Best Historical Sites in Old Dixie Part One In Alabama vs Kentucky

Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria

Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee from the region of the United States colloquially referred to as "Old Dixie." Another name for it would be the "Old South," the land of plantations, slavery, and Antebellum style. Certainly, these states represent the heart of the American South, and all seceded from the Union in the middle of the 19th century. This article will focus on Alabama and Kentucky.

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Method 1: In Alabama

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From stately southern plantations out of the Antebellum South to the civil rights struggles that erupted on the streets of Selma during the turbulent 1960's, Alabama's history encompasses the dark side of the American experience as well as the warm southern charm of its people. Here, you can walk the path of the civil rights crusaders over the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma as well as a stroll through the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens as you imagine sipping mint juleps on a sultry southern summer night.

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  1. 1
    Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma
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    The Edmund Pettus Bridge is a steel arch bridge that was constructed in 1940. On March 7, 1965, a date that was after that known as Bloody Sunday, armed police attacked a group of civil rights protesters as they marched to Montgomery.
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  2. 2
    Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery
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    During the Civil War, the Alabama State Capitol was the Capitol of the Confederacy. It was built in 1850 through 1851, and in 1861, it was the site where the Confederate States of America was born. It was also the ending point for Martin Luther King Jr's Voting Rights March in 1965.
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  3. 3
    Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, Birmingham
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    Located on six acres, the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens is a living history museum. It preserves the character and style of the Antebellum South in its architecture and décor.
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  4. 4
    Hank Williams Grave and Memorial, Montgomery
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    Country music legend, Hank Williams died when he was only 29, yet his influence over country and rock music continues to live on. With hits such as "Your Cheating Heart" and "Honky Tonk Blues," his contributions to the American Culture cannot be denied. You can see his grave at the Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery, Alabama.
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  5. 5
    United States Snagboat Montgomery
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    Built in 1926 and commissioned by the Montgomery District Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Montgomery is a stern-wheeled snag boat, one of just two still in existence in the United States. The Montgomery's role was to keep the Alabama and Coosa Rivers free for navigation. While she was moved around a lot, the Montgomery remained in operation until 1982, one of the longest-lived United States vessels in the nation.
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  6. 6
    Gun from the Confederate States Ship Tennessee
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    The C.S.S. Tennessee was a Confederate Ironclad ship that went on to take on the Union fleet in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. One of her guns, a stern pivot gun, now resides on the lawn in front of Selma's city hall building.
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  7. 7
    United States Ship Alabama, Mobile
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    Built during the World War II years, the U.S.S. Alabama served for three years, from her launch in 1942 through September 5, 1945, when she headed the American Fleet into Tokyo Bay. She was awarded Nine Battle Stars and was called the "Heroine of the Pacific" for her adventures. The 680-foot battleship was saved from the scrap heap when the citizens of her namesake, the State of Alabama, granted her new life as the star exhibit of Mobile's Battleship Memorial Park, which opened in 1965. You can tour the ship as well as other World War II era planes and even a submarine, the U.S.S. Drum there.
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  8. 8
    Town of Mooresville
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    Mooresville is one of the oldest towns in Alabama, having been incorporated in 1818. The entire town is a historical landmark and boasts the oldest working Alabama post office. It opened in 1840, and you can still mail a letter from there.
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  9. 9
    Ivy Green, the childhood home of Hellen Keller, Tuscumbia
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    Hellen Keller, whose inspirational story has touched the hearts of many, grew up in this home that was built in 1820. You can also see the well which Helen used to communicate with Anne Sullivan here.
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  10. 10
    Tannehill Ironworks, McCalla
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    This iron works facility played a key role in supplying the Confederate Army with ordinance during the Civil War. Construction on it began in 1859, and it was completed in 1862. It was designated as a historic place in 1972 and today you can tour its grounds and buildings to see how a 19th-century iron foundry operated.
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Method 2: In Kentucky

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Kentucky is best known for its racehorses and its bourbon, both of which figure large in its history. It is also the birthplace of President Abraham Lincoln, who served during the Civil War, the bloodiest war to be fought on American soil. Other highlights of this state include the Kentucky Derby and the largest cave system in the world.

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  1. 1
    Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
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    The Shakers were a religious sect that valued living simply and peacefully, similar to the Quakers. It is from them that that the Shaker style in home furnishings comes, with its simple and plain lines. The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill represents an example of the the Shaker lifestyle in 19th century America.
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  2. 2
    Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park, Hodgenville
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    See the log cabin where one of the most beloved U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln had his humble beginnings. While the structure is not the original, it has been faithfully replicated on the lands that Lincoln roamed as a boy.
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  3. 3
    Labrot and Grahm's Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, Versailles
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    This venerable distillery has been making spirits since 1780 and is one of the oldest in the state. If you go on the Kentucky Bourbon Tours, this is one of the sites that you will see.
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  4. 4
    Belle of Louisville
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    The Belle is a beautiful three decked paddle wheel steamer that was constructed in 1914 by James Rees and Sons. She originally ran cargo up and down the Mississippi for the West Memphis Packet Company, and today is part of the Great Steamboat Race that takes place during the Kentucky Derby Festival.
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  5. 5
    Louisville Mega Cavern
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    Covering 17 miles of ground underneath the city of Louisville is this extensive cavern system. You can choose to take a tour by jeep, tram, or if you're feeling adventurous, zip line. These caves were chosen by the Civil Defense as a place to evacuate people to in the event of a nuclear war. Pretty scary.
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  6. 6
    Louisville Water Pumping Company
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    You would not believe that the ornate Greek Revival structure is just a humble water pumping station. The gorgeous water tower was built in 1856, making it one of the oldest in the world.
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  7. 7
    Waveland State Historic Site
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    The Waveland State Historic Site is a remarkable example of19th century life in Kentucky. The home was built by Daniel Boone's descendants and features period furnishings throughout. You can tour the home, the lands, and the outbuildings, including the slave quarters.
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  8. 8
    Churchill Downs, Louisville
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    Churchill Downs is the site of one of the most famous horse races in the United States, the Kentucky Derby. This important race takes place every year in May, so if you can, that's the best time to visit. Kentucky's proud heritage as a breeder of championship horses is proudly on display at this historic racetrack.
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  9. 9
    Old Statehouse, Frankfort
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    Serving as the capital of Kentucky from 1830 to 1910, the Greek Revival structure was modeled after the Temple of Minerva Polias. Its Doric columns reflect the Greek Revival style favored at the time it was built. Although its designer, Gideon Shryock, designed it in the preferred style of that era, he was also purposefully connecting Kentucky's government to the Ancient Greeks, who were the fathers of democratic rule.
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  10. 10
    Mammoth Cave State Park
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    Located in the area known as the "Land of 10,000 Sinks," Mammoth Cave is part of an ancient cave system which is the largest in the world. It was known to the native peoples far before the area was colonized, going all the back to the first millennium BCE. Just 400 passages have been surveyed, with much more to go. If you are an experienced spelunker, be sure to try the Wild Cave Tour, which will take you deep below ground to explore some truly fabulous features.
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Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Kathy McGraw

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