When I started to research Alabama history, I came across the Early History of Huntsville, Alabama: 1804 to 1870 by Edward Chambers Betts, dated 1909 and revised in 1916. One side note caught my attention.
Apparently General Andrew Jackson not only frequently visited Huntsville, and purchased “vast areas of Madison county lands” but he also enjoyed some relaxation. He would stay at the Old Green Bottom Inn located 4 miles north of Huntsville in Normal, on property now belonging to the Alabama A&M University. There, General Jackson would race his horses and “fought his cocks.” If you’re curious, you can read more about his visits here.
The Old Green Bottom Inn, one of the first hostelries in Alabama, was built by John Connelly in 1815 along with the adjoining race track. The race track became a kind of mecca for sportsmen from across the entire state of Alabama (then part of the Mississippi Territory). By the way, the Alabama Territory was created in 1817, and the cotton economy and fertile soil attracted “cultured and wealthy Virginians, who brought with them large droves of slaves.” Only 2 years later, on August 2, 1819 the Alabama Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Alabama.
Sadly, the inn burned down in 1931 and only a portion of stone wall remains standing.
This discovery of an inn confirms the idea of a roadside inn in northern Alabama in 1821, the time period of my Cassie Fairhope and the Haunted Inn, which will release in the fall of 2019. My fictional Fury Falls Inn, though, is situated at the base of the foothills of the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachians, along the Winchester Road that ran from Normal to Winchester, Tennessee.
I enjoy digging into the real history of an area and then incorporating those details as authentically as possible into my historical fiction. All while providing an engaging and enjoyable story for my readers.
Next time I’ll talk about a recent road trip with my ever supportive husband to the foothills along the Winchester Road. Until then, I hope you’re reading something that you enjoy!
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2 thoughts on “A Bit of History of the Green Bottom Inn and Race Track #Huntsville #Alabama200 #amwriting #supernatural #histfic”
I own a house on Winchester Road about 8 miles NE of Al A&M… I’m trying to research the area and recently found reference to a tavern /stage coach stop… first called Bell’s Tavern, then Bayless then Locust Grove Tavern… current day address in New Market but I’ve found an old map that refers to the area as Deposit…Locust Grove church is near there and at one time a one room School house…. Have you found anything about that area?
Kate, I’ve found a little bit about that area. You might try this History of Madison County (contactez.net/gurleyalabama/madisoncountyhistory.html ). They mention the Bell Factory cotton gin which I guess is in that area? There is also the Early History of Huntsville Alabama 1804 to 1870 by Edward Chambers Betts (1909; revised 1916) which might have more about that area. Good luck!
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