Alabama: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The northernmost Spanish outpost on the Chattachoochee River, the fort was completed in 1690 to prevent the English from gaining a foothold among the Lower Creek Indians, who had rejected Spanish missionaries and accepted English traders. Punative raids by the Spanish further alienated the Lower Creeks. In 1691, due to the threat from the British and their Native American allies, Fort Apalachicola was abandoned and destroyed by the Spanish, after being occupied for only a year.

Apalachicola Fort Site

Location: On the Chattachoochee River

Relevant issues: American Indian history, European settlement

Statement of significance: The northernmost Spanish outpost on the Chattachoochee River, the fort was completed in 1690 to prevent the English from gaining a foothold among the Lower Creek Indians, who had rejected Spanish missionaries and accepted English traders. Punative raids by the Spanish further alienated the Lower Creeks. In 1691, due to the threat from the British and their Native American allies, Fort Apalachicola was abandoned and destroyed by the Spanish, after being occupied for only a year.

Clayton House

Location: Clayton, Barbour County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, legal history

Statement of significance: From 1896 to 1929, this was the home of Henry D. Clayton, Jr. (1857-1929), author of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914), which was designed to enumerate and outlaw a number of unfair trade practices and interlocking arrangements that had been the chief tools of monopolists. In 1914, Clayton was appointed a federal district judge, and he became recognized as an advocate of judicial reform.

Fort Morgan

Location: Gasque, Baldwin County

Relevant issues: Civil War, military history

Statement of significance: This fort was significant in Admiral David G. Farragut’s 1864 naval battle that opened Mobile Bay to the Union Navy and sealed off the port of Mobile to Confederate shipping.

Ivy Green

Location: Tuscumbia, Colbert County

Relevant issues: Education, social reform

Statement of significance: This ten-acre site is associated with Helen Keller (1880-1968), author and lecturer. The property includes the cottage where Keller was born and the house where she spent her early childhood (1880-1888), and the water pump, site of the communication breakthrough for the blind and deaf Keller. With the aid of her teacher and constant companion, Anne Sullivan (Macy), Keller learned to communicate with the world outside of Ivy Green. This homestead was the location of the pivotal experiences which led to Keller’s emergence in the forefront of the effort to provide better methods and facilities to educate the handicapped. Although Keller and Sullivan eventually left the homestead and resided in various locations throughout their lives together, they continued to return to Ivy Green.

Moundville Site

Location: Moundville, Hale County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: Settled first in the tenth century, Moundville is situated on a level area overlooking the Black Warrior River and consists of thirty-four mounds, the largest of which is over fifty-eight feet high. The site represents a major period of Mississippian culture in the southern portion of its distribution and acted as the center for a southerly diffusion of this culture toward the Gulf Coast.

Saturn V Launch Vehicle

Location: Huntsville, Madison County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: In July, 1969, a rocket of this type carried astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, and Michael Collins toward humankind’s first expedition to the surface of the moon. Developed by the United States for the purpose of landing a man on the moon, this vehicle was the first Saturn V constructed by the Marshall Space Flight Center under the direction of Dr. Werner von Braun (1912-1977) and served as the test vehicle for all the Saturn support facilities at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Sloss Blast Furnaces

Location: 1st Avenue and 32d Street, Birmingham, Jefferson County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Web site: www.ci.bham.al/sloss/default.htm

Statement of significance: Erected in 1881-1882 by noted southern industrialist James Withers Sloss, this is the oldest remaining blast furnace in the area and represents Alabama’s early twentieth century preeminence in the production of pig iron and cast iron pipe. The complex, which remained in operation until 1970, is an outstanding symbol of the post-Civil War efforts to industrialize the South and of the intense economic competition that existed between the predominantly agrarian region and the already-industrialized North.

Wilson Dam

Location: Florence, Colbert County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: Constructed between 1918 and 1925 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this 4,535-foot-long concrete structure spanning the Tennessee River became the first hydroelectric operation to come under the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1925. Today, Wilson Dam is one of thirty-three major TVA dams that provide flood control, regulate a 650-mile navigational channel, and provide over 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity for the seven-state Tennessee Valley region.

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