Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Who knew?

I didn't know that the very first electric trolley system in the entire world was in Montgomery, Alabama. It officially opened in 1886.

Below is a shot from Dexter Ave and the Capital in Montgomery, AL.  It was taken  in the mid-1880's.

I didn't know that Alabama workers built the first rocket to put humans on the moon.

Dr. Wernher von Braun arrived in 1950 in the tiny Alabama town which called itself the “Watercress Capital of the World”.   At that time, Huntsville boasted a population of 15,000. Today, it is forever known in history as the place where America’s space program was born. It is forever known as the place where the rockets were developed that put the first U.S. satellite into orbit and sent men to the moon.  It is also known as the place where the power for today’s space shuttle was developed & where the modules for the International Space Station were designed and built.  It is also known as the city where America’s next great ship – the Space Launch System – is currently being designed.
While Dr. Von Braun and his team of scientists were refining the giant rocket that sent Apollo astronauts to the moon, he was also preparing to launch another important project, a permanent exhibit to showcase the hardware of the space program. Von Braun was director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville when he approached the Alabama Legislature with the idea of creating a museum jointly with the U.S. Army Missile Command and NASA. After Alabama lawmakers and its citizens voted in 1968 to finance construction, the U.S. Army donated land on its Redstone Arsenal, which is also the site of the sprawling NASA center, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® was born.
Dr. Von Braun is also responsible for the design of the circular space station.  Below is a picture of him and his design.

I didn't know that a skeleton of a prehistoric man was found in Russell cave in Russellville, AL
The first excavation here was in 1953.  Since that time, it has been thought that the cave was used in winter by people who in warmer months moved to villages along the Tennessee River. But the evidence is not conclusive, and it seems likely that some groups used it as a permanent home, perhaps for years at a time. Others did use it as winter quarters, while for year-round nomads it was simply a convenient stopover.
The archeological evidence does indicate that in the 1,000 years before European contact in the 16th century, the cave was used primarily as a hunting camp. Most groups inhabiting the cave would probably have numbered no more than 15 to 30-their size limited by the need for mobility and by how many people the land could sustain. They were likely extended families or several related families.
Certainly some groups would have used the cave year after year, but varying styles of spear and arrow points tell us that it was inhabited by different bands. Twenty-four burials have been found in the cave, ranging from an infant to a 40- to 50- year-old woman. From the remains it appears that these people were short and muscular. In appearance that probably resembled the peoples Europeans first encountered in the 16th century.

Alabama is a state full of beauty, grace and history.  There is always something to discover here!