Tuscumbia sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northwest Alabama in an area known as the Shoals. The area is rich with history beginning with the Native Americans who lived near the big spring for thousands of years.
The European influence began with the Spanish under De Soto and the French, who had a trading post here in the 1700s. In the early 1800s, the African American influence became prevalent. Tuscumbia was America’s first frontier railroad town with the incorporation of Tuscumbia Railroad Company and the home of “America’s First Lady of Courage,” Helen Keller.
Today, Tuscumbia contains the oldest commercial buildings in the state of Alabama. Rail service was expanded in 1834 around the treacherous Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River between Florence and Decatur, connecting steamboats at Tuscumbia Landing with Decatur, Alabama. Thousands of Native Americans—Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw—were removed from Tuscumbia to their new home in Indian Territory.
Highlights of Tuscumbia:
• Big Spring and Spring Park
• Education, religion and Tuscumbians
John L. McWilliams, a local historian, has authored Life on My Side of the River, Tuscumbia: America’s First Frontier Railroad Town, and Spring Park: A Pictorial History. Many of the photographs and postcards printed in this book are from his private collection.
Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.
# # #
With more than 7,500 local history titles published to date, Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Widely recognized sepia books feature hundreds of vintage historical images.