Huntsville is one of the oldest communities in the state of Alabama.
Settled circa 1805, Huntsville which has been known as Hunt’s Spring and Twickenham pre-dated the state by almost a decade and a half.
With its age, Huntsville obviously has a lot of history, so I am pleased to present these locations.
4 Lesser Known Historic Huntsville Locations
#1. Alabama’s Merci Train at the Veterans Memorial Museum
In 1949 as a gift for helping during both World War I and World War II the government of France sent a boxcar full of gifts to each state in the U.S. The boxcars were packed with all kind of gifts from all areas of France.
After years of disrepair, the boxcar was donated to the Veterans Memorial Museum where it was refurbished and put on display. Of the 49 original boxcars sent to the United States, only 43 are known to remain.
#2. Helion Lodge #1
Formed in 1811 Helion Lodge #1 is the oldest Masonic Lodge in the state of Alabama, and is credited with being the birthplace of Masonry in Alabama. The lodge was originally named Madison Lodge #21.
Many prominent Huntsville citizens have been members of Helion Lodge #1, and the lodge has seen some impressive visitors, including former U.S. President Andrew Jackson.
The current building for the Masonic Lodge is not the original building, but was built in 1917 as a connector to the original building. The north wall of the building is from the original structure and is the oldest Masonic edifice in the state.
#3. Andrew Jackson Camped Here
In August of 1813 Creek Indians attacked the settlement of Fort Mims north of Mobile killing an estimated 400 to 500 people, many of which were women and children. In response to this, the U.S. government tasked Andrew Jackson who was a hero of the War of 1812 with quelling the uprising. Jackson marched his army of 2,500 from Fayetteville, TN to battle the Creek Nation.
On their first day of the excursion, Jackson marched his men 35 miles to Huntsville where they set-up camp for the night.
The site is now a parking lot in downtown, marked with a historical marker. The Fort Mims Massacre was a smaller part of The Creek Wars, and the old saying “The good Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise” is a reference to The Creek War and not a reference to flooding.
#4. The Little Lion of Big Spring Park
Sitting near the actual spring in Big Spring Park is an often over-looked Huntsville landmark. The Little Lion of Big Spring Park was gifted to the city by J.F. Hummel for the opening of Big Spring Park in 1900.
The marble lion was meant to stay in the park “as long as children play in the park”.
Sadly, the statue was defaced and damaged in the 1960’s but the Historic Huntsville Foundation refurbished and restored the little lion to the park in 1995.