Sometimes I am amazed at how things turn out. I have been interested in
seeing Albertville, Alabama for years, but never got around to visiting
for some reason or another. This visit was interesting considering what
led up to this trip. And the story begins…
I received the news that my cousin’s husband had passed away. I live about 300 miles away and did not know the details. I was hesitant to call her under the circumstances. The next day I was on Facebook catching up or whatever you do on Facebook and I noticed that his obituary had been posted by another cousin. I read the article and clicked on a link for the funeral schedule.
The linked information provided the time, address of the church and the city. Well I knew my cousin did not live in Albertville, but I thought that possibly that was her husband's hometown and maybe he wanted to be buried there.
So I jump in my car and headed to Albertville with enough time to get there the afternoon before the funeral. My trip went well and I arrived early enough to have a chance to visit a few places before attending the wake. After a few stops, I drove to the church hoping to make contact up with my cousin and her family. No one was at the church, so I decided to get up early the next morning and get to the church early. Unfortunately, I had also misplaced my cousin’s telephone number so I was not able to get any update information.
To make a long story longer, I arrived at the church early the next morning and I was the only one there. I waited around for about an hour and begin to think that just maybe I was not where I was supposed to be even though my information had come straight off the internet obituary. After calling home for help, I was told that I was about 50 miles north of where I was supposed to be. This brought back memories of a TV commercial where the girl said, "I got it off the internet, it has got to be true."
Did I mention I barely made it to the church on time? Conclusion, never believe everything you read on the internet even if you believe it was posted by someone you trust.
Now, back to Albertville!
Albertville is a city in Marshall County, Alabama with a population of 21,160, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
The area which today includes Albertville was settled by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
During the Civil War, the area around Albertville was the scene of several mid-level clashes between Union and Confederate forces.
The first white settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
At about 4:10 p.m. on April 24, 1908, the city was virtually wiped out by a tornado that became commonly called "The Great Cyclone," or "The Cyclone of 1908." The storm is believed to have killed 35 people across northeastern Alabama, including 15 in Albertville. Relief was largely delivered by railroad, particularly from the nearby city of Gadsden. Trains from Gadsden transported doctors, nurses, and the Queen City Guards, the Alabama militia company based in Gadsden. The commander of the latter, future Gadsden mayor and Col. R.A. Mitchell, reported in a dispatch to Governor B.B. Comer:
... The destruction of property here is, I think, unprecedented in the history of the state. I have never seen anything like it, so complete and absolute as to leave little of worth in the path of the storm through town. On viewing the wreckage, covering easily forty acres or more in the heart of town, it appears incredible that any living being could have escaped the fury of the storm and death ...
In 1893, the Alabama Legislature passed an act for the erection of an agricultural college in each of the state's Congressional districts. After some competition, Albertville was awarded the school for the Seventh District. This is the school that evolved into today's Albertville High School, whose sports teams are still known as the "Aggies."
Before the New Deal, when the Tennessee Valley Authority built Guntersville Dam, flooding on the Tennessee River would frequently leave the county courthouse in Guntersville inaccessible for residents of Albertville and other areas atop Sand Mountain. In 1919, the Alabama Legislature responded by requiring the erection of a courthouse at Albertville, in which cases arising in that part of the county would be heard.
In June 1, 2009 the city council voted to establish English as the town's official language.
On April 24, 2010, exactly 102 years after the "Cyclone of 1908", an EF-3 tornado ripped through downtown Albertville. While the storm resulted in no deaths, the twister damaged the new Albertville High School and "Aggie Stadium." Nearly every home had some type of damage and many were destroyed beyond repair.
Albertville is home to the Mueller Company, which produces fire hydrants, thus Albertville holds the title of "Fire Hydrant Capital of the World." In 1991, to commemorate the one millionth fire hydrant a chrome fire hydrant was placed outside the Albertville Chamber of Commerce.
A portion of the "Trail of Tears" is located in Marshall County. The route travels Alabama Hwy 75 in Albertville to U.S. Hwy 431 in Guntersville where the Cherokee and Creek Indians were loaded on to barges and shipped west.