Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mooresville, Alabama - "The Town Older Than The State"

Recently, I was visiting the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center with my kids and grandparents. On the way, my grandfather, who is famous for his "side trips" announced that he would be taking us through Mooresville (right off I-565, east of I-65), a small, historic town with a current population of around 60.

The first settlers came to this area on the Tennessee River in 1805, which until then had been occupied by the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaws ceded the land to the Federal government and, by 1818 , the area had 62 new residents. They petitioned the Alabama Territorial Legislature for an Act of Incorporation that year, which was granted a full year before Alabama became a state in 1819, making Mooresville known as "the town older than the state".

The first building that my grandfather showed me was the Mooresville post office, the oldest operational post office in the state. I had the pleasure of meeting the post mistress there, but being the novice that I am, I forgot to get her name. She was very accomodating and let me take a few pictures of the inside of the post office. (Thanks ma'am, and as soon as my other CPU is up and running, I'll get those pictures posted pronto!)

Mooresville has a lot of southern history. Andrew Johnson, 17th president to the US, stayed there as apprentice to a tailor, 20th president, James A. Garfield preached in the Church of Christ on Market Street while stationed with his Union regiment (Mooresville was occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War) and cotton was king in the Tennessee Valley at that time. Check out Mooresville's Festival website for more information.

The town's streets are lined with ancient trees, some from the early 1800's. Quiet reigns there and you can see tour groups making their way up and down the shady streets, taking pictures of the antebellum homes. The historic Old Brick Church on the corner of Lauderdale and Broad Streets has a curious touch to it. If you look at the steeple, you will find that instead of a cross or weathervane, it has a hand pointing up to Heaven instead. Very interesting and I would like to know the history behind it, but that story is for another day.

Maybe Mooresville is best known as being the setting for Walt Disney's Tom and Huck (1995), a recreation of the story of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Certainly the houses look as authentic (and they are) as the ones Tom could have lived in. The wooden fences are as white as Tom could have whitewashed, the magnolia trees stately and green. It is definitely a beautiful town and I plan to visit again someday.

Some good links are:

Mooresville Festival
The News Courier
Mooresville Cemetary
A Visit to the Past - Mooresville, Ala
Mooresville: A Town of Charm & History