Huntsville History Collection Resources
Huntsville is blessed with a wealth of organizations and individuals who are committed to making the history of our city readily available to its residents and visitors. This article describes and links to those information sources about Huntsville.
- UAHuntsville Library Archives - The Archives of the University of Alabama's Salmon Library contain some real treasures relating to the history and architecture of Huntsville, including extensive collections on the space program. Of particular interest are:
- Huntsville-Madison County Public Library - Heritage Room - The Heritage Room of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library contains a wealth of historic information including:
- Books, microfilm, local newspaper clippings, descriptive brochures, and biographical data about Huntsville and Madison County.
- State and county records - histories, abstracts of marriages, cemetery records, wills, deeds, court minutes, and church and vital records in print and microform.
- Local editions of newspapters on microform.
- Alabama State Black Archives Research Center & Museum - The goal of this research center and museum, located in the historic James H. Wilson Building on the campus of Alabama A & M University, is "to encourage greater awareness of the achievements and contributions of African Americans and the role they played in American society and the world, and to provide a better basis for understanding racial and cultural differences."
Huntsville Museums, Historical Sites & Activities
- Harrison Brothers Hardware - "Harrison Brothers, located on South Side Square in Huntsville, is the oldest operating hardware store in Alabama. Founded in 1879 by brothers James and Daniel Harrison as a tobacco store on Jefferson Street, the business was moved to its present location in 1897." It is maintained by the Historic Huntsville Foundation.
- Weeden House Museum - "The Weeden House Museum, located at 300 Gates Avenue, Huntsville, Alabama is home to the artwork of Maria Howard Weeden and currently houses many of her works in the museum collection." It "is now owned by the City of Huntsville and is leased by the Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association and maintained as a 19th Century house museum."
- Burritt on the Mountain - This museum located on Monte Santo includes Dr. William Henry Burritt's eclectic mansion and a historic park with restored 19th century houses. The old church is the venue for a variety of concerts, plays and exhibits.
- Alabama Constitution Village - "Forty-four delegates of the constitutional convention gathered here in a vacant cabinet shop on July 5, 1819, to organize Alabama as the 22nd state. John Boardman's print shop, Clement Comer Clay's law office, the Federal Land Surveyor's office, a post office and sheriff Stephen Neal's residence surround that cabinet shop."
- Huntsville Depot & Museum - "Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot served as the local passenger house & the corporate offices for the eastern division of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. An active passenger station until 1968, the original depot building now stands as a symbol of Huntsville's transportation history and city growth."
- North Alabama Railroad Museum - The center piece of this museum with over 30 railroad cars is the Chase Depot, the smallest union depot in the country since it served more than one railroad when in service. If you visit the museum on a day when the train is running, you can ride a vintage train over the museum's own Mercury & Chase Railroad.
- U.S. Space & Rocket Center - "Home to Space Camp, Aviation Challenge and X-Camp; The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is recognized as one of the most comprehensive U.S. manned space flight hardware museums in the world."
- Huntsville Botanical Garden - In addition to being an outstanding botanical garden, it is the current "home" to the columns from one of Huntsville's early courthouses.
- Huntsville Museum of Art - "The nationally-accredited Museum fills its seven galleries with a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, including prestigious traveling exhibits and the work of nationally and regionally acclaimed artists. The Museum’s own 2,522-piece permanent collection also forms the basis for several exhibitions each year."
- Sci-Quest Science Center - "Sci-Quest is a hands-on science center with more than 100 permanent, interactive exhibits in seven different subject areas." Although it is not focused on history, it is one of Huntsville's extensive collection of museums.
- Historical Pursuit - Historical Pursuit provides a variety of topical walking tours of Huntsville.
- Huntsville Pilgrimage - The Huntsville Pilgrimage Association provides annual tours of Huntsville's historic homes as well as a delightful Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll where the residents of the cementery arise annually to share their personal stories with the visitors.
- Helion Lodge - Website for the "First and Oldest" Masonic Lodge in the State of Alabama.
- Huntsville History Bookshelf - An amazing number of books have been written about Huntsville and its History. This section contains brief descriptions for some of these books. Links are provided to scanned images of the covers, title pages and table of contents, so you can decide if you want to acquire a copy.
- RailRoad Station Antiques - Check out the extensive collection of Huntsville history publications in the Shavers Books booths on the second floor of RailRoad Station Antiques.
- Old Huntsville: History and Stories of the Tennessee Valley - Old Huntsville has been publishing a monthly magazine of stories about Huntsville's history since 1991. They also have a website with links to a variety of Huntsville-related historical records and some of the articles from their publication.
- Foundations of Faith - A Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau which describes Huntsville's houses of worship that are over 100 years old.
- Historical Markers - This publication on the Huntsville City Website provides maps and a listing of all of the historical markers in Madision County.
- Huntsville Rewound - "Pictures and memories from the Huntsville AL TV market including Huntsville, Decatur, Athens, Madison, The Shoals, Sand Mountain, South TN border counties and all points in-between. This area has grown tremendously over the last 60 years and there are a lot of great memories here. (and they overlap cities/counties/states) This site has a companion site on facebook."
- Huntsville Revisited - "You will find pictures and stories relating to this North Alabama city and surrounding areas. Since 1968, Huntsville Revisited has archived stories and photos of Huntsville - Madison County, Alabama."
- Encyclopedia of Alabama - A "free, online resource on Alabama history, culture, geography, and natural environment. This site offers articles on Alabama’s famous people, historic events, sports, art, literature, industry, government, plant and animal life, agriculture, recreation, and so much more."
- AlabamaMosaic - "AlabamaMosaic is a repository of digital materials on Alabama's history, culture, places, and people. Its purpose is to make unique historical treasures from Alabama's archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories electronically accessible to Alabama residents and to students, researchers, and the general public in other states and countries."
- About.com, Huntsville, Alabama - This resource, maintained by Jean Brandau, provides a picture galleries of Huntsvilles historic neighborhoods and activities.
- Maria Howard Weeden - This biography of Maria Howard Weeden is on the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame web-site.
- Huntsville Police Department - This page of the Huntsville Police Departments website contains links to pictures and other materials documenting the history of the Huntsville Police Department.
Local, State & National Organizations
- Historic Huntsville Foundation - The Historic Huntsville Foundation was established in 1974 "to encourage the preseravation of historically or architecturally significant sites and structures throughout Huntsville and Madison County and to increase public awareness of their value to the community."
- Preservation Alabama - "The Alabama Historical Commission is the state agency charged with safeguarding Alabama’s historic buildings and sites."
- Alabama Cemetery Preservation - The Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance (ACPA) is "dedicated to honoring, recording, restoring and preserving all cemeteries and burial grounds throughout the state of Alabama."
- National Trust for Historic Preservation - "The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities."
- Preservation America - "Preserve America is a federal initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the program include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities."
- Library of Congress - The Library of Congress contains the Historic American Structures Survey and other resources of interest.
- National Park Service - This link the to the National Park Service Cultural Resources Home Page provides access to the National Historic Register, the Historic American Structures Survey and a variety of other historic preservation information.
- Preservapedia - Preservapedia is a wiki knowledge base focused "specifically on technical material related to cultural resource management and its allied fields."