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Natchez Trace - Page 8

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Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 308 to 338


Natchez Trace Alabama Map


Mile Post:

Points of Interest:


Welcome to AlabamaAlabama-Mississippi State Line - With the exception of the immediate area around Mobile and the Yazoo lands, what is now central Alabama was made part of the Mississippi Territory upon its creation in 1798. The Yazoo lands were added to the territory in 1804, following the Yazoo land scandal. Spain had kept a governmental presence in Mobile after 1812. When Andrew Jackson's forces occupied Mobile in 1814, he demonstrated the United States' de facto authority over the region, which effectively ended Spanish influence, although not its claim, while gaining an unencumbered passage to the Gulf of Mexico from the hinterlands of the territory. Prior to the admission of Mississippi as a state on December 10, 1817, the more sparsely settled eastern half of the territory was separated and Alabama Territory was  created by Congress on March 3, 1817. St. Stephens, now abandoned, served as the territorial capital from 1817 to 1819.


Bear Creek -  A shady picnic area with several picnic tables and grills sit next to Bear Creek near the Alabama-Mississippi state line.


Freedom Hills Overlook - On the way up the trail there are two benches where you can stop and rest before continuing on up the hill. Another bench is placed conveniently at the top of the trail. This is the highest point on the Trace in Alabama.


Side Trip - Tuscumbia, Alabama - The county seat of Colbert County, Alabama, Tuscumbia got its start in about 1816 when the Michael Dixon family arrived. They traded with Chief Tuscomby for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. In 1822 it was renamed Tuscumbia after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaw. A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832 and by 1850, Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South. During the Civil War, the railroad hub made Tuscumbia a target of the Union Army, which destroyed the Tuscumbia depot and other parts of the town. Today, it is called home to about 8,400.

  • Helen Keller's Birthplace - Located in Tuscumbia, Alabama, about 19 miles east of the parkway, Ivy Green, Helen Keller's birthplace, has been a permanent shrine to the "miracle" that occurred to the blind and deaf seven-year old girl's life. In 1954, the site was opened as a museum and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Helen was born healthy on June 27, 1880. However, when she was 19 months old she was stricken with a severe illness that left her both blind and deaf. Her parents sought the advice of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell who introduced them to Anne Sullivan on March 3, 1887. After her miraculous breakthrough at the well-pump where she learned the word "water" she soon knew the entire alphabet and learned over 600 words in six months. By age 10, she had mastered Braille and learned to use a typewriter. By 16, Helen could speak well enough to attend school. In 1904 she graduated "cum laude" from Radcliffe College. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, stayed by her side as Helen dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and deaf-blind people around the world. Located at 300 North Commons Street West Tuscumbia, AL 35674. Exit the Trace at milepost 320 onto US Highway 72 and travel east 19 miles.

  • Spring Park - Located in downtown Tuscumbia, just south of the central business district, Spring Park consists of a large spring forming a lake. Located inside Spring Park is Cold Water Falls, the world's largest man-made natural stone waterfall to be known in existence. The waterfall was in construction for 120 days and the largest stone weighs 77,000 pounds. Approximately 4,320,000 gallons of water pass over the falls each day. The lake features a memorial water fountain dedicated to the memory of Princess Im-Mi-Ah-Key the wife of Chief Tuscumbia. There are 51 jets that make up the fountain. The center jet shoots water in excess of 100 feet into the air and the other 50-shoot water 40-50 feet into the air. All jets are choreographed to lights and music.

  • Alabama Music Hall of Fame -  From musicians to song-writers, management, and publishing, The Alabama Music Hall of Fame provides several ways of honoring its "achievers," including informative exhibitions, a bronze star on their Walk of Fame, and the achievers' inclusion in the Hall of Fame roster. The 12,500 sq ft facility is located at 617 Highway 72 West in Tuscumbia.



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Buzzard Roost SpringBuzzard Roost Spring - Originally called Buzzard Sleep, the name was changed to Buzzard Roost in 1801 by Levi Colbert, a renowned Chickasaw chief. The spring was a water source for the Colbert house which also served as an inn and stand for travelers on the Old Natchez Trace. Travelers who stopped here remarked that its a good place for they were well received, well fed and kindly treated. Levi was a brother to George Colbert. They both ran the Colbert Ferry and their stands were about 2 hours apart by horseback.


Colbert's Ferry once crossed the wide Tennessee RiverColbert's Stand and Ferry - George Colbert, a half-Scot half-Chickasaw chief, operated a ferry across the Tennessee River from 1800 to 1819. His stand, or inn, offered travelers a warm meal and shelter during their journey on the Old Trace. He owned the ferry with his brother, Levi Colbert, who ran a stand at Buzzard Roost Spring. Looking after their own best interests, they once allegedly charged Andrew Jackson $75,000 to ferry his Tennessee Army across the river. The site of his stand is a short 50 yards up the path from the parking area. An additional 20 minute stroll will take you along the Old Trace to the bluff overlook and back. After a venison supper, one guest at Colbert's Stand spent the night in an outbuilding (Wilderness Haven) with "not less than 50 Indians, many of them drunk." Here, and at about 20 other stands along the Trace, Kaintuck riverboat men, money-laden businessmen, Indians and outlaws shared a spot of fellowship on a long hazardous road. Today, a beautiful bridge crosses the Tennessee River. Includes picnic tables, restrooms, and a boat launch.


Tennessee River - The .8 mile-long John Coffee Memorial Bridge carries the Natchez Trace Parkway across the Tennessee River. Pickwick Landing Dam, a few miles downstream, widens the river at this crossing. The bridge is named after General John Coffee who was under Andrew Jackson's command at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.


Rock Spring Nature Trail - A short half mile loop trail takes you past Colbert Creek offers you an opportunity to explore a small natural spring as it bubbles forth from the ground. In late summer when the jewelweed is in bloom, visitors may be rewarded with views of the ruby-throated hummingbirds as they migrate south. The trails and stepping stones in the area lead you across Colbert Creek past Rock Spring and through the woodlands. Since 1977 numerous beaver dams have been built then abandoned by the beaver or destroyed by high water.


Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall - Since 1988, a man named Tom Hendrix has painstakingly created the largest memorial to a Native American woman in the United States. The wall is built in memory of his great-great-grandmother, Te-lah-nay, a Yuchi Indian who was part of the American Indian Removal to Oklahoma. Te-lah-nay and her family lived in this area near the Tennessee River, which they called the Singing River because they believed a woman who lived in the river sang to them. When Te-lah-nay arrived in Oklahoma she was homesick because the rivers did not sing to her. After spending just one winter in Indian Territory, Te-lah-nay returned to Mississippi alone facing hardship and peril along the way. Learning of her courage from his grandmother, Tom wanted to do something to honor her memory. During a conversation with an elder of the Yuchi tribe he was told "All things shall pass. Only the stones will remain." It was then that he knew what he needed to do. Since that time, Tom has been building the wall, lifting nearly 2,700 pounds a day, every day, constructing the largest un-mortared stone wall in the country. His tribute includes a prayer circle and a music circle and is home to fertility objects and to miracle stones. Because he believes that this healing wall and spiritual space belongs to all people, Tom welcomes visitors to come and experience Te-lah-nay’s journey and to honor our own ancestors. The Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall is located just east of the parkway near milepost 338.



Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 339-442


Natchez Trace Tennessee Map



Tennessee-Alabama State Line -  In 1663 King Charles II of England granted the colony of Carolina, all land between 31 and 36 degrees north latitude from the Atlantic Ocean west, in a direct line as far as the South Seas. The separation of North and South Carolina fixed the boundary between them at 35 degrees in 1735. North Carolina's release of land claims west of the Appalachian Mountains permitted establishment of the state of Tennessee with the same southern boundary. John Coffee, one of Andrew Jackson's generals at the Battle of New Orleans, supervised the surveys of the line between 1817 and 1822.


Sunken Natchez Trace in TennesseeSunken Trace - This early interstate road building venture produced a snake-infested, mosquito-beset, robber-haunted, Indian-pestered forest path. Lamented by the pious, cussed by the impious, it tried everyone's strength and patience. When the trail became so water logged that wagons could not be pulled through, travelers cut new paths through the nearby woods. Here you will see three cuts made to avoid mud into which oxcarts and wagons sank, making progress slow, dangerous and even impossible.


McGlamery Stand - A fire tower sits on top of the hill, just off the Trace. In frontier language a stand was an inn or a trading post, sometimes both. Usually located on a well traveled route. Such a place was established on the Old Natchez Trace near here in 1849 by John McGlamery. Although the stand did not outlast the Civil War, the name did. The nearest village is known as McGlamery's Stand.


Old Trace Drive - This is one of two locations along the Parkway where travelers can drive on the Old Natchez Trace. This drive is not suitable for travel trailers.


Sweetwater Branch -  This small branch receives its name from the clean and fresh or sweet flavor of its water. Thousands of years of erosion and flooding have gradually built up the fertile bottom lands that are under cultivation near here. The branch is still carving and shaping the valley. A nature trail here is about a 15 minute walk.


Glenrock Branch - From the parking area it is a short walk down a trail to a natural ampitheater. The creek and limestone bluff bend around the shaded picnic area.


Dogwood Mudhole - Located a mile to the south of the parkway, the Old Natchez Trace crossed a depression in the flat, dogwood covered ridge. After heavy rains it became almost impassable for wagons. Its name, Dogwood Mudhole, recalls the ordeals of frontier travel. It shows too, how place names arising from local conditions of long ago are carried down through the years.


Battle of Shiloh, TennesseeSide Trip - Shiloh National Military Park - Besides preserving the site of the bloody April, 1862 Battle of Shiloh, this park commemorates the subsequent siege, battle, and occupation of the key railroad junction at nearby Corinth, Mississippi. Shiloh National Cemetery was established in 1866. In that year, the War Department removed the Federal bodies from the battlefield and placed them in the cemetery. Today, around 4,000 military veterans lay in the quiet and secluded location on the banks of the Tennessee River. The park also preserves the Shiloh Indian Mounds, a National Historic Landmark in its own right.

If you are traveling south on the Trace, exit at milepost 370 onto US 64 and go west through Waynesboro and Savannah to the park area. If you are traveling north on the Trace, exit at milepost 266 onto Mississippi Highway 145 near Tupelo, then go north on US 45, and travel north through Corinth and onto the park area. Or, you can exit the Trace at milepost 320 onto US 72 and travel west to Corinth and then north to the park area.


Meriwether Lewis Monument - Learn more about the life of one of America's great explorers -- Meriwether Lewis. Inside a cabin constructed in the style of the period, you will find interpretive displays that tell about his life and mysterious death. the life of Lewis. In addition to the monument and cabin, the Meriwether Lewis area has a campground, picnic area, and hiking trails. The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Fall Hallow Trail - If you are interested in waterfalls, you will want to take a short walk on the Fall Hallow Trail. A five minute walk will take you to a viewing platform to see a small waterfall. Those interested in continuing on will be rewarded with numerous small cascades.


Tobacco Farm and Old Trace Drive - A great place to get off the main road and get on the Old Trace, the Tobacco Farm provides information about growing and drying tobacco. The two mile drive on the Old Trace has spectacular views of the forest, and is one of two places you can be on the "Old Trace" without walking. This one-way drive allows visitors to travel south to north, and is not suitable for RV's.


Jackson Falls - The short but steep trail  takes visitors to views of Jackson Falls, making it one of the most popular walks along the parkway. After dropping down 900 feet in elevation on a paved trail, you will find yourself in a small gorge. Your return trip will be a bit more strenuous, but well worth the effort. There are picnic tables at the trailhead, as well as a short trail to Baker Bluff Overlook.


Gordon House Historic Site - Built in 1818, the Gordon House is one of only two surviving historic buildings on the Natchez Trace Parkway.


Valley Divide - When Tennessee joined the Union in 1796, this watershed was the boundary between the United States and the Chickasaw Nation.


Garrison Creek - Restrooms, horse and hiking trails and beautiful fall color highlight this section of the Natchez Trace.


Birdsong Hollow - Provides views of the nation’s first double arch bridge spans 1,648 feet and stands 155 feet tall.


Northern Terminus - Your journey ends.


Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, February, 2013.



Also See:


Legends and Mysteries of the Natchez Trace

Mound Builders of Mississippi

The Natchez Tribe - A Sociably Advanced People




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