The SHOALS & FLORENCE

For more information on North Alabama travel destinations, please visit www.northalabama.org.
Please confirm dates and hours of operation before traveling long distance.

 

Music Heritage

Alabama Music Hall of Fame

617 U.S. Highway 72 West
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

The outstanding achievements and the music of Alabamians are presented in this state museum. “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy, “Father of Rock and Roll” Sam Phillips and Percy Sledge (“When a Man Loves a Woman”), all Shoals natives, are among the prestigious inductees.   You’ll hear rocking rhythms and soul touching melodies as you admire the vast memorabilia from the lives and careers of more than 1,000 stars, representing all styles of America’s music. The world-famous music recorded at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is featured and a signature Mississippi Blues Trail marker recognizes the far-reaching influence of the Muscle Shoals sound and its originators.
Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm

 (256) 381-4417; toll free (800) 239-2643
www.alamhof.org

 

FAME Recording Studios, Inc. “Where it All Began”

603 East Avalon Avenue
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

FAME, established in 1959, was the first successful professional recording studio in Alabama. Arthur Alexander’s 1961 hit, “You Better Move On,” cut here, launched the famous Muscle Shoals sound. R&B classics by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Otis Redding, Etta James and others drew world-wide attention to FAME. Pop artists Liza Minelli, Tom Jones, Little Richard, and the Osmonds then brought their talents to studio owner/producer Rick Hall, who also produced some of the nation’s best Country artists, including Shenandoah, Mac Davis, Jerry Reid, and Darryl Worley. During the studio’s half-century history, releases from FAME have sold over 300 million copies world-wide. Current sessions produce some of the best new pop, rock and country music, including Dylan LeBlanc, Band of Horses, Angela Hacker, Jason Isbell, Drive-by Truckers, Jamey Johnson, Gary Nichols and Ugli Stick.

Public Tours offered Monday – Friday, 9-10 am.  & 4-6pm; Saturday 10 am – 4 pm (Unless studio in session)  Admission.

(256) 381-0801.
www.fame2.com

 

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio Museum

3614 Jackson Highway
Sheffield, AL 35660

This iconic address is one of the most photographed locations in the Shoals area for music pilgrims from around the world. Established in 1969 by a group of former FAME session musicians, this was the location where the Rolling Stones, Cher, Bob Segar, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkle, and many others created some of the most popular hits of the 1970’s. The session musicians were dubbed “The Swampers” in the lyrics of Lynrd Skynrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Tours: Monday – Thursday 10 am – 2 pm; Friday and Saturday 10 am – 4 pm

(256) 394-3562

 

Cypress Moon Studio

1000 Alabama Av.
Sheffield, AL 35660

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio moved from its original location in 1978, converting this former Naval Reserve building on the Tennessee River to a multi-studio complex.  Many of the most important recording artists of the era created their gold and platinum records here, including James Brown, Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Julian Lennon, Melissa Etheridge and Little Milton. The building now houses Cypress Moon film production company with the historic recording studio still in use.
Tours available upon request.

(256) 764-1434
www.cypressmoonproduction.com

 

W. C. Handy Home & Museum

620 West College St.
Florence, AL 35630

Father of the Blues W.C. Handy was born in this simple log cabin. A collection of memorabilia, musical instruments, personal papers, and original sheet music are just a few items on display. Period furnishings. A week-long music festival is held the last week in July.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. Admission.

(256) 760-6434

Historic Districts

Historic Tuscumbia

“One of Alabama’s Best Collections of 19th century architecture from the antebellum period.”

The town of Tuscumbia is centered by its quaint downtown, which includes the majestic Colbert County Courthouse, a restored train depot, early churches and many historic homes. More than 100 buildings remain from the antebellum period. A 6-block area along Main Street holds some of Alabama’s earliest commercial buildings, including the Sutherland Building and Commercial Row. Helen Keller’s father, Capt. Arthur Keller, edited a newspaper in one of these brick buildings and many are restored to house specialty shops and restaurants. The south end of Main Street culminates at Spring Park, site of the town’s founding (c.1815), where a cool spring flows from limestone rock over a picturesque waterfall. Chickasaw Chief Tuscumbia was honored by early white settlers in the naming of the town. National Register Historic District. Signage marks historic structures over 100 years old. A Historic Tuscumbia Walking/Driving Tour brochure is available. (See Events for April Walking Tours and Trolley Tours.)

(256) 383-0783
www.VisitTuscumbiaAL.com

 

 

Historic Sheffieldsheffield-home

Two Distinct Districts:  Montgomery Avenue and The Village

North Montgomery Avenue with its wide, tree-lined streets is the setting for many historic homes in Sheffield.  The city was incorporated in 1885 and soon after, fine Victorian homes were built, followed by large, craftsman style bungalows. National Register Historic District. Historic Sheffield Walking/Driving Tour brochure is available. (See Events for April Walking Tours.)

www.VisitSheffieldAL.com 

 

 

Village Onesheffield

A planned community built in 1918 in Sheffield, Alabama

This unique community of 85 bungalows, barracks, school, and parks was built as government defense housing in 1918. The streets were laid out in an unusual Liberty Bell design. The houses feature red tile roofs and stucco exteriors. This is an example of an early 20th century planned community and an excellent example of early prefabrication and standardization in housing construction. Residents enjoy a quaint lifestyle in what is now known as “The Village.” National Register Historic District.

(256) 383-0783
www.VisitSheffieldAL.com

 

 


Natural Wonders

 

Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve

251 Loop Road
Tuscumbia AL 35674cane creek

A 700-acre, privately owned, scenic, natural area in the Little Mountain region of southern Colbert County.  The preserve is organized around a complex of small canyons with rugged topography, including a number of waterfalls, boulder fields and Native American rock shelters.  Open year-round to the public for hiking and other outdoor recreational activities.  There are more than 15 miles of maintained hiking trails that lead the hiker to scenic canyon overlooks, rich wildflower areas, creek cascades and other attractions.  The purpose of the preserve is to protect this unique and biologically diverse natural area for educational activities, ongoing scientific study and public recreational use.  Hours:  Daylight, year round. Maps available on site.  Free.

(256) 381-6301
www.facebook.com/friendsofcanecreekcanyonnaturepreserve

 


Attractions

Helen Keller Home

300 North Commons, W.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

The dramatic life and times of Helen Keller are preserved at her birthplace and childhood home, Ivy Green. Built in 1820, the home and birthplace cottage are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   Original furnishings of the Keller family decorate the home and museum, highlighted by hundreds of Miss Keller’s personal mementos, books and gifts from her lifetime of travel and lectures for the betterment of the world’s blind and deaf-blind. (See Events for “The Miracle Worker” play and Helen Keller Festival.)
Hours:  Monday – Saturday 8:30 am – 4 pm. Admission. Gift Shop.

Find out more about Hellen Keller’s Home here!
(256) 383-4066; toll free (888) 329-2124
www.helenkellerbirthplace.org

 

 

Spring Park

1 Spring Park Rd.spring_park_waterfall
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

The park provides the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a family picnic with playground and children’s amusements, including a train, carousel, roller coaster, and splash pad.  Coldwater Falls is one of the most photographed spots in the county. More than 4.3 million gallons of water cascade down this 48-foot tall cliff daily.  Near the falls, an Indian statue, Sacred Tears, stands 12 feet in height and pays tribute to Tuscumbia’s early heritage in commemoration of Native Americans.  An amazing likeness to an American Indian chieftain is expertly carved by a chainsaw artist into an oak tree. Food vendors and restaurant dining available in the park.
Open daily, year round.

(256) 386-5670
www.VisitTuscumbiaAL.com

 

 

Spring Park Light & Water Show

1 Spring Park Rd.Fountain-Show-Spring-Park-2
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

This show offers a spectacular display of dancing waters, with 51 flumes propelling water 150 feet into the air; choreographed to the music of Alabama’s nationally known artists with a focus on those who recorded in Muscle Shoals. A patriotic show is presented near holidays and a Christmas show is offered during December.

Light & Water Show Schedule
November – February:
  Friday – Sunday 7:00 pm
March – May:  Friday – Sunday 8:00 pm
June – August:   Monday – Sunday 9:00 pm
September – October:  Friday – Sunday  8:00 pm

Christmas Schedule
December 1st – December 24th:  Monday – Sunday 6:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm

Christmas Train Schedule
December 1st – December 24th:  Monday – Sunday 4-8pm

(256) 389-1357
www.VisitTuscumbiaAL.com

 

 

Pathways: Walk through the History of Muscle Shoals

2010 E Avalon Ave.
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

The early history of the City of Muscle Shoals, including Wilson Lock and Dam and Muscle Shoals Music, is showcased through visual displays and exhibits located along a special corridor within City Hall.
Hours:  Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm.  Free.

(256) 383-5675
www.VisitMuscleShoalsAL.com

 

Tennessee Valley Museum of Arttennesseevalleymuseumofart

511 North Water St.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

This regional art center is a venue for cultural activities.  Galleries provide annual and rotating exhibits, juried fine art and craft shows, workshops for adults and children.  The Martin Petroglyph exhibit is permanent and may be seen at any time.  (See website for Exhibit Schedule.)
Hours:  Monday – Friday  9 am – 5 pm; Sunday 1-3 pm.  Admission. Gift Shop.

(256) 383-0533
www.tvaa.net

 

The Ritz Theatreritz-inside

111 West 3rd St.
Sheffield, AL  35660

This 1920s silent movie house is restored to its Art Deco Style and is used for community theatre.  (See website for Production Calendar.)
Open for productions and for group tours by appointment.

(256) 383-0533

www.tvaa.net

 

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts

217 East Tuscaloosa St.
Florence, AL 35630

This cultural center houses galleries with rotating exhibits and a museum.  It serves as an educational facility and as a center for the coordination and promotion of cultural activity, offering workshops and classes.
Hours:  Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm.  Free. Gift Shop.

(256) 760-6379

 

 

Belle Mont Mansion

1569 Cook Lane
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

Belle Mont is one of early Alabama’s crowning architectural achievements.  It is one of the most outstanding Palladian-style houses in the Deep South.  The mansion has a raised, two-story central section with flanking, one-story wings and a U-shaped floor plan that embraces a courtyard.  This architecture is reflective of Thomas Jefferson’s early designs; a similar plan is preserved among Jefferson’s drawings at Harvard University.

Open by appointment only.

(256) 637-8513
www.preserveala.org

 

Coon Dog Cemetery

4945 Coondog Cemetery Rd.
Cherokee, AL 35616

Over 225 coon dogs have been laid to rest in the scenic “Freedom Hills.”  Unique headstones and epitaphs pay tribute to man’s best friend.  Key Underwood’s raccoon hunting dog, Troop, was the first dog buried here on Labor Day in 1937.  (See Events for Coon Dog Labor Day Celebration.)
Open daylight hours, daily, year round.  Free.

Find out more about the Coon Dog Cemetery Here!
(256) 383-0783
www.coondogcemetery.com

Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area: 256-353-2634

 

LaGrange College Site Park

1461 LaGrange College Rd.
Leighton, AL 35646

Established in 1830 as Alabama’s first college, LaGrange soon became known as “The West Point of the South.”  The college was destroyed by Union forces led by Colonel Florence M. Cornyn and his “Destroying Angels.”   Today, the historic site has been recreated with a pioneer village, including a welcome center and museum, restored cemetery and park with pavilion.  (See Events for Recall LaGrange.)
Hours:  Park open daily from 9 am – 5 pm.  Welcome Center/Museum open  Sunday 1- 4 pm or by appt. Free. Gift Shop.

Find out more about LaGrange College here!
(256) 446-9324
http://lagrangehistoricsite.com

 

 

Wright-Rosenbaum House

601 Riverview Dr.
Florence, AL 35630

In 1939 Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house of cypress, glass, and brick to be built overlooking the Tennessee River.  A pure example of Usonian design, it has an open floor plan with an easy flow of rooms.  Wright designed the furnishings and later, an addition for the growing Rosenbaum family.  Alabama’s only Wright design.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday  10 am – 4 pm; Sun 1-4 pm.  Admission.

(256) 740-8899
www.wrightinalabama.com

 

 

Pope’s Tavern Museum

203 Hermitage Dr.
Florence, AL 35630

This building was an early stagecoach stop, tavern and inn, later serving as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers.  Today, it is a local history museum for the City of Florence.
Hours:  Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. Admission.  Gift Shop.

(256) 760-6349

 

 

Indian Mound and Museum

1028 South Court St.
Florence, AL 35630

This large (43-ft tall) domiciliary mound stands in silent testimony to the prehistoric Native Americans who built it by hand, long before the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek tribes inhabited Alabama.  Museum artifacts date back 10,000 years.

Closed for construction of a new museum.

(256) 760-6427

 

 

Children’s Museum  of  the Shoalslogo-350x175

2810 Darby Drive
Florence, AL 35630

The museum for children features a variety of educational, “hands-on” exhibits which reflect the history, geography, and culture of the Tennessee Valley.
Hours:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-1pm.  Admission. Gift Shop.

(256) 765-0500
www.shoalschildrensmuseum.org

 

 

Jack-O-Lantern Farmsjackolanternfarms

334 Garage Rd.
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

A year-round market, located at the greenhouses on the TVA Reservation in Muscle Shoals, it offers hydroponically grown and local, “Naturally Certified” fruits and vegetables, imported and domestic cheeses, along with specialty food products from the Shoals Culinary Center.
Hours: Open Year Round.  Tuesday & Thursday  3 – 7 pm; Saturday 9 am – 2 pm

(256) 386-2335
www.JackOLanternFarm.com

 

 

Wilson Lock and Damwilson-dam-sheffield

3985 Reservation Rd.
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

The cornerstone of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Wilson Dam boasts one of the highest, single-lift locks in the world. Construction on the dam began during World War I. TVA was created in 1933. Lock open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Also Open Federal Holidays.

(800) 882-5263
www.tva.gov/sites/wilson.htm

 

 

Tuscumbia Railway Depot

Tuscumbia Railroad Depot is a fully restored 1888 train depot now a museum.  The depot includes rail and train memorabilia (including photo gallery), interactive train simulators, telegraph demonstrations and one room of Tuscumbia history.

204 West 5th St.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

This 1888 restored passenger depot was utilized by both the Memphis and Charleston and Southern Railway companies.  In it’s early years, the depot was used often by Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan.  Today it is a museum dedicated to rail memorabilia.  A Keller family carriage occupies one room of the museum. Tuscumbia boasts the first railroad west of the Appalachian Mountains. Admission.
Open by appointment.

(256) 389-1357
www.VisitTuscumbiaAL.com

 

 

Colbert County Courthouse

200 North Main St.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674

This stately building, the brick walls of which date back to its construction in 1881, houses county government and serves as the centerpiece of the surrounding Tuscumbia National Register Historic District.  This district is extensive and includes structures from the early days of the town’s history, through the early twentieth century.  The dome and columned porticoes were added when the building was rebuilt in 1908 following a fire.  Visit the U.S. War Veterans Memorial, the Circle of Valor,  on the grounds at the northeast corner and the monument honoring Confederate soldiers of the county that were killed during the Civil War.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm. Free.

(256) 386-8500
www.ColbertCounty.org
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