Explore The South: 3 Pieces of History in Downtown Huntsville

Explore the South

Huntsville, Alabama. Big Spring Park and downtown cityscape at twilight.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - In the heart of downtown Huntsville, there's art, food, music, and fun - all influenced by 200 years of history. It all started in Big Spring Park, and so should you.

Originally, the big spring was valuable for it's fresh water, fish, and central location. 

Author, historian, and local tour guide Jacque Reeves shared her insight about the history of downtown Huntsville.

"The big spring then became the crown jewel of downtown Huntsville. It has changed quite a bit over the two centuries," said Reeves.

That water flow is a main feature of the mosaic which hangs under the same courthouse roof where county judges strike their gavel.

"The design tells the history of Huntsville,” she said. “To go and study that it gives you sort of a complete history of Huntsville."

Just 200 feet from the courthouse, you’ll find Harrison Brothers Hardware.

The Historic Huntsville Foundation purchased the store in the 1980's. It's now operated as a gift store, but still holds the history of the original Hardware store.

The history doesn't stop there - Stroll through the more than 70 acres of nearby Maple Hill Cemetery.

"Every era of American history is represented by somebody who’s buried there and the stories are immeasurable, innumerable, everybody has a story," said Reeves.

Five Alabama governors were laid to rest among hundreds of other early settlers.

There are markers in front of historical sites in downtown Huntsville that explain the history.

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