Old Cahawba, Alabama

Photos/Text courtesy of Steven Hippensteel, AL
Webmaster for any use of the following  photos

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Old Cahawba

1. Old Cahawba, Alabama's first state capital, 1820 to 1826
2. Cahaba, Alabama - Wikipedia

3. Encyclopedia of Alabama: Old Cahaba
4. Cahaba Civil War Prison
5. Old Cahawba Archaeological Site - Cahaba, Alabama

6. Cahaba or Castle Morgan Civil War Prison - Old Cahawba, Alabama
7. Old Cahawba | Facebook
8. Historic Selma and Dallas County, Alabama
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Old Cahawba they call it today. The pre-history of Cahawba was inhabited by mound building Indians who built a mound at the site against the Alabama River with a fortification fence around the village. After the mound building culture disappeared and the Indian population at Cahawba was long gone, settlers came and discovered this land wedged between the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers. Originally From 1820 until 1826, Cahawba was Alabama's capital city. It's tendency to flood gave it a reputation of being unhealthy. In 1826 the Legislature moved the capital to Tuscaloosa. Yet, predictions of Cahawba's demise were untrue. The river didn't cause great flooding problems. People knew this and the town became a commercial and social center. Cotton came down the Alabama River and in 1859, a railroad was built using soil taken from the Indian mound thus destroying their history, making Cahawba a major distribution point. During the Civil War, the Confederate States of America took over Cahawba's railroad and used the rails to extend another one near Selma thus ending the rail service the citizens of Cahawba enjoyed for the past two years. There was a prison (Castle Morgan) established for the captured Union soldiers. Only the chimney is left of that prison. In 1865, the river flooded the town. In 1866, the county seat moved to Selma, and within about 10 years, most of the people moved to Selma and took their houses with them. During Reconstruction, the abandoned Cahaba Courthouse was a meeting place for newly freed men, who started a community of former slave families. That project soon withered. By the early 1900's, most of the buildings in Cahaba (as it is spelled today) had been razed or had fallen in. the town was unincorporated in 1989. Old Cahawba is recognized as a state park today and is slowly being preserved and her remaining buildings restored in order to keep her rich history alive for future generations.

Note about the maps
Note the Indian mound and fortification fence surrounding the mound and ending on each side at the Alabama River. Look at the map of the city of Cahawba and note that Arch Street runs exactly along the former spot the Indian village fortification fence with a warehouse where the mound was. It was proposed to originally build the Capitol State House on top of the Indian Mound but wasn't in favor of tearing the mound down and using it's soil to help make the railroad beds when the railroad came to Cahawba. The cotton warehouse would see disuse later on and during the Civil War be turned into a prison for Union soldiers.


(2009) Enlarge Marker on main road
Enlarged Views: Hit Back Button to return

(2009) Enlarge Cahawba marker



(2009) Enlarge 1817 map of Old Cahawba showing Indian mound and fortification fence

(2009) Enlarge Fortified Indian village on Alabama River


(2009) Enlarge Cahawba map


(2009) Enlarge Cahaba gift shop & visitor's center: A reproduction of the cottage that General John Tyler Morgan (lawyer, US Senator and military hero of the Civil War) lived in on the Southwest corner of Capitol and Ash streets

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