Heroes & Heroines
Learn about some of Alabama's most famous Alabamians.
North Alabama was home to several courageous people who changed the world. Visit the Helen Keller Birthplace in Tuscumbia and learn about the “First Lady of Courage” and all the strides she made for the deaf and blind. In Oakville, visit the Jesse Owens Museum and Oakville Indian Mound Park to learn about Owens’ Olympic triumph over Adolf Hitler in the 1936 Olympics and how Sequoia created the Cherokee alphabet. And not too far from Oakville is the home of General Joe Wheeler, who was a general in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and the Philippine-American War. Learn about these famous north Alabamians and more on the Heroes & Heroines tour.
Tour Timeline: Any Season
(Please note, depending on when flight arrives at Huntsville International Airport, optional afternoon and evening receptions or destination stops may be added.)
1. Helen Keller Home, Gardens and Museum
Located just a couple miles from Spring Park. The plantation home and birthplace cottage, dating back to the 1820’s are listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places. Original furnishings of the Keller family decorate the home and museum, highlighted by hundreds of Miss Keller’s personal mementos, books, and gifts from her lifetime of travel and lectures for the betterment of the world’s blind and deaf-blind.
LaGrange College Site Park
- Location: 1491 LaGrange College Rd. Leighton, AL 35676
- Phone: (256) 446-9324
2. LaGrange College Site Park
Alabama's first chartered college, which quickly became known as "The West Point of the South" following its establishment in 1830. Pioneer Village, antebellum cemetery, picnic area.
Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler Home
- Location: 12280 Hwy. 20 Hillsboro, AL 35643
- Phone: (256) 637-8513
3. General Joe Wheeler Home
Known as Pond Spring, was home to Fighting Joseph Wheeler, former Major General of Cavalry of the Confederate western army. Wheeler was a U.S. Congressman following the Civil War. “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler became a national symbol for reunification and reconciliation following the Civil War and throughout the latter half of the 19th Century.
4. Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center
Features the largest 2,000-year-old Woodland Indian Mound in Alabama, early settler cemetery, Black Warriors Path, 8,000 sq. ft. 122-acre park with 20-acre fishing pond, and walking paths.
5. Jesse Owens Museum
A 20-acre park, near Jesse Owens’ birthplace, honors the track great who captured four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The park both educates and entertains with a museum, broad jump pit, life-size bronze statue, 1936 torch replica, Olympic Gold Medal Tree, home replica, playground, ball fields, picnic pavilions, gift shop, and visitor’s center. Alabama Mountain.
Old State Bank
- Location: 925 Bank Street Decatur, AL 35601
- Phone: 256 341-4818 256 565-3788 Cell
6. Old State Bank
The Old State Bank was one of three banks authorized by the The Alabama General Assembly in 1832. Few structures can boast as varied a past as the Bank. Since its construction, the building has weathered two depressions and a Civil War, and has served as hospital, guardhouse, bank and dance hall. Named to the National Register of Historical Places in 1972, the Classic Revival architecture of the Bank is symbolic of the period in which it was built.
7. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Offers wildlife displays, orientation video, wildlife observation building, hiking trails, and the opportunity to view a live red-tailed hawk. Many recreational opportunities including hunting & fishing.
8. Cullman County Museum
9. Ave Maria Grotto
- Location: 370 Rickwood Park Rd Warrior, AL 35180
- Phone: (205) 647-9692
10. Rickwood Caverns State Park
Miracle mile of underground caverns! The park has 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish, underground pool, an Olympic-size swimming pool, meeting rooms, picnic area, picnic shelters, hiking trails, playground, campground, and gift shop where visitors can pan for gemstones.
11. Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration keep a constant prayer vigil at the Shrine, inviting people from all walks of life and faiths to see what the Lord has accomplished here. The Shrine grounds consist of : Cloistered Monastery, Upper and Lower church, near life sized Nativity scene, Lourdes Grotto, John Paul II Eucharistic Center, and the Castle which houses the Gift Shop of El Nino, conference rooms, and downstairs dining area.
The EarlyWorks Family of Museums include the Alabama Constitution Village, the Huntsville Depot and Museum, and EarlyWorks Children's History Museum. These three museums in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville will take you on a journey back in time. Experience history as it comes to life.
13. US Space & Rocket Center
Huntsville is home to the largest space museum in the world: the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Not only is America’s space program on exhibit in Huntsville, it was forged in Huntsville. We’re known as the “Rocket City” because Huntsville, Alabama is where rockets were developed that put men on the moon.
14. Alabama Constitution Village
Step inside the picket fence and be transported back to 1819…Hear the whirl of the spinning wheel… smell the enticing aroma of freshly baked bread being prepared over an open fire… turn the great wheel lathe in the cabinetmaker’s shop… and visit with villagers busy with their daily tasks, seemingly unaware that nearly two centuries have come and gone. Forty-four delegates of the constitutional convention gathered here in a vacant cabinet shop on July 5, 1819, to organize Alabama as the 22nd state. John Boardman’s print shop, Clement Comer Clay’s law office, the Federal Land Surveyor’s office, a post office and sheriff Stephen Neal’s residence surround that cabinet shop.
15. Huntsville Botanical Garden
Huntsville Botanical Garden is located in the heart of Madison County, right off I-565, adjacent to the US Space & Rocket Center and offers the optimal blend – wildlife, foliage, florals, trails, specialty gardens, pavilions, a butterfly house, walkways, lakes, and more.
16. Lowe Mill
America's largest independent art facility! With more than 200 artists in 127 incredible studios, Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment is the place to be in Huntsville if you are a lover of art, music, food and fun. With over a hundred artists working in public studio spaces, three art galleries, a theater that hosts every imaginable kind of live performance, a record store, food stands, and dozens of events, shows, classes every month, there is always something fun to do at Lowe Mill.
Covered bridges are scattered all around North Alabama and remind us of the way things used to be.