We love exploring America’s back roads and small towns and finding overlooked gems that the tourist brochures never cover. In a new series of weekly blog posts, we will be sharing some of America’s lesser-known small town museums, historic sites, and oddball attractions, on a state-by-state basis.
Calera: The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum displays timetables, railroad lanterns, signal equipment, a stove from an old caboose, antique railway cars, locomotives, and other railroad memorabilia and artifacts. Located at 1919 9th Street.
Carrollton: In 1878, a black freedman named Henry Wells was accused of arson and was being held in the garret of the Carrolltown courthouse. According to a historical plaque and local legend; at the courthouse a lynch mob formed, and while Wells watched the crowd from a window, a nearby lightning strike indelibly etched his image on the windowpane. Visitors to the courthouse can still see the image of the terrified man today.
Dothan: The U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker tells the story of Army Aviation and has one of the world’s largest collections of helicopters.
Georgiana: The Hank Williams Sr. Boyhood Home and Museum at 400 E. Railroad Avenue exhibits family photographs, record albums, and other memorabilia from the singer’s career.
Grant: Indians and Confederate soldiers hid out in the Cathedral Caverns over the years. Now a state park, the caverns are an underground wonder of rock formations.
Huntsville: At the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, one can see space shuttles, an Apollo 16 Saturn V rocket, special vehicles designed for use on the moon, and displays of space exploration equipment.
Montgomery: Old Alabama Town is called the South’s premier history village with its collection of authentically restored 19th and 20th century buildings in a magnificent setting stretching along six blocks in the heart of historic downtown Montgomery. Step back in time and experience over 100 years of history as you view meticulously restored and furnished buildings which reflect the lives of the people who settled and developed Central Alabama. Each building creates its own distinctive image of living and working in Alabama’s past, offering you a cross-section of the way life was from the elegant townhouse lifestyle to rural pioneer living. Included are mansions, shacks, barns, a one room schoolhouse, a church, and a cotton gin. Located at 301 Columbus Street.
Talladega: The International Motorsports Hall of Fame honors the drivers, automotive engineers and builders that shaped the Motorsports world. The adjacent Motorsports Museum’s collection of history making vehicles is considered priceless, and includes Richard Petty’s famous STP Dodge Charger, with its illustrious career record of 31 wins and 16 pole positions; the Budweiser Rocket car, the first car to break the speed of sound on land; Bill Elliott’s 1985 Ford Thunderbird, which holds the world’s record for the fastest 500-mile race ever run, at 186.2 mph average speed; and many other interesting cars and artifacts, including vehicles belonging to actor Gene Hackman, the late country western singer Marty Robbins, and racing legends "Fireball" Roberts and Junior Johnson. Located at 3198 Speedway Blvd.
Tuscumbia: Alabama has played an important role in American music, and many of the biggest names ever to take to the stage came from the state. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame at 617 U.S. Highway 72 tells their story with displays, artifacts and recordings.
Thought For The Day – Best friends don’t stop you from making stupid mistakes. They just provide an alibi.
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I so enjoy your daily newsletter and your blog. Hope you are getting some warm weather there in Florida. It is frigid here in Upstate New York and we do not leave for the South until beginning of March.
You made my brain work, before coffee. I was trying to figure out what state you were talking about. At least I figured it out before I got to Huntsville. We enjoyed Huntsville too, but did the tour wrong. We should have taken the bus tour on a separate day. We walked over when they opened and it was closing time when we left. Too much to take in, in one day.