Historic tour of Huntsville


Huntsville has a long and fascinating history beginning with the native Bedias peoples and the original Mexican League and Labor Grant (4,428 acres plus 177 acres) to Pleasant Gray, from Huntsville, Alabama. Early settlers farmed cotton in the open meadows and the massive bales of cotton were taken by wagon to the river settlements at Cleveland, Riverside or Trinity. The first prison was built here just before the Civil War and housed some of the Union prisoners while supplying cotton uniforms and blankets to the Confederacy. The State Normal Institute opened in 1879 to provide teachers for the growing Texas population.  

The 10 years of Reconstruction gave African Americans a chance to build up a strong and active community. Fearing those raucous traveling salesmen, and refusing to pay the $100,000 requested by the railroad, Huntsville chose not to invite the railroad to establish a depot. The Railroad was built 8 miles east at Phelps. The only remnant is the famous Tilly’s Tapp built in 1873 at a cost of $300,000. By the 1880s, prisoners provided a work force for cotton plantations. Timber became a profitable business during the turn-of-the-century followed by agricultural products after the World Wars. Oil brought great prosperity to Houston and, by extension, to Huntsville. The artistic community expanded with the creations of David Adickes, with his statue of Sam Houston, and Dan Philips who focused on affordable housing from recycled goods.  



Limousine Party bus               Coffee/water/snacks     Sunday afternoon - 2 pm to 4 pm           Price $45        


2 pm – Board the Joye Mobile at 1225 11th Street or a location of your choice.

1. Bedias, Local Springs and Founders Park 1835 – Pleasant Gray, f/Huntsville, AL.

2. Huntsville Town Square – 1840s Early Mercantiles: Eastham, Gibbs, Yoakum, Houston, McKinney, Smither, A. M. Branch.

3. Growing Wealth–1850s- University Ave.

4. Sam Houston Museum -1863- Woodland Home, Law Office, Bear Bend, Farris Cabin, Steamboat House, Funeral

5. Sam Houston State University-1879 Austin College-1849, to Sherman 1876;Sam Houston Normal Institute 1879  

     The Brick Academy (1844), Stovall's Male and Female Academy (1845),Huntsville Acad.(1846), Andrew Female Academy(1853-1876), Mitchell College (1877),

       Bishop Ward Normal and Collegiate Institute for Negroes (1883-1890).

6. Texas Department of Criminal Justice The Walls – 1845

7. Oakwood Cemetery–1847 - Sam Houston’s grave, Henderson Yoakum, Joshua Houston, Black Jesus, Union Prisoners, 1867 Yellow Fever Epidemic.  

8. African American Huntsville- 1867-1876 - Emancipation Park, 10 Street, Samuel Walker Houston Cultural Center, Ave. M The Drag

9. Railroads, Tilly’s Tapp (1872), River towns join the rail line – International and Great Northern Riverside

10. Gilded Age - 1880s - Whistler, Gibbs-Powell  House, Wynne Home, 1836Restaurant, Avenue O

 11. Turn of the Century 1900– Timber, Boettcher’s Mill, Walker Byrd Mill

 12. Roaring Twenties to the Depression.  Pritchett Field, State Park, CCC, WPA

13. Huntsville in the 20th Century-–Famous people: John W. Thomason, Dan Rather, Dan Phillips (Phoenix Commotion), David Adickes. 

14. Complete the tour at Big Sam.   

For your safety, the bus is fully sanitized and disinfected before each tour. Masks are available for your use.

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