Transcript of "Alabama Metro Area Oddities Infographic"
No matter if you have lived in Alabama for all of your life, or if you just moved to the state
of Alabama. This state is filled with some very odd and unusual things. Most of these odd
and unusual things are in smaller towns or in rural areas. But in Alabama’s largest cities,
each city has something that makes it unusual and stand out. This infographic will explore
the most odd and unusual things in the state’s 10 largest metro areas! Let’s get started!
Photo Credits: http://eccentricroadside.blogspot.com/, http://www.hnsa.org/, http://clui.org/, http://www.atlasobscura.com/, http://tour.ua.edu/,
http://www.craton.net/, http://www.westerveltcommunities.com/, http://birminghamhotdogtour.blogspot.com/, http://www.toomersdrugs.com/,
http://www.auburntigers.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/, http://www.asf.net/.
In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy envisioned an
American on the moon by the end of the decade, NASA
turned to Marshall Space Flight Center to create the
incredibly powerful rocket needed to turn this presidential
vision into reality.
Since its beginning in 1960, Marshall has provided the
agency with mission-critical design, development and
integration of the launch and space systems required for
space operations, exploration, and scientific missions.
Marshall's legacy in rocket science includes providing the
rockets that powered Americans to the moon, developing
the space shuttle propulsion system, and managing the
development of Skylab, Spacelab, space station nodes, the
Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory,
and many scientific instruments.
The city is one of four municipalities known as the Quad
Cities, the others being Florence, Sheffield and Tuscumbia,
all in Alabama. Muscle Shoals is known for recording many
hit songs from the 1960s to today at two studios: FAME
Studios, founded by Rick Hall, where Aretha Franklin, Wilson
Pickett and Otis Redding and numerous others recorded;
and, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, founded by the musicians
known as The Swampers, which developed work for Bob
Dylan, Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones and countless others.
While the music from the area is often referred to as the
"Muscle Shoals Sound", all four of the Quad Cities have
significantly contributed to the area's musical history.
In addition to being home to country music band
Shenandoah, a number of artists have made successful
pilgrimages to Muscle Shoals in an effort to escape the
limelight, and write and record their signature works.
Both FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios are still
in operation in the city.
Dothan is home to a small, nondescript triangular patch of
land at the intersection of North Appletree, Museum and
Troy Streets that has been feted by the Guinness Book of
World Records as the World's Smallest City Block. There's a
yield sign, a stop sign, a street sign, and a stone marker
declaring its achievements and that's it. But wait, there's
more! Dothan is also home to whimsically decorated 4-foot
tall peanut characters, in honor of Dothan's self-proclaimed
title of "Peanut Capital of the World.” Roadside attractions
are a popular thing in Dothan.
The South Dakota Class Battleship USS Alabama was laid down on 1 February 1940
by the Norfolk Navy Yard, it was launched on 16 February 1942, and sponsored by
Henrietta McCormick Hill, wife of J. Lister Hill, the senior Senator from Alabama.
Alabama was commissioned on 16 August 1942, with Captain George B. Wilson in
command. USS Alabama severed during World War II mostly participating in the
Pacific theater. During service, the ship was called the Lucky A because, during
World War II, she lost no American lives aboard her due to enemy fire. She was also
known as the “Mighty A”.
The USS Alabama Shot down 22 planes and was only used for 37 months during
World War II. She was almost new when she retired, she only has 218,000 miles on
her, just broken in good! Today she weighs about 40,000 tons, or 80 million pounds!
When she was loaded in World War II, she weighed more than 90 million pounds, in
excess of 45,000 tons. After retirement, the school children in Alabama raised
$100,000 to bring the ship to Mobile. The battleship was towed 5,600 miles from
Bremerton, Washington to Mobile in summer 1964, still the longest non-military tow
per mile tow in history.
There is a rich history of musical performers with roots in
Montgomery. Grammy Award winning recording artist Toni
Tennille of the famed duo The Captain and Tennille, jazz singer
and pianist Nat King Cole, country singer Hank Williams, blues
singer Big Mama Thornton, Melvin Franklin of the Temptations,
guitarist Tommy Shaw of Styx are among the many musicians to
get their start in Montgomery. Montgomery is also known for the
Alabama Shakespeare Festival's Carolyn Blount Theatre. The
Shakespeare Festival presents year-round performances of both
classic plays and performances of local interest, in addition to
works of William Shakespeare.
When Toomer’s first started in 1896, it was a little beacon of a
business on a mostly deserted street. The drugstore was founded
by Sheldon Toomer, known as “Shel” by most. Shel was a
halfback on Auburn’s 1st football team. He graduated from
Auburn with both a degree in agriculture and pharmacy, and later
went on to represent Lee County in the Alabama House of
Representatives. The business began with a $500 loan, which
allowed Shel to enter the drugstore business with his stepfather,
Lazarus. He had no idea at the time how important his little
drugstore would become to Auburn fans worldwide.
Also, the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and College street in
Auburn, which marks the transition from downtown Auburn to the
university campus, is known as Toomer's Corner. It is named for
businessman and State Senator Sheldon Toomer who founded
Toomer's Drugs on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and College
street in 1896. Toomer's Drugs is located on the North East corner
of the intersection and has been an Auburn landmark for over 115
years. It’s tradition in Auburn to "roll the corner" when something
good happens in Auburn like winning football games. This
tradition is thought to have originated in the 1950s to celebrate
away victories; however, in recent years it has become a way to
celebrate anything good that happens concerning Auburn.
1958 was a big year for Tuscaloosa. Not only was it the first year
that Paul “Bear” Bryant starting coaching at Alabama, it was also
the year that John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened his first Dreamland
Café. Big Daddy was a brick mason for many years and he longed
for another way to support his family. He had narrowed it down to
opening either a mortuary or a restaurant and he got down on his
knees and prayed for guidance. Legend has it that God told him in
a dream that night to build a café on the land next to his home
and Big Daddy made that dream a reality.
The original Dreamland Café is located about two miles from the
intersection of Hwy 82 and Interstate 59 just south of Tuscaloosa
in an area known as Jerusalem Heights. In the beginning, it wasn’t
just ribs and white bread. Big Daddy and his wife, Miss Lilly,
served many things from sandwiches to postage stamps. The
customers always kept coming back for the warmth they felt
every time they passed through the door and Big Daddy’s ribs and
secret recipe bar-b-que sauce. "Ain’t Nothing Like ‘Em,
Many people might not know this, but Birmingham is known
as one of the top cities in America to get, a hot dog! Thanks
to the Union soldiers not burning down Birmingham during
the Civil War, and Greeks immigrating to Birmingham,
Birmingham became a hot dog city starting in the early
1900’s, and all for one reason, people working at the steel
meals needed a quick meal for a good price. Birmingham is
also known for Grapico, after being invented in New
Orleans, it came to Birmingham in the 1910’s where it’s a
fixture today! Today, there are still many hot dog
restaurants in the Birmingham Metro!
In 1981, Miller's Office Supply in Anniston, Alabama, wanted
to call attention to itself. Owner Leonard "Sonny" Miller had
an inspired idea: he would build the world's largest chair in
the vacant lot next to his building. Since he sold office
furniture, he used an office chair as the model, simply
converting inches into feet. The result still stands today: a
chair 33 feet tall with a 15-foot-square seat, built out of ten
tons of steel (Sonny also had a steel company), anchored in
15 tons of cement. Sonny asked the president of the HON
company, the firm that designed the original chair, to come
to the dedication of the giant chair -- and he did. Guinness
World's Records officially christened Sonny's creation the
World's Largest Chair in 1982.
Noccalula Falls, which drops into the Black
Creek ravine, is marked with a bronze
statue of Cherokee maiden Noccalula who,
according to local legends, plunged to her
death after being ordered by her father to
marry a man she didn't love. The bronze
statue of Noccalula was, at the time of its
creation, the first statue of a person jumping
off a cliff. This legend is much similar
to Princess Winona. The bronze used in the
statue was made from pennies collected
from local school children in the mid-1960s.
Although no peer-reviewed historic journals
have evaluated the veracity of the legend, at
least one independent researcher has
published evidence suggesting that the story
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