Historic Markers Across Alabama



One of the South's First Railroads / Early Roads



Marker ID: AHC 
Location:
County: Lawrence
Coordinates:   
Waymark: None
 



Text:

One of the South's First Railroads


Seeking a means to ship cotton and other goods around the treacherous Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River, area planters and merchants met at Courtland in 1831 to consider a rail line. On January 13, 1832, the 50-mile long Tuscumbia, Courtland & Decatur Railroad was chartered. Early trains were usually horse-drawn, although an English-made steam locomotive was acquired in 1834. Absorbed by the Memphis & Charleston line after 1850, the railway was largely destroyed during the Civil War. The rebuilt railroad became part of the Southern system in 1898


Early Roads


Tennessee Street along the north side of the square was originally part of Gaines' Trace, a horse path laid out in 1807 under the direction of Capt. Edmund Pendleton Gaines of the U.S. Army. From Melton's Bluff on the Tennessee River, the trace ran westward to Cotton Gin Port on the Tombigbee, in present-day Mississippi. Another important early thoroughfare was the Byler Road (1819), which ran southward through Courtland and linked the Tennessee Valley to Tuscaloosa and lower Alabama.

Erected 1994 by The Courtland Historical Foundation and the Town of Courtland








End of One of the South's First Railroads / Early Roads