Historic Markers Across Alabama

Old Railroad Bed

Marker ID: AHA 
Location: Ashe Blvd., Sheffield, AL
County: Colbert
Coordinates: N 34° 46.764    W 087° 40.032
  34.7794    -87.6672
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMHFKW


Side 1
Ashe Boulevard was built on the early railroad bed which connected Florence and Southport to the main railroad line in Tuscumbia. Trains first traveled along the railroad bed and across the Tennessee River in 1858 after the Memphis and Charleston Railroad replaced the old Florence Bridge with a double-decked bridge. The upper deck was used for trains to transport passengers and freight. The lower deck was open to the public as a toll road. Large warehouses once lined both sides of the railroad bed to accommodate a busy cotton trade. In 1864, over 29,000 Confederate troops camped and assembled around this site before crossing the Tennessee River, prior to the Battle of Franklin in Middle Tennessee.

Side 2
In 1904, the Sheffield Development Company replaced local passenger train service with streetcars which utilized the railroad tracks until 1933. The railroad was abandoned in 1988 by the Norfolk-Southern Railroad Company and was donated in 1993 to the Old Railroad Bridge Company with the adjoining right-of-way. In 1995, this property, minus the bridge, was given to the City of Sheffield. The railroad bed was paved by the city in 1999 and named Ashe Boulevard in memory of Laughlin Ashe, Mayor of Sheffield from 1992 until his death in 1995.

Sponsored by the Old Railroad Bridge Company and Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation

End of Old Railroad Bed