June 2, 2009---The 4 mcgees set out to visit historical sites in a rental car. Florence, Alabama and the surrounding area is truly a cross roads of early settlement. We left the boat expecting a long day.
First stop was the Indian Mound Museum. It is not a large building, but a good collection of local Indian artifacts tell the story of migration and progression. Near the building is the mound. It is the highest domiciliary mound in the Tennessee Valley with a height of 42’ and a width at the base of 180’. It was built between 200 AD and 1500 AD by Indians of the Mississippi culture. These types of mounds served as bases for Ceremonial Temples.
There are 72 steps to reach the top of the mound. I noticed Keith was breathing a bit heavy when he reached the summit.
If you like pasta there is a good place to go. Ricatoni’s Italian Grill on Court Street offers a fine selection that is well prepared.
A short walk on the campus at the University of North Alabama was very pleasant. It is a beautiful setting, but the lions were hiding, maybe tomorrow.
Popes Tavern is the oldest building in Florence dating back to 1811. At one time it was a stage coach stop on the Andrew Jackson Military Road. During the Civil War it served as a hospital. It is now a museum furnished with interesting 18th and 19th century antiques. The first outboard engine used on the Tennessee River was quite interesting.
A visit to the home of W.C. Hardy was interesting. It is now a museum with a collection of personal papers, photographs and other artifacts that were important to him during his life and musical career. He is known as the “Father of the Blues”. He wrote more than 150 secular and sacred musical compositions. His greatest work, “Saint Louis Blues” was written in 1914. He died in New York City March 28, 1958 at the age of 85.
Since the temperature pushed 90 degrees, a stop at Trowbridges Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop seemed very important. You guessed correctly, it was not for a sandwich.
Carol & Maryann noticed a Trolley Tour advertised in some of the materials they had accumulated. The tour would be in Tuscumbia, Alabama at 6:00 p.m. There is surely time for one more activity! This town is located across the Tennessee River from Florence. It was a short 6 mile drive over the bridge and thru the little town called Sheffield, not far from the town called Muscle Shoals.
We made a stop at the old train depot. This was the home of the first railroad west of the Alleghenies.
A pleasant hour was spent in Spring Park before getting on the trolley. The waterfall is a quite a nice attraction.
The 1 ½ hour trolley tour took us past many old homes and churches that were built in the early and mid 1800’s. The narrator did a good job of providing historical information about the people who built Tuscumbia. A great job has been done preserving their heritage. Many of the old homes are still lived in today.