Scottsboro Preserves Its Historic Past

Scottsboro, Alabama, incorporated in 1870, is a city rich in history. Its past has been well preserved in its historic districts and structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown historic district contains the courthouse square. Its tree-lined streets are lined with historic homes. Most of the properties are privately owned, but a walk or drive around town affords visitors the opportunity to view a number of these historic structures.

The Public Square Historic District contains Scottsboro’s quaint courthouse square. The Jackson County Courthouse, constructed in 1911-12, is the attractive centerpiece. The brick structure was designed in the Neo-Classical style, with four Doric columns supporting its front portico. The building is topped with a cupola containing a clock. The courthouse was the site of the 1931 trial of the Scottsboro Boys, nine young black defendants accused of raping a white woman. Some people consider this trial to be the beginning of the civil rights movement in America. More than two dozen of the buildings surrounding the square have been designated as historic structures. Most are one or 2-story brick commercial structures from the early 20th century.

The Scottsboro Railroad Depot, at North Houston Street and Maple Avenue, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The brick building was constructed in 1860-61 as a passenger and freight depot for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. On January 8, 1865 it became the focus of an intense Civil War battle between Union forces that held the depot and Confederate troops under the command of Brig. Gen. H.B. Lyon. Confederate artillery eventually drove the Union soldiers from the building. This depot is one of only three remaining pre-Civil War depots in Alabama.

The Brown-Proctor House on South Houston Street is another property listed on the National Register. The Greek-Revival style mansion, built in 1880, currently houses the Jackson Heritage Center. Visitors may tour the home as well as Sagetown, the center’s pioneer village. A number of authentic buildings have been moved to the location for preservation, including cabins, a school, and Jackson County’s first courthouse, built in 1868.

The College Hill Historic District includes ten structures on College Avenue between Scott and Kyle Streets. This area was Scottsboro’s first subdivision. Homes in the district date from 1909 to the 1940s. The building styles include Bungalow, Craftsman, and Classical-Revival.

The preservation efforts in the historic districts show Scottsboro’s commitment to honoring its history. This picturesque town in northeast Alabama is well worth a visit.

Enjoy Holiday Festivities in Scottsboro, Alabama

The Scottsboro, Alabama area kicks off the holiday season with several fun activities. The Scottsboro Christmas Parade is scheduled for Monday, December 6. The parade is sponsored by the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and begins at 6pm. The parade route travels down Broad Street to downtown. This year’s theme will be “Christmas Songs on Parade”. After the parade, enjoy the holiday lights downtown.

The parade is the finale of First Monday Weekend. Held from December 4-6, this huge festival takes place in downtown Scottsboro in the area around the Jackson County Courthouse Square. Buyers will find handmade crafts, furniture, antiques, baskets, plants, clothing, and food vendors. This event attracts thousands of people over the long weekend. It is a great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping. The specialty shops downtown are also popular with area shoppers. The huge Unclaimed Baggage Center provides another interesting shopping venue. The center offers a variety of bargains in great condition, professionally displayed. This is one of Alabama’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Jackson Heritage Center is beautifully decorated for the holidays. The centerpiece of the property is the Brown-Proctor House, built in the Greek Revival style in 1880. Each room in the historic home has been decorated by the Scottsboro Garden Club. After touring the home, visitors may also tour Sagetown, the center’s pioneer village. A number of authentic buildings have been moved to the location for preservation, including cabins, a school, and Jackson County’s first courthouse, built in 1868.

Nearby Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville presents a special holiday program on December 3-4. The program, entitled “The Spirit of Christmas”, begins at 7pm in the Tom Bevill Lyceum. The NACC chorus will perform holiday favorites, followed by selections by the Jazz Band. Then there will be a traditional Christmas Nativity pageant with live animals. Bring the family to this annual event and celebrate the real reason for the Christmas season.

If visiting Scottsboro during the holiday season, join residents in celebrating some of their favorite holiday traditions. Enjoy the parade and the downtown lights, tour a beautifully decorated historic home, purchase some holiday bargains, or attend the holiday performance at the college. These festivities are sure to put visitors in a holiday mood.

A Visit to Bardstown KY – Bourbon Capital of the World – 5 Things You Must Do

On my recent all-too-brief trip to Bourbon Country and Bardstown, KY, I had time to do a few things that I wanted but I saw so much more that I would love to experience. Luckily for me I live only about 40 miles away so I can go back and do these later. If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself in Bardstown, here are five activities or attractions that you should consider doing.

1. Visit a Distillery or Two. Okay, this is really the only real “must-do” in bourbon country. I only had the time to visit Heaven Hill, the closest distillery to downtown, but there are dozens more distilleries within minutes of Bardstown including the world famous Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Distilleries. Learn how bourbon is made, the history of bourbon and the surrounding area and sample the goods at the end. What’s not to love.

2. Visit The Old Talbott Tavern. I had lunch at this historic inn and tavern that sits smack on the Courthouse Square. It now operates as a restaurant, hotel and bed & breakfast. It has a very colorful past. Here is a clip from their website:

The old stone reminder of Bardstown’s beginnings still welcomes visitors to the bustling downtown area. Since the late 1700s, the Old Talbott Tavern on Court Square has provided shelter, food and drink to Kentucky travelers.

Talbott Tavern is said to be the oldest western stagecoach stop in America as the westward expansion brought explorers from the east into Kentucky.

According to legend, figures straight from the history books sought lodging here during their travels; as a young boy Abraham Lincoln and his family stayed here, Gen. George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, and exiled French King Louis Phillipe and his entourage stayed here, even painting murals on the upstairs walls. There are noticeable bullet holes in the now faded paintings and Jesse James is said to be responsible for them.

Riiiiight. Hey, it’s possible. Jesse James mother lived in my hometown of Brandenburg and I have slept in her bedroom. She wasn’t there at the time. 😉 But that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, if you go to the Old Talbott Tavern, go for the history because the food is just average. Nothing wrong with it but it would definitely not make it onto my Roadfood Blog of places to eat on the road.

Oh, one more thing — it’s said to be haunted. Maybe it’s Jesse.

2. Walk the Courthouse Square and Downtown Area. Bardstown is proud of its history and it have reason to be. It is Kentucky’s second oldest city and has one of the largest collections of late 18th and early 19th century buildings in the Southern United States. There is even a recreation of a frontier village right on the Courthouse Square. I do love reading those little history plaques they put on old buildings.

Across from the Old Talbott Tavern there is a drugstore that still has an authentic lunch counter. If the noon crowd is any indication this would have been a much better choice for lunch though I would have probably had to wait until 3 or 4 pm to get a seat. Next time.

4. Kentucky Railway Museum. See a wealth of old engines and cars from a time when trains ruled the west at Kentucky’s official railway museum. Take a ride through the scenic Rolling Fork River Valley on the dinner train.

5. Abbey of Gethsemani. The center offers displays and a video presentation about monastery life as well as a gift shop with Gethsemani Farms products. The Abbey, founded in 1848 by the Order of Trappist Cistercians, is home today to Trappist monks who open doors to spiritual seekers from all over the world. Pick up some monk-made crafts while you are there including their world renowned cheese.

I wonder if they make beds. Get it? Monkbeds. HA!

There is so much to do in and around Bardstown that it may be best just to make a weekend of it. There are several B&B’s listed on the official site that look good and I saw at least two right downtown on the square. Who wants to drive home after all that bourbon sampling anyway.