Named for the O’Neal family which produced two Alabama governors and for seminary, the street on which the Synodical Female College was located, the Seminary – O’Neal Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Built between 1908 and 1943, the houses in the district reflect the variety of architectural styles of those years. Two Sears – Roebuck houses, called “American Four-Square”, add interest and distinction. The district opens onto the impressive campus of the University of North Alabama.
This “double-pile cottage” is a rare Alabama example of Tidewater architecture that originated along the Southern seaboard during the colonial period. This house was built in 1833 by Thomas J. Crowe, proprietor of the early National Hotel in Florence, as a wedding gift for his bride, Elizabeth Hooks of Tennessee. It later became the home of Richard Oric Pickett, who arrived in 1843 to become one of the town’s leading attorneys. Pickett was Colonel of the 10th Alabama Infantry under General Philip Roddey, called the “Defender of North Alabama” during the Civil War.
Built by Andrew Jackson, 1816-1820. Shortened by 200 miles the route from Nashville to New Orleans for movement of supply wagons and artillery. Built with U.S. funds and troops. Followed in part Doublehead’s Road from Columbia, Tenn., to Muscle Shoals. After 1819 mail route was transferred from Natchez Trace to pass through Florence via Military Road. A portion of Hood’s army followed the road to Franklin and Nashville in 1864. In later years called Jackson Highway.
The great engineering genius of the Panama Canal lived at this site from 1888 until 1907. As a young lieutenant, Goethals was sent to Florence to speed up the work on the Muscle Shoals Canal Project which effectively bypassed the serious river impediment known as the Muscle Shoals. His successful accomplishments here were considered as an apprenticeship that led to his renowned work in the building of the Panama Canal (1908-1914). Goethals later remarked that his work on the Muscle Shoals Canal loomed far larger in his memory than the canal in Panama.
Chartered 1856 as Florence Wesleyan University, R.H. Rivers, President. Regarded as North Alabama’s most eminent landmark, this Gothic Revival structure was designed by Adolphus Heiman, Nashville, and built by Zebulon Pike Morrison, Florence, as new home for LaGrange College (organized 1830 by Methodists). Used by both armies at various times during Civil War. Deeded to State of Alabama, 1872, as first coeducational teacher training institution south of Ohio river. School expanded to become University of North Alabama in 1974. Listed: National Register of Historic Places