Chimney of Old Fort Payne
The modern city takes its
name from Fort Payne, a log
fort built during the Cherokee
Removal. Only the chimney
remains today.
DeSoto Falls
Located near Fort Payne, this
100-foot waterfall is one of
the most popular in the state
of Alabama.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Fort Payne, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Fort Payne, Alabama
Fort Payne, Alabama - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Depot Museum in Fort Payne
Fort Payne's unique old train depot is now a museum
that interprets the rich history of the community.
History, Music & Scenic Beauty
Located in a beautiful mountain valley in
northeastern Alabama, the historic city of Fort
Payne is the center of a region rich in historic
sites and scenic landmarks.

The home of famed country music group
Alabama, Fort Payne is the location of the
band's fan club and museum. The members
of Alabama, in fact, have contributed greatly
to the improvement of their hometown
through numerous donations and their
support of worthwhile projects ranging from
historic markers to the establishment of Little
River Canyon National Preserve.

The Fort Payne area is rich in Native
American history. Willstown, a settlement of
the Cherokee Nation, was located on the
eastern edge of the modern city. A Christian
mission was located on the site during the
1820s and 1830s and a historic Cherokee
cemetery can still be seen.

Legend holds that Prince Madoc, a Welsh
explorer, passed through this area in around
1170 A.D. Although historical documentation
is lacking, some believe that he landed on
Mobile Bay that year and led a party of
explorers north into the mountains. It has
long been claimed that the Welsh Caves at
DeSoto Falls were used by Madoc and his
followers.

While the claims of early Welsh explorers are
controversial, there is little doubt of the
presence of other early explorers in the area.
The Hernando de Soto expedition passed
somewhere south of Fort Payne in 1540 and
members of the Tristan de Luna party also
penetrated the region about twenty years
later.

The famed Cherokee scholar
Sequoyah
moved to Wills Town in 1818 and it was here
that he developed his famed Cherokee
Alphabet in 1821. Sequoyah's 86-character
alphabet remains the only written Indian
language ever developed in the United
States.

In 1823 the American Board of Missions
established a mission at Wills Town to
provide education and religious instruction
for the Cherokee of the area. The mission
operated until the Cherokee Trail of Tears in
1838 and the site is marked today by a
unique
Cherokee cemetery on 38th Street
near its intersection with Godfrey Avenue on
the eastern edge of the city.

The name of the modern city originates from
Old Fort Payne, a log stockade erected here
in 1838 as part of the Cherokee Removal.
Built by Captain John C. Payne of the
Alabama Militia, the fort stood at the end of
4th Street S.E. in the downtown area.
Originally a log house surrounded by a
stockade, the fort was used as an internment
point for Cherokees reluctant to take part in
the Trail of Tears. Occupied for less than one
year, it was later converted to a home. An old
chimney can still be seen.
Fort Payne is the center of a beautiful region
of mountain country. DeSoto Falls, DeSoto
State Park and Little River Canyon National
Preserve are located off Alabama Highway
35 just outside of town.

Also nearby is the charming little community
of Mentone, noted for its dining, historic
structures and unique shops.

In Fort Payne itself visitors can enjoy the
Alabama Fan Club and Museum, the Fort
Payne Depot Museum and the downtown
area's City Park which features historic
markers and life-sized statues of the
members of Alabama.

The
Alabama Fan Club and Museum is at the
intersection of Alabama Highway 35 and U.S.
Highway 11 less than one mile from Exit 218
on Interstate 59. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5
p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and 12
noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The
Fort Payne Depot Museum is open on
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 105 5th Street
NE, across from the downtown city park.

Fort Payne is an outstanding base for
exploring the Alabama mountains.
Please
click here for more information.
Alabama Fan Club & Museum
The famed country music
group Alabama hails from
Fort Payne and their fan club
and museum are popular
attractions in the city.
DeSoto State Park
Located just outside of Fort
Payne, DeSoto State Park
features hiking, picnicking,
waterfalls, cabins, campsites,
a restaurant, hotel and more.
Little River Falls and Canyon
Little River Canyon National
Preserve near Fort Payne is a
spectacular national park
area known for Little River
Falls and the "Grand Canyon
of the East."
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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