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Northport, Alabama

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Northport, a city in Tuscaloosa County, is directly adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities do share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically the entire boundary) is the Black Warrior River.

One of Northport's most notable cultural activities is the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. Each year in October, hundreds of artists gather at Kentuck Park to showcase their work in front of thousands of visitors.

Another longstanding tradition of Northport is Art Night, which is held on the first Thursday of each month. Many of Northport's galleries open their doors after hours for this popular art demonstration. A trolley system runs between Downtown Northport and Downtown Tuscaloosa as collaboration with Tuscaloosa's Art and Soul event.

Dickens Downtown is held the first Tuesday in December. This annual holiday event attracts many thousands of participants to come and see the period setting of 19th Century England.

To me Downtown Northport is a place to see. It is filled with shops, flower displays, and detailed plaques outlining the history of the town. We enjoyed our stay in Northport.

In the days before Alabama became a state, the City of Northport, which is located on the north side of the Black Warrior River, was the site of a convenient ford for those crossing the Alabama Territory.

The earliest account of white travelers using the ford was in 1771. The river was navigable for a portion of the year up to the Tuscaloosa Falls, which was located at this point. According to W. S. Persinger who wrote the "Early History of Northport, Alabama", the City became a settlement in 1813.

Captain Otis Dyer ran a ferry between Tuscaloosa and Northport and laid out the streets and lots of Northport. In the early 1800's, this area was the head of navigation with cotton warehouses located on both sides of the river. The principal market for cotton was the New England States. Cargo was carried by steamboats to Mobile and then by ship to the northern states and Europe. Generally, it took two weeks for steamboats to make a round trip from Mobile to Northport.

Northport's early history revolved around the river, but the little town continued to grow after railroads and highways surpassed river traffic in the volume of transportation.

During the Civil War, Northport suffered many losses as did most Southern cities. General Craxton's raiders approached the City of Tuscaloosa through Northport and destroyed the bridge between the two cities.

Northport was incorporated in 1871. The first newspaper was the NORTHPORT SPECTATOR which existed from 1870 to 1873. A pre-Civil War school was located on Academy Hill and a free school was built by Northport between Main Avenue and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad depot in 1901. The city's population at that time was approximately 600 people.




Alabama Blues Project - May 2010