Florence Alabama is a city in and the county seat of Lauderdale County. Florence was surveyed for the Cypress Land Company in 1818 by Italian surveyor Ferdinand Sannoner, who named it after Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy. Florence, Alabama was incorporated in 1826.
Florence Alabama History
The area of present-day Lauderdale County and Florence was originally part of the Chickasaw Nation, which ceded its lands to the federal government in several treaties during the early nineteenth century. Shortly after the last Chickasaw treaty was signed, the federal government held the first land sale in the area. The Cypress Land Company purchased the land that Florence now occupies, anticipating that it would become a major commercial town because of its location on a hill overlooking the Tennessee River.
Florence Alabama Today
Florence is the largest and principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area known as “The Shoals” (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered northwestern Alabama’s primary economic hub.
Archeological evidence suggests that the first building burned at some point, and while no exact date of construction is known for the current building, construction of the one-and-a-half-story, eight-room, Federal-style structure began sometime in the 1830s or 1840s.
Sweetwater Mansion History
Sweetwater Mansion (also known as the Governor Robert Patton House), located in Florence, Alabama, is a plantation house designed by General John Brahan of the Alabama Militia. A veteran of the War of 1812, Brahan owned more than 4,000 acres in eastern Lauderdale County, Alabama. The eight room home was built of bricks manufactured on the site of Sweetwater Creek which lay just below the house. Sweetwater Mansion received its name from the creek and was first occupied by Brahan’s son-in-law Robert M. Patton, a post-Civil War governor of Alabama, who completed the mansion in 1835.
The mansion’s basement once served as a Civil War hospital and had also been a county jail. There are rumours of someone who once lived in one of the room upstairs who practiced dark magic but many believe this to be untrue.
On March 12, 1780, the Donelson Expedition, led by Captain John Donelson, camped below the shoals at McFarland Bottoms. The area was to become what is known today as McFarland Park and McFarland Bottoms or McFarland Bottoms Park. McFarland Park is located between the Tennessee River and downtown Florence Alabama and is a popular destination hosting festivals and special events. McFarland Park Campground Reservations
The campgrounds provide RV and tent camping with electrical and water connections, sewer hookups, waste stations, bathhouse and laundry facilities. Campgrounds are currently open year round. Our policy is first come first serve. There is no limit on the number of stays, only a limit on the maximum length of each stay (21 days). During the months of September through April there is no limit on the length of stay. For more information call (256) 760-6416 or (256) 740-8817.
Florence is the merger point for two major U.S. Highways, as well as several Alabama Highways. Both U.S. Highway 43 and U.S. Highway 72 merge just east of the city limits in Killen, and are co-signed their entire length through the city.
Highway 43, running north and south, helps connect the city to Lawrenceburg and Columbia to the north in Tennessee, as well as Tuscaloosa and Mobile to the south. Highway 72 helps connect the city to Huntsville and Chattanooga, Tennessee to the east and Memphis, Tennessee to the west.
Interstate 65 is accessible about forty-five minutes east on Highway 72. Both of these roads cross the Tenneessee River on O’Neal Bridge, connecting Florence to Sheffield.