The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) kicked off Huntsville History Month, the third year for the community-wide campaign that celebrates the area’s rich historical heritage throughout the month of October. Like most events in 2020, the campaign has shifted to feature even more digital, virtual, and outdoor activities as part of the month-long calendar of events – a one-stop shop for those eager to take a step back in time.
The format of this year’s History Month will also include four specially-themed weeks that will highlight specific pillars of the city’s history.
October 5-11: Women’s History
2020 is the national centennial celebration of the passing of the 19th amendment. Did you know that renowned suffragettes Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt gave a speech in Huntsville in 1895? This week will explore the stories of women – both from the past and today – that have helped shape the identity of the Rocket City.
October 12-18: Black History
From Little Richard to the Buffalo Soldiers, Bartley Harris to the hallowed ground of historic Oakwood Slave Cemetery, Huntsville is rich in Black history. The new H.C. Blake Art & History Center, curated by local historian William Hampton, is a must-see.
October 19-25: Historic Sites
Not only is Huntsville home to the largest collection of antebellum homes in Alabama, many of today’s popular mixed-use developments (Campus No. 805, Stovehouse, and Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, to name a few) serve as prime examples of adaptive reuse of historic buildings.
October 26-31: Huntsville Legends
Like any Southern town, the Rocket City is steeped in legends and lore. This week will highlight some of the city’s most infamous characters, from Lily Flagg to the Black Widow of Hazel Green, as well as the cast of well-known ghosts that still roam the streets.
While many of the events traditionally included in Huntsville History Month have been put on hold for 2020, some community staples have returned this fall. Huntsville Ghost Walks are being offered through October, as well as the Rocket City Rover’s “Boos Cruise,” a guided history tour experienced on pedal pub.
Digital and outdoor activities, such as the Digital Huntsville History Tour, Rocket City Civil Rights Driving Tour, a variety of scavenger hunts, and a self-guided walking tour of Madison County’s historic markers on October 4 add to the mix, allowing for several physically-distanced and health guideline-friendly ways to celebrate.
In addition to special events, the CVB is encouraging visitors and residents alike to experience the area’s many historical attractions, several of which have been hit especially hard by the pandemic’s restrictions on tourism and entertainment.
“Whether you’re a long-time resident of Huntsville, a visitor, or maybe someone who has recently relocated here, our attractions have something to offer for everyone,” said Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the CVB. “If you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun activity for the family, our museums are currently offering some incredible exhibits, and they’re working especially hard to ensure their facilities and events are kept as clean and safe as possible. Our hope is that through this History Month celebration, people will be inspired to revisit a favorite Huntsville museum or perhaps experience one they haven’t before.”
The Huntsville/Madison County CVB will also be sharing Huntsville history on the digital screen, inviting the public to share their favorite historical places and little-known historical facts on social media using the hashtag #HistoryHsv. Special trivia questions will be posted each week on the CVB’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels with the chance to win prizes.