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Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Church

Tuscumbia (Images of America)

John L. McWilliams

Tuscumbia sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northwest Alabama in an area known as the Shoals. The area is rich with history beginning with the Native Americans who lived near the big spring for thousands of years. The European influence began with the Spanish under De Soto and the French, who had a trading post here in the 1700s. In the early 1800s, the African American influence became prevalent. Tuscumbia was America’s first frontier railroad town with the incorporation of Tuscumbia Railroad Company and the home of “America’s First Lady of Courage,” Helen Keller. Today, Tuscumbia contains the oldest commercial buildings in the state of Alabama. Rail service was expanded in 1834 around the treacherous Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River between Florence and Decatur, connecting steamboats at Tuscumbia Landing with Decatur, Alabama. Thousands of Native Americans―Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw―were removed from Tuscumbia to their new home in Indian Territory.

Christmas Tales of Alabama

Kelly Kazek

It's the most wonderful time of the year, especially in Alabama. Celebrate the spirit of the season with these tales of Christmases past from the heart of Dixie. There is the story of Helen Keller's first Christmas memories in Tuscumbia, the tale of how Birmingham native Hugh Martin penned the classic tune "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," visions of all the impressive Christmas light displays throughout the state and much more. In a collection of tales that range from the heartwarming to the heartbreaking, Alabama author Kelly Kazek culls from over two hundred years of Christmas celebrations in the state and offers up a gift that no one will want to be without come Christmas morning.

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