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“You need to want to go there”

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park
Ranked #3 of 18 things to do in Selma
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Reviewed 19 May 2013 via mobile

As Civil War buffs, we wanted to see the site of Castle Morgan, a POW camp run by the Confederates. It was small in reference to others, but played a huge role in the Sultana disaster. It was advertised as an archeological site. It may be, but the ruins are almost gone with only a few small (and old decaying) signs to interpret the area. It is the first capital of Alabama, but without the handout guide, could be any overgrown wood lot in the state. It needs more financial support to become a first rate tourist stop.

1  Thank William V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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42 - 46 of 48 reviews

Reviewed 3 May 2013

Always enjoy the Haunted History Event at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. Guided tour is always interesting and they change it up a little each year. Ghost stories around the campfire are lots of fun, too.

Thank OldTownie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2013

we used to go there when I was a kid and have picnics, there were a couple of old houses still intact, I believe there is also a church that has been renovated, I have been told there was a prison there during the civil war. There is a lovely cemetery with a lot of history. I understand that the town flooded several times and had an outbreak of yellow fever at one time. This was the very first capital of Alabama but due to the flooding which recurred several times it was decided to move the capital. Most of the inhabitants fled and the houses some of which were quite grand I am told fell into decay. There is a small visitor center and historical display and an artesian well which you can drink from aside from that you have to have a vivid imagination and a love of history. The three columns of the Crocheron's mansion are still there and there used to be a small slave cottage I believe, at one time the Crocheron family was the wealthiest family in Old Cahawba and they owned a large brick store, and they also built large steam ships. In the old historic cemetery there is a rather large monument to Mr. Crocheron's wife and also a young child who died and were buried together. Also in order to finish this review it is making me put a date which is VERY frustrating, I have not visited Old Cahaba since the 1990's!!!!! I have to lie and say it was 2012 or not post this review! that needs to be addressed and changed!!!!!

1  Thank kimmycole2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2013

This state historic park is a largely undistrubed rural gem at the junction of the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers- about 20 miles from the Pettus Bridge into Selma, AL. www.cahawba.com. It is worth the trip if you like easy nature 'hiking,' canoeing, family biking (all flat & little traffic if any) picniking, or visiting historic sites. Visitor Center burned down (lightning) about 7 years ago and hasn't been replaced yet, so now the education/meeting building suffices. Evenso, plenty to see and learn for free.
Be sure to ask the park staff for a tour - you will enjoy and learn so much more than the self-tour. There are few large new signs but mostly small interpretive signs thru-out the park. You can drive to each one easily since the whole town was laid out and is still easy to navigate. There are picnic tables and walking paths, and even a handicap-accessible canoe launch/takeout. Group tours are welcome - they have an open touring wagon and charge a very minimal fee ($5? - for gas & maintenance of the vehicle). The park has multiple cultural and historic resources: a few historic cemeteries, three historic standing structures - including the Barker Slave House - built of bricks! and the +150 year old wood-frame St. Luke's Episcopal church (built in 1854) that was recently moved back to the park (it was moved from Cahawba in 1876!); lots of artesian wells and fountains, the structural and archaeological remains of many large plantation homes, private homes and businesses that were "the downtown" of Cahawba before and after it was the (first) state capital in 1819, and even the remains of a cotton warehouse that became a Civil War prison (outline of brick, lime & fragments are easily seen on the surface). They also have "cemetery/ghost" tours in the evenings during the Halloween season that are a big hit.
Being 20 miles from town and not having a 'real' visitor center, best to bring your own food if you get hungry. The park office offers a small cooler of water and drinks, but don't rely on them for any snacks or food. (Bring your own!)
You can see the place in an hour, but why rush? Plan to stay a little longer and enjoy being away from suburbia.. Note - There is limited cellphone service in this immediate area.
For directions and more info - www.cahawba.com

4  Thank 423TPag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2012

I have been to Old Cahawba many times and it has changed ... for the better over the years. It is a great place for educational tours and for people who just want to visit the site of what used to be Alabama's Capital. There is the foundation of a building that was a prison during The War, 1861-65, and you can see graves of Union soldiers. If you have not been take the time to visit Old Cahawba. It is worth the trip and the time. I much prefer it in the fall or spring. Summer is way too hot and since it is on the river a winter visit will be a "damp cold" one. If you are from Alabama go, and if you not from Alabama, go as it has much to offer.

2  Thank Yvonne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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