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The old home town looks the same as I step down from the train,

and there to meet me is my Mama and Papa.

Down the road I look and there runs Mary, hair of gold and lips like cherries.

It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.

The old house is still standing tho’ the paint is cracked and dry,

and there’s that old oak tree I used to play on.

–“Green Green Grass of Home”, lyrics written by Curly Putman, native of Princeton, Jackson County, Alabama.

On December 13, 1819, the day before Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state into the union, Jackson County was formed.  Positioned in the extreme North East corner of the state, Jackson County has the largest area of any county in the state with 1,069 square miles.  Named for General Andrew Jackson who was visiting nearby Huntsville at the time, Jackson County is one of the few remaining dry counties in the state although a few of the cities do permit the sell of alcohol.  The county is noted to have an abundance of iron ore and coal, but little mining has been done in the area.

The first county seat was named Sauta Cave in the northern portion of the county.  Sadly that courthouse was burned to the ground during the Civil War.  The courthouse and seat was then moved to Bellefonte in the 1820s and the town of Sauta Cave disappeared entirely.  Approximately 40 years later, the citizens of Bellefonte in opposition to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad set fire to the courthouse and a contest for the new county seat was set.  Initially the towns of Hollywood, Stevenson, Larkinsonville, and Scotts-borough (as it was known at the time) were in the running.  Stevenson and Larkinsonville were eliminated at first due to location and in 1868 Scotts-borough won out and has remained the county seat since.

Parts of Jackson County today were originally part of the previous county, Decatur County, named for Commodore Stephen Decatur of the United States Navy.  Decatur County was established on December 7, 1821 and the town of Woodville served as the county seat.  Years after the county’s establishment, it was discovered the county did not have the minimal constitutional area, leading to its abolishment, dividing the land into Madison, Marshall, and Jackson counties.   

Jackson County has a large number of cities, towns, communities, and even previous settlements that have shaped the county throughout its lengthy lifespan.  The earliest of these settlements being Sauta Cave, Bellefonte (both now ghost towns), Bridgeport, Stevenson, and Scotts-borough.

Bellefonte was incorporated in 1821 and served as county seat until 1859.  It was the site of the Battle of Bridgeport and Scottsboro skirmish of the Civil War causing serious damage to the town and courthouse.  By the 1920s the town was abandoned, leaving only remainents of its existence.  Among the remainders of Bellefonte are the town cemetery, a chimney of a local inn, piles of scattered brick, and the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station, owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and named for its history in the present town of Hollywood, Alabama.

Scottsboro, as it is called today, was part of an original Cherokee town known by natives as “Crow Town” situated conveniently to the nearby Tennessee River that the cities occupants used for food, water, and shipping.  The town is named for founder Robert Scott who served in the Alabama Legislature for about 20 years.  He had ran a hotel in Bellefonte, but moved to the Scottsboro area in about 1853 and changed the name to Scottsville, then Scott’s Mill, Sage Town, and finally in 1868 settled on Scottsboro.  Two years later the town was incorporated and has since been known as such with the slogan “someplace special” and noted for its historic district.

The oldest town in Jackson County, that was originally part of Decatur County and served as its seat, is the town of Woodville, named for Richard and Annie Wood, early residents.  Henry Derrick incorporated the city on May 12, 1890, and lost its corporation in 1897, to only gain it back in 1912, but was once again lose it years later.

The early 19th Century town of Jonesville was changed to Bridgeport in 1854 as a railroad bridge over the Tennessee River was built in the town.  The area was a strategic site of the Civil War and was used as a major shipyard that built gun boats and transported for the Union Navy.  The USS Chattanooga was built there.

Other towns of Jackson County include: Dutton, Hytop, Langston, Paint Rock, Pisgah, Pleasant Groves, Section, and Skyline.  There are numerous unincorporated communities of Jackson County including, but not limited to: Baileytown, Bass, Bryant, Carpenter or Carpenters Station, Estillfork, Fackler, Flat Rock, Francisco, Higdon, Hollytree, Larkin, Limrock, Long Island, Princeton, Swaim, and Trenton.

In 1934 one of 43 such projects was attempted on Cumberland Mountain in Jackson County.  The Federal government was using a “unique socioeconomic experiment” to help depressed parts of the United States.  Originally called the Cumberland Farms Project, the Skyline Farms project brought lower income families back to their feet during the Great Depression.

Some notable people of Jackson County:

  • Tammy Little, Miss Alabama of 1984 from Section
  • The Louvin Brothers, Ira Lonnie Loudermilk and Charlie Elzer Loudermilk from Section helped make popular close harmony in country music.
  • Governor Samuel B. Moore, the 6th governor of Alabama and president of the Alabama Senate.
  • Claude ‘Curly’ Putman, Jr. of Princeton is an American songwriter noted for many songs including, Green Green Grass of Home.
  • Patrick (Pat) Trammell from Scottsboro was an All-American quarterback playing under the influence of legendary Coach Bear Bryant.  His senior year at the University of Alabama was both an undeafted and National Championship season.

Jackson County offers many attractions and events. 

  • The Annual Catfish Festival.  Every May, Scottsboro hosts a day full of fishing, blow-up rides, crafts, foods, and entertainment.
  • Bridgeport Train Depot Museum holds historical artifacts and railroad memorabila.  114 Soullard Square, Bridgeport. Open Thursday and Friday 9:00-1:00, Saturday 9:00-3:00, and Sunday 1:00-5:00.
  • Cathedral Caverns is one of the most popular attractions in the area featuring Stalagmite Mountain, Frozen Waterfall and Goliath, Big Rock Canyon, and Mystery River all on the cave tour that begins at the caverns massive entrance.  Gem mining and camping are also popular activities at Cathedral Caverns.  Open from 7:00 AM to sundown.  637 Cave Road, Woodville.
  • College Hill Historic District in Scottsboro between Scott and Kyle Streets was the town’s first subdivision and location of the antique courthouse and old-fashioned town square.
  • Crow Mountain Orchard in Fackler offers a wide variety of fruits June through mid December including 25,000 apple trees of 25 different varieties, peaches, nectarines, seedless grapes, pears, and plums.  Robert Deutscher, owner is an award winning grower.
  • Depot Days” in Stevenson every June to celebrate Southern culture.
  • Jackson County is home to nearly 1,500 charted caves which is more than half the caves in the entire state including Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Nickajack Cave, and Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge
  • “First Monday” Trade Day is a 125 year old tradition taking place the first Monday of every month and the preceding weekend in Scottsboro.  The South East Tourism Society considers this event one of the top 20 things to do in the South East.
  • Fort Hacker near Stevenson overlooking Crow Creek was built in 1862 and expanded two years later, during the Civil War to defend a strategic position.  The fort is typical of those times and still remains as a city park and wildlife observation platform. 
  • Goose Pond Colony on Lake Guntersville around the Cumberland Mountains offers two golf courses, lakeside cottages, and restaurant.
  • Jackson County Park has fishing and swimming piers, walking trails, a marina and restaurant, gardens, and playgrounds.  The site is also popular for camping along Lake Guntersville.
  • Keel Mountain in the South West corner of the county crossing into Madison County.
  • King Caldwell Park in Scottsboro is home of art Sunday which is an arts and crafts festival the Sunday before Labor Day.
  • Lake Guntersville, created in 1938 by the Tennessee Valley Authority for flood control and hydroelectric power offers 69,000 acres of water and fun being Alabama’s largest lake.  Nationally known for its largemouth bass, Lake Guntersville and the Bridgeport/Guntersville area has been the site for the National Bass Tournament many times.  There are four golf courses on the lake around the base of the Appalachians including: Broken Arrow, Gunter’s Landing, Lake Guntersville State Park, and Stoney Mountain.
  • Paint Rock River, in the North East corner of the county was created by confluence of Estillfork and Hurricane Creek.
  • Russell Cave  in Bridgeport holds an annual event in the spring demonstrating authentic life ways of Southeastern Native American peoples that were thought to have lived in the cave between Palio and Archaic times.
  • Sage Town Pioneer Village in Scottsboro is a collection of log structures including a cabin, schoolhouse, barn, and blacksmith shop.
  • The Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center inside of an 1881 Greek Revival Mansion exhibits Native American artifacts and county history dating back to 8000 B.C. The 1868 courthouse is located behind the mansion.  Open Monday-Friday 11:00-4:00.
  • The Stevenson Depot Museum built in 1872, is located between the tracks of two major railroads to preserve history with Native American, pioneer, and Civil War artifacts.  The depot stands on ruins of the original Stevenson’s depot that was destroyed somewhere around Civil War times.
  • Unclaimed Baggage is thought to be one of the greatest “hidden” bargain centers for savvy shoppers.  Covering more than a city block and offering Starbucks coffee and Dippin Dots for the customers, more than a million items pass through the store’s door in a year.  Founded in 1970 by Doyle and Sue Owens and incorporated 8 years later, the operation is now run by son Bryan Owens.  509 West Willow Street, Scottsboro.  Monday-Friday 9:00-6:00 and Saturday 8:00-6:00.  Closed Sunday.
  • The Walls of Jericho nicknamed “the Grand Canyon of the South” offers many unique flowers and trees such as the yellow lady slipper, pink lady slipper, showy orchid, nodding trillium, smoke tree, yellow buckeye, and basswood.  The canyon was explored by Davy Crockett in the late 1700s and then named by a traveling minister that loved the “cathedral-like beauty” of the formation.
  • Woodville Historical Museum housed in the Bob Jones Community Center offers artifacts and memorabila of early life in the oldest town of the county.

While visiting Jackson County, there are many options of places to grab some notable dishes.

  • Blue Willow Bistro and Antiques in Scottsboro is a one-of-a-kind stop one can “eat fabulous food, shop for art, vintage clothing, and antique furniture.”  The restaurant is home of dish #23 on 100 Places to Eat in Alabama Before You Die for “TLuv’s Sweet Tomato Pie.”  Housed in a Victorian house with concrete benches, large columns, balconies, and magnolia trees, the Blue Willow Bistro is said to be the “charm of the Old South.”   303 East Willow Street.
  • Carlile’s in Scottsboro offers the unofficial state dish of Tomato Pie which won a recent Alabama Northern Regional Cook-off.  2011 East Willow Street.
  • The Docks at Goose Pond Colony offers the notable dish of shrimp and grits.
  • The Eagles’s Nest Cafe that is inside a local drugstore of Pisgah opened in 2009 offering hot plate lunches, soups, sandwiches, shakes, ice cream, and breakfast.
  • Mud Creek Fishing Camp in Scottsboro serves catfish noted as the 54th dish of Alabama to eat before you die.
  • Payne’s Sandwich and Soda Fountain in Scottsboro which has been in business since 1969 offers deli-style food including hotdogs and red slaw in a 1950s themed atmosphere.
  • Section Dairy Bar

Jackson County has plenty of beautiful bed and breakfasts or other places to lodge:

  • Ivy Creek Inn is a bed and breakfast that offers a mountain view from every room.
  • The Lodge at Gorham’s Bluff overlooks the Tennessee River in Pisgah.  With 6 suites and 11 fully furnished cottages decorated with antiques and their own private balcony, this bed and breakfast is rated one of the “most romantic destination” by Southern Living Magazine.  101 Gorham Drive, Pisgah (256) 451-8439

Other sources for Jackson County, Alabama:

Sources for this post came from: AlaMHOF.org, AlaPark.com, BedandBreakfast.com, CityofScottsboro.org, CrowMtn.com, Encyclopedia of Alabama, FWS.gov, Goosepond.org, Huntsville.About.com, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Joyce Kennamer, LakeGuntersville.org, NPS.gov, Official Vacation Guide of Alabama 2010, RussellCave.AreaParks.com, Scottsboro.com, SouthEasternOutdoors.com, StevensonDepotMuseum.com, UnclaimedBaggage.com, Wikipedia, and WoodvilleOnline.com

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