History & Heritage
Check out some of Northern Alabama's best spots for history and heritage!
Knowing our history and heritage keeps us grounded in who we are and where we came from. On the History & Heritage tour, you will learn about many different aspects of north Alabama’s heritage from architectural to military to religious.
Tour Timeline: June-Early July
(Please note, depending on when flight arrives at Huntsville International Airport, optional afternoon and evening receptions or destination stops may be added.)
1. Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives
The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, located in the 100 year old L&N Freight Depot, has over 2,000 artifacts, medals, uniforms, and wartime equipment on display from the Revolutionary War until present day. There are also over 1,000 books and 200 videos in their library.
Houston Memorial Library & Museum
- Location: 101 N. Houston St. Athens, AL 35611
- Phone: (256) 233-8770
2. Houston Memorial Library & Museum
Home of two-time Alabama Governor and US Senator George S. Houston. Public library and museum with 35,000 rare and new books, many in large print. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. WC Handy Home, Museum, & Library
Contains the most complete collection in the world of the personal papers and artifacts of the “Father of the Blues.” The hand-hewn logs in the cabin are original.
4. Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaoum Home
The only Wright designed structure in Alabama. The house is an excellent example of the Usonian style and contains furniture designed by Wright.
5. 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.
6. FAME Recording Studios
Established in 1959, was the first successful, professional recording studio in Alabama. Arthur Alexander’s 1961 hit, “You Better Move On,” cut here, launched the famous Muscle Shoals sound. The internationally acclaimed documentary, Muscle Shoals released in 2013, told the story of FAME and its founder, Rick Hall.
7. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Established in 1969 by a group of former FAME session musicians, this was the location where the Rolling Stones, Cher, Bob Segar, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkle, and many others created some of the most popular hits of the 1970’s. The rhythm section was eventually immortalized as “The Swampers” by Lynyrd Skynyrd in the lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama.”
8. Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Honors the outstanding achievements and the music of Alabamians. You’ll hear rocking rhythms and soul touching melodies as you admire the vast memorabilia from the lives and careers of more than 1,000 stars, representing all styles of America’s music.
9. Oakville Indian Mound & Museum
The Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center is a park and museum site encompassing 122 acres of woodlands, meadows, and a large lake. Couples can choose from several outdoor sites with stunning vistas of the lake and Indian Mounds. With over 20,000 artifacts on display, the Cherokee Council House Museum serves as a unique venue for indoor weddings.
10. 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.
LaGrange College Site Park
- Location: 1491 LaGrange College Rd. Leighton, AL 35676
- Phone: (256) 446-9324
11. 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.
12. General Joe Wheeler Home
Pond Spring was home to Fighting Joseph Wheeler, former Major General of the Calvary of the Confederate western army.Wheeler was a US Congressman following the Civil War. "Fightin' Joe" Wheeler became a national symbol for reunification following the civil war and throughout the latter half of the 19 Century.
13. Cullman County Museum
14. Ave Maria Grotto
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Burritt on the Mountain
Perched on a mountaintop, is the former home of Dr. William Henry Burritt. 19th Century farmsteads with daily living history activities and a large nature preserve traversed by trails.
18. 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.