Historical Marker Program
Auburn University and Birmingham-Southern College Began in Talladega, 1854
By action of the Alabama Conference of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South in session at Talladega, December 13-18, 1854, Auburn University and Birmingham-Southern College were born. The delegation resolved to "have a college within the bounds of our Conference." While the intent was to start a single college by and for the Methodist Church, intense rivalry between eastern and western sections of the state over the location of the school resulted in two institutions: the East Alabama Male College in Auburn and Southern University in Greensboro.
Both schools were chartered by the state legislature in 1856, and both struggled to survive during the Civil War. The College at Auburn was transferred from the Church to the state in 1872, and it became the land-grant Agricultural & Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1899, its name was changed to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute and, in 1960, to Auburn University.
Southern University at Greensboro merged with Birmingham College in 1918 to form Birmingham-Southern College, maintaining a church-related status from its beginning to the present.
[2006: South Street East at East Street South in Talladega.
33.43277 N 86.10126 W]
Battle of Talladega
Nov. 9, 1813. Here Andrew Jackson led Tennessee Volunteers and friendly Indians to victory over hostile "Red Sticks." This action rescued friendly Creeks besieged in Fort Leslie. Creek Indian War 1813-14.
[Before 1965: Court Square in Talladega
33.43457 N 86.10302 W
Central Plank Road
1850. Here was northern terminus of 60 miles of toll road operated from Wetumpka. Built of wooden boards. Prior to railroads this was an important artery of travel. Chartered to connect navigable parts of the Alabama, Coosa, and Tennessee Rivers.
[Before 1965: Ala. Hwy 231, Winterboro]
Important Indian town for over 250 years and capital of Coosa province. Visited by DeSoto in 1540, and later by Spanish, French, British colonial explorers and traders. Early writers tell of abundant food crops, wild and cultivated, supporting a large population.
[1953: AL Hwy 235 at mile marker 2 north of Childersburg
33.30942 N 86. 35471 W
De Soto Caverns
De Soto Caverns was named for the famous Spanish explorer who traveled through this area in 1540. Over its rich history it offered shelter for native Indians for centuries (a 2,000-year-old Woodland Period burial was excavated by archeologists in the mid-1960s), became the first officially recorded cave in the U.S. (1796), and served as a Confederate gunpowder mining site during the Civil War. One of the largest show caves in the southeastern U.S., the main room of the caverns stands 12-stories high and is as large as a football field. The caverns' onyx-marble stalagmites and stalactites are among the most concentrated accumulations to be found in America.
[1998: AL Hwy 76 east of Childersburg at entrance to park
33.30595 N 86.27783 W]
Here in 1814 Tennessee Troops joined Andrew Jackson's force which won the Creek Indian War. After Indian removal in 1836 these veterans brought their families here, named this community for their old home in Tennessee. Fayetteville Academy was built in 1850.
[Before 1965: 33.15519N 86.40349W]
Led by Gen. Rousseau July 17, 1864. Led by Gen. Croxton April 22, 1865. These well equipped expeditions met no organized opposition. They destroyed furnaces, railroads, storehouses, provisions, and training camp located here.
[Before 1965: US Hwy 231 north of Talladega]
12 miles west. Built by Andrew Jackson with U.S. Regulars, Tennessee Volunteers and friendly Cherokees and Creeks. Used as advance base during final phases of Creek Indian War, 1813-14. Military cemetery nearby.
[Ft. Mitchell Street in Sylacauga
33.16717 N 86.25167 W
Hernando De Soto
June 1540. Spanish discoverer, explorer, led his well-equipped army of conquistadors southward through this area. He sought gold and lands for colonization in this populous Indian county.
[Before 1965: US Hwy 231 north of Talladega]
Hightower Brothers Livery Stable
Founded in 1896 by brothers John Judge and Milton Graham Hightower, this small-town livery stable served the community and surrounding countryside until its closing in 1955. Originally located nearby, the business moved to this "New Town" site in 1905. A new brick building was erected in 1914 after the original wood-frame structure was destroyed by fire.
The Hightower Brothers furnished area farmers with agricultural resources, local businesses with vehicles, and the people of Sylacauga with recreational transportation. In addition to providing mules, horses, wagons, buggies, and farm implements locally, the stable was a major supplier of mules to Camp McClellan in Anniston during World War I.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the building was donated by the John Milton Hightower family to Blue Bell Creameries in 2000.
[2002: N. Norton Street near the Blue Bell factory in Sylacauga
33.17222 N 86.25237 W]
Originally called Jumper's Spring. Site of U. S. Land Office for sale of lands ceded by Creek Indians, 1832. Early courts held here after Talladega County was created. Named for Samuel W. Mardis, settled from Tennessee.
[1953: AL Hwy 21 at County Road 241 south of Talladega.
33.38286 N 86.15607 W
Built in 1842. Here Riddle Brothers operated first and largest forge in Talladega Creek Valley. They made bar iron to supply plows, horseshoes, nails, other wrought-iron products to early settlers of area. Indians had been forced from area in 1836.
[Before 1965: Ala. Hwy 77]
April 23, 1865. One of the last fights of the war. Here General B. J. Hill hastily gathered a force of boys, old men, and convalescents to resist Croxton's Union Cavalry raiders. The raiders were intent on destroying Confederate railroads, furnaces, and supplies.
[Before 1965: Ala. Hwy 21]
Presbyterian Home for Children-Synod of Alabama-Presbyterian Church in the United States
Originally conceived 1864 as a home for children of Confederate dead by Synod in session at Selma. Opened at Tuskegee 1868-relocated in Talladega 1891. A haven for dependent youth of Alabama providing training, education, and worship in a Christian atmosphere.
[1963: AL Hwy 77 (Gertrude Michaels Drive) at 5th St, Talladega.
33.43401 N 86.08671 W]
In April 1950, Alabama’s last two living Confederate veterans met here to discuss shared experiences of the Civil War. Local resident Col. Pleasant ‘Riggs’ Crump was visited by Gen. James Moore of Selma, commander of the Alabama chapter of the United Confederate Veterans. Present at the surrender at Appomattox 85 years earlier, Crump had returned to the Lincoln area after the Civil War. He was a member of the Refuge Baptist Church which he served as deacon for 71 years, and was buried in this cemetery upon his death in 1951 at the age of 104.
Sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Fighting Joe Wheeler Camp 1372, Birmingham
[2011: Brooks Lake Road]
Settled in 1748 by Shawnee Indians from Ohio. They joined Creek Confederacy, fought against U.S. in War of 1812, were moved west in 1836. Settled before 1836 by men who had fought in this area under Andrew Jackson. Indian name: Syllacogga or Chalakagay.
[1954: US Hwy 231 (South Broadway) at County Road 511 south of Sylacauga.
33.15647 N 86.25085 W
1889-1930. "The International Furnace." Built by British group in 1889. Run by Americans during Spanish-American War. Japan bought-World War I-and made iron until Armistice. First furnace to ship low phosphorous iron to North. Dismantled for scrap in 1930.
[Before 1965: US Hwy 231 south of Talladega]
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