Scenic USA - Alabama

Cahaba River

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Cahaba River - Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, Alabama

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

Cahaba River - One of Alabama's Ten Natural Wonders      One of Alabama's Ten Natural Wonders, the free-flowing Cahaba River flows 190 miles from the Appalachian foothills to the Alabama River. An important water source for the city of Birmingham, the river also doubles as one of the state's most popular recreational rivers. Considered a candidate for a National Wild and Scenic River program, the Cahaba continues to lure in anglers, hikers, canoeists and botanists.
     Here at the confluence of the Cahaba and Alabama rivers is Alabama's most famous ghost town. Once a part of Mississippi territory, Alabama was sectioned off and admitted to the Union in 1819 as the 22 state. Offered as a gift from President James Monroe, an undeveloped site on the lower Cahaba became Alabama's first state capital. Crocheron Mansion Columns - Old Cahawba Archaeological Park It's reputation of flooding and unhealthy atmosphere quickly prompted legislators to move the capital to Tuscaloosa. By 1826, the Capital City of Cahawba was nearly abandoned of all residents.
     Located in a rich swath of land called the Black Belt, Old Cahawba recovered from its snubbing by state legislators and became a key shipping point. From the fertile earth around Cahawba, the cotton fields flourish, and plantation owners sent tons of cotton exports down the Alabama River. However, success was short lived.
     During the Civil War, Confederate forces seized Cahawba, relocated its railroad tracks and established Crocheron Mansion - Old Cahawba Archaeological Park a prison to house Union soldiers. At the close of the Civil War the Cahaba River flooded, chasing away the few remaining families. By the early 1900s most of the town's buildings had either burned, given way to the elements or had been dismantled for precious bricks. A few structures remain, including the remnants of the Crocheron House (inset). The red brick columns of a side portico are all that's left of their mid 1800s home. The Old Cahawba Archaeological Park invites visitors to explore its tree lined streets, roam the town’s cemeteries and imagine life on the Cahaba River during the 19th century.

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