Other Attractions and Activities

From a variety of architectural treasures to historical museums and exhibits—the Shoals has activities and attractions that are as varied as the four cities that make up the area.

Ivy Green—Helen Keller Birthplace
Helen Keller, one of the most inspirational and influential women in American history, was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. After an illness left her blind and deaf, Keller was forced to live trapped in a world inside her mind until a young woman named Anne Sullivan taught Keller her first word, “water”, at a well located at Ivy Green—Keller’s birth place. Keller went on to study at Radcliffe College, write 11 books and numerous articles, and lecture in over 39 countries on the improvement of the world’s blind and deaf population. Ivy Green serves as the host to the The Miracle Worker, performed on the grounds every weekend in June and July, and also has a museum dedicated to Keller’s accomplishments. Visit helenkellerbirthplace.org for information on tours.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House
Designed in 1939 for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum for a mere $12,000, The Rosenbaum House is a prime example of Wright’s Usonian design concept. The house was given to the City of Florence in 1999 and restored to its original condition. The house contains the original Wright designed furnishings and is the only Wright building that is open to the public in the Southeast. For more information visit wrightinalabama.com.

Belle Mont Mansion
Located in Colbert County just outside Tuscumbia, Belle Mont Mansion serves as a prime example of the Palladian style architecture that swept the nation under the influence of Thomas Jefferson. Although it is unknown who designed the mansion, experts agree that the architect was influenced by Thomas Jefferson’s famous home Monticello, due to the mansion’s unusual U-shaped floor plan—a signature of Jefferson’s architectural design. Donated in the 1980s to the Alabama Historical Commission, the mansion has been undergoing phased restorations to preserve its historical significance. During the Christmas season, volunteers and historians welcome visitors to A Country Christmas where Christmas is celebrated as it was in the 1800s.

Pope’s Tavern and Museum
One of the oldest structures in the Florence area, Pope’s Tavern and Museum has had many uses during its lifetime, including a tavern, inn, stagecoach stop, and private residence. The building’s most famous use was during the Civil War when it served as military hospital for both Confederate and Union troops. Andrew Jackson is believed to have stopped here on his way to the Battle of New Orleans. Today, Pope’s Tavern is used as a museum that holds memorabilia from the 18th and 19th centuries. It also hosts the annual Frontier Day in June, a celebration where history lovers unite and demonstrate pioneer crafts and play dulcimer music.

Edith Newman Culver House and Museum
Located in Waterloo, this historic site now serves as a museum showcasing Civil War memorabilia, antiques, and Native American artifacts. Joseph Marion Newman and his wife Sarah purchased the house in 1918 after opening a sawmill north of Waterloo. Waterloo is one of north Alabama’s most historical towns—serving as a stop for many Native Americans along the Trail of Tears. Also, the largest Calvary ever amassed in the Western Hemisphere was in Waterloo, Ala.

Florence Indian Mound and Museum
Just east of downtown Florence’s O’Neal Bridge, the Florence Indian Mound is the largest domiciliary mound in the Tennessee Valley region. Built during the Woodlands Period, long before the Cherokee, Chickasaw or Creek Indians inhabited Alabama, the mound stands 42 feet in height with a summit that measures 145 by 95 feet. A museum is located adjacent to the mound and contains Native American artifacts dating back 10,000 years, arranged chronologically from Paleo to Historic periods.

Pickwick Belle
Cruise the Tennessee River in style on the Pickwick Belle. The Belle, docked at Florence Harbor Marina, cruises the Tennessee River at a slow, and steady pace, giving riders ample time to take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the Shoals area. Take an educational cruise tour and learn about the history of the river, or for a more romantic evening book a Belle dinner cruise. For more information visit pickwickbelle.com.

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