SENIORS DRIVE THROUGH ALABAMA



Seniors Spend Time Enjoying Hartselle

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Senior travelers will find that Hartselle, about 10 miles south of Decatur, is part of a growing region, in terms of population (14,000) and economic development. Named for George Hartselle, a founding father, there are still some of his descendants in town.

The Depot Days Festival, held in the fall, celebrates the town’s railroad heritage. October brings the Crestline Carnival. In November, open houses hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and merchants begin the “Hartselle for the Holidays” activities, plus the community wide Thanksgiving Service.

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In December, Santa makes his official appearance during the Christmas Parade and residents graciously open their doors for the Beautification Association “Tour of Homes.”Throughout the year, there are banquets, neighborhood block parties, school festivals, school choral and band concerts, as well as lots of regularly scheduled activities at the Civic Center.

 Railroad Heritage Attracts Seniors

The historic railroad depot, built by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1914 and operated through the 1960s, currently houses the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce. The City is comparatively young as towns go, having been established in 1870 as a site considered strategic alongside the South and North Alabama Railroad.

Originally the budding village was located a half-mile north of the present downtown area. It had to pick itself up and move at the railroad’s request because the slopes of the old site made it impractical as a train stop and depot. The town was recognized by the establishment of a postal facility in 1873, but was not chartered by the state until March 1875.

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Many of the oldest buildings in town were destroyed by a great fire in 1916. Even after the fire, Hartselle has more buildings on the Alabama Historic Register than any other city in Alabama.

Sixty-nine of the buildings in the central business district of Hartselle, including the Hartselle Depot, have been nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places because of their architectural and historic significance.

 Robbery, Best Small Town, Ghost Stories…

In the early morning hours of March 15, 1926, fifteen thieves looted the Bank of Hartselle. The robbers got away with $25,000 in cash, coins and gold bars and despite the efforts of local, state, and federal authorities, no arrests were ever made. Sounds like a Jesse James or a John Dillinger caper to me.

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Hartselle has been included in the book, The 100 Best Small Towns in America. It is the birthplace of novelist and journalist William Bradford Huie and noted progressive U.S. congressman and senator John J. Sparkman. The Encyclopedia of Alabama has lots of good things to say about Hartselle.

Various urban legends have arisen around the claims that Cry Baby Hollow and the bridge going across it are haunted, just ask any of the locals about it.  Seniors, set your GPS for Hartselle and enjoy the town and some great southern hospitality. -jeb

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