so I did like any person who had no idea where they're going: look on Mapquest. Both my mother…Read More
Hamilton is a small town nestled among the northern Alabama hills that is charming and serene. I had never traveled to northern Alabama before, so I did like any person who had no idea where they're going: look on Mapquest. Both my mother and I printed out directions for the Econo Lodge, and found two totally different directions!
So, from the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, we began on I-59 heading toward Hattiesburg. Took an exit leading toward Macon, which is spelled out in a hedge by this industrial plant. Down the long, hilly roads, we saw grass, trees, and very few cars. I believe we were heading toward Columbus in the northeast corner of Missisippi looking for Military Road, or MS-12. We found MS-12 or Military Road with a fork in the road. After taking a left and driving up and down the hills, we thought we were lost. So, we stopped at an isolated gas station and a lonely country home and found out we were on the right path. MS-12 turns into Alabama 18 interstate. There will be a sign that tells you when you crossed the Mississippi/Alabama state line. The directions then said to look for Mc Gill Gin Road, which we never found.
After many miles and hours of traveling, we continued our path down Alabama 18 and found the cities of Vernon, Crossville, Fayette, and Bankston. No Hamilton. No Mc Gill Gin Road. By this time we were close to Tuscaloosa, and knew that we were really lost. Tuscaloosa is southeast from Hamilton. The best way to find your error is to retrace your steps, so we drove back to I-43 and found Fayette. The man at Mc Donald's was nice enough to point us in the right direction.
Once again, we were on the right path and didn't know it. By driving up I-43 where the Mc Donald's was located, we would find a city named Winfield. From Winfield, we turned left at the Movie Theater, which was on the left side of the street and multi-colored. Winfield would take us into Gu-Win (or Guin). I think we took a right at Guin before we traveled to the outskirts of the city with a fork in the road.
Finally, after eleven hours, we found Hamilton!
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 04 Aug, 2008
A small city of about 11,000 people located in the heart of the Tuskegee National Forest in East Central Alabama, Tuskegee is a small city with a huge history dating from its foundation in 1833 by General Thomas Simpson Woodward, who fought under Andrew Jackson…Read More
A small city of about 11,000 people located in the heart of the Tuskegee National Forest in East Central Alabama, Tuskegee is a small city with a huge history dating from its foundation in 1833 by General Thomas Simpson Woodward, who fought under Andrew Jackson during the Indian Wars of the early 19th Century around Alabama and Tennessee. The name Tuskegee comes from the Muskhogean Creek Native American word meaning "warrior." Before the white people settled Tuskegee, the Taskigis, Chehaws, Tallahassee, and Channuanugee Native American tribes lived in and around Tuskegee. General Woodward built and lived in the first house built in Tuskegee, which burned to the ground but was rebuilt by the Campbell family.
Tuskegee was the home of the first law school in Alabama along with other institutes of higher education for both men and women including The Tuskegee Female College (1856 and later Huntingdon College), the Tuskegee Military Institute, and the world reknown Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), which was founded by Lewis Adams as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers in 1881. From the late 19th Century to the present, Tuskegee, Alabama has been the center for many African-American achievements in science, education, and history. George Washington Carver (1864-1943), an African-American scientist and teacher at Tuskegee Institute came up with many improvements for Southern farming and crops including crop rotation and teaching freed slaves how to farm and become self-sufficient. Booker T. Washington, another African-American pioneer taught at Tuskegee University and is buried next to George Washington Carver.
Tuskegee is also the birthplace of Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist who refused to sit in the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama that triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1963. Rosa Parks Plaza on the road to Tuskegee University is named in Rosa Parks Honor.
During World War II, Tuskegee was the home to the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American Air Force unit that consisted of many students from Tuskegee Univeristy. It was these landmark times in history that put Tuskegee, Alabama on the map and today and in the future will keep making history in the fields education, history, and science.
Written by NiteOwlTX on 29 Mar, 2006
Two days will give you plenty of time to see all of the Shoals attractions, as well as a little spare time to relax or shop. The best days to visit are Thursday and Friday; as the Indian Mound and Museum, Pope's Tavern, W.C.Handy Birthplace…Read More
Two days will give you plenty of time to see all of the Shoals attractions, as well as a little spare time to relax or shop. The best days to visit are Thursday and Friday; as the Indian Mound and Museum, Pope's Tavern, W.C.Handy Birthplace and Museum, and the Rosenbaum Home are all closed on Sunday and Monday. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is closed on Sunday. Dismals Canyon is open year round on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and seasonally for 7 days a week; the water show at Spring Park is also Friday through Sunday. The Kennedy Douglass Center for the Arts is open Monday through Friday. The Tennessee Valley Art Center is closed on Saturday.Given the various openings and closings of the attractions, you will have to plan your trip accordingly. Assuming you arrive on Thursday and stay through Friday night, you can follow this outline.Begin your tour at the Coondog Cemetery (free). Located about 20 minutes outside of town, if you leave your hotel at sunrise, you will be able to see the site and return to the city before any of the other attractions open.Next drive into Florence to the Indian Mound and Museum ($2). This attraction opens at 10am, so if you leave your hotel at 9am, you can see the coon dog cemetery and be at the Indian Mounds when it opens. Watching the video, talking to the attendant, viewing the exhibits, and walking up the mound will take about an hour.Next, drive to the W.C.Handy Home and Museum ($2). The guided tour takes about 30 minutes; to smooth out some drive time, you can count on this attraction taking an hour.It is only a short drive to the Rosenbaum House ($8). The guided tour takes about an hour.Then, drive across town to the Kennedy Douglass Center for the Arts (free). Depending on the exhibits, you will spend about an hour at this attraction.Next, drive to Pope's Tavern ($2).The last tour here begins at 3pm. You will probably be here well before that.To end the day, move to the Wilson Dam (free) to see the sunset. This is a great place to have a river side picnic supper before going to sleep for the night.On day two, begin at the LaGrange College Site (free). Spend an hour relaxing in the park or looking at the cemetery before you drive back to the city.Next drive to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame ($8). The hall of fame opens at 9am, so as long as you leave the LaGrange Site by 8am, you'll be able to make it here for the opening. The self guided tour here will take about an hour and a half.It's about a 30 minute drive away, but next you should go to Dismals Canyon ($8). You should bring a packed lunch and plan on spending about an hour and a half at this attraction. With a 30 minute drive back to town, you should be back by 1pm.Proceed to Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller ($6). With a tour that takes 30 minutes and another 30 minutes to see the grounds, you should allocate an hour to see this site.Right across the street from Ivy Green is the Tennessee Valley Arts Center ($5). Depending on your interest and the subject matter provided, you should plan on an hour at this attraction.Drive just down the hill to Spring Park (free). From here you can catch a trolley to the historic downtown Tuscumbia, where you can see the stage coach stop and the courthouse, you can stop by the ice-cream parlor for a sundae, or you can spend the afternoon shopping at the many antique shops in the district. Take the trolley back to Spring park at the end of the afternoon to spend a relaxing hour or so in the park. At 7pm, the water show starts. After the show you can retire for the night.You should be complete with all these attractions by sundown and can head back to your hotel for the night. It is only a short drive to Decatur or Cullman, depending on your next destination.Total cost of the trip is $41, plus food, gas, and lodging.I recommend a weekend trip to Florence for anyone interested in a variety of history topics and for families with children. Also, this trip is a nice getaway weekend for those who have never been here before. Close
Written by NiteOwlTX on 17 Mar, 2006
One day is plenty of time to see all the attractions in Cullman. The best days to visit are Monday through Friday, as the Cullman County Museum is closed on Saturday, and the Shrine and the Grotto are mostly religious sites which are inappropriate on…Read More
One day is plenty of time to see all the attractions in Cullman. The best days to visit are Monday through Friday, as the Cullman County Museum is closed on Saturday, and the Shrine and the Grotto are mostly religious sites which are inappropriate on Sunday.You should begin your tour just outside of Oneonta in Blount County. Here you can see the covered bridges. Depending on your interest, and how many times you drive back and forth on them, you can see all the bridges in about an hour (free). If you stay the night in Cullman of Gadsden, you can leave either at 6:30am to be at the bridges by 7am.Next, head to Hanceville, to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament (free). If you see the bridges by 7:30am, you should make it to the shrine by 8am. Visit the Castle first to get the guide to the site. Follow the guide around the site to see all of the interesting features. It takes about 2 hours to see, and appreciate this site.Drive to Cullman and visit the Ave Maria Grotto ($5). Spend a couple of hours exploring the grotto.Move to the Cullman County Museum ($2). Touring the museum should take about an hour.Next, drive to downtown Cullman, here you will be able to spend a couple of minutes looking through the many antique shops, or grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. You might also check out the Historic Warehouse District, which houses a multitude of unique shops. Also, you might want to check out A Touch of German which offers a selection of German wares.While walking around downtown Cullman, take note of the Weiss cottage (the oldest building in town), the Cullman depot, and the historic district. You should plan on leaving Cullman by 2pm.Leave Cullman heading west and you will run into the Clarkson Covered Bridge. There is little here except the bridge which serves as memorial for the battle that took place here. Touring this site will take less then half an hour.Next, head to Double Springs. Here you will find the "Free State of Winston" statue. This memorial is here to celebrate the fact that Winston county actually succeeded from the state of Alabama, right after Alabama succeeded from the Union before the state of the Civil War. Forced to comply by surrounding Confederates, this area was known as a haven for those who were sympathetic to northern issues.Continue traveling west to the Natural Bridge ($3). Touring this site will take less then half an hour.Finally, continue traveling west to Hamilton for some shopping, or a nice dinner. You should see Brown's Pottery for some interesting handmade pottery, sculpted in the historic fashion. Be sure to see the face jugs, which are the shops specialty.You should be complete with all of these attractions by 5pm.Total cost of the trip is $10, plus food, gas, and lodging.I recommend a day trip to Cullman for anyone interested in spirituality and for families with children. Also, this trip is nice for frugal travellers as all the attractions combined cost only $10; hotels are cheaper as this is not a major tourist destination. Close