Last updated: April 30, 2019
The Tennessee River brought the early Native Americans and then the European settlers. For years, it frustrated those who tried to cross it or tame it. Men fought from its banks and others found power from its waters. It created a culture. It shaped a region. The region’s sites, buildings, and relics whisper tales of some of the nation’s biggest moments and how the river played a role in each.
National Heritage Area
MSNHA began as a grassroots effort in the early 2000s as local communities wanted to strengthen the relationship between the area’s cultural aspects and quality of life. A study of the region’s cultural heritage targeted opportunities for coalition building, established an inventory of assets, and identified nationally significant stories. In 2001, Alabama Rep. Robert "Bud" Cramer introduced legislation directing the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of establishing the heritage area. President George W. Bush signed the legislation into law in 2002, and Congress approved the designation in 2009. From its beginning, the MSNHA has been connected with the University of North Alabama (UNA), in Florence. The university houses MSNHA administrative offices and serves as its fiduciary. In addition, MSNHA staff works closely with UNA’s history department, partnering with public history students on projects and research.
This Heritage Area includes the following sites:
- Alabama Music Hall of Fame
- Ivy Green, Home of Helen Keller
- Oakville Indian Mound
- Pond Spring, Home of General Joe Wheeler
- Florence Indian Mound and Museum
- Red Bay Museum
- W.C. Handy Home
- Tuscumbia Landing Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
- Waterloo Landing Trail of Tears National Historic Trail