Friday, August 31, 2007

Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad State Historic Trail

The Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad State Historic Trail stretches from Tallahassee to St. Marks in the "Big Bend" region of Florida.

The trail is a paved walkway/bikeway that follows the route of the historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad. The railroad was the first to be chartered in Florida and the second to be completed (the oldest was the short-lived line at St. Joseph (today's Port St. Joe). Cars on the line were originally pulled by horses and mules, but locomotives quickly came into use and the railroad remained an important fixture on the landscape of Leon and Wakulla Counties well into the 20th century.

In March of 1865, the railroad proved vital when Union troops landed at the St. Marks Lighthouse and began to march inland. Confederate commanders were able to use the railroad to move troops quickly to to the front and as a result were able to get more men on the ground than the attacking Federals. This advantage played a critical role in the Confederate victory at the Battle of Natural Bridge on March 6, 1864. This victory preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not taken by Union forces during the war and also saved Thomasville, Georgia from a planned raid.

For more information on the Battle of Natural Bridge and other sites in the area, please visit our Natural Bridge pages at

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Robbers Cave State Park - Oklahoma

Robbers Cave State Park is one of my favorite places in the South. Located near the town of Wilburton in eastern Oklahoma (about an hour or so southwest of Fort Smith, Arkansas), the park is nestled in the beautiful Sans Bois Mountains.

Noted for its scenic beauty, the park has a lake, bluffs, caves, unusual rock formations and more. It is a popular place for sightseeing, hiking, picnicking, camping, swimming and more. The park also offers cabins, a lodge, a restaurant and more.

For history buffs, though, Robbers Cave State Park offers a chance to explore a little of the history of the Old West. The caves and ravines in the park were said to be hideouts for a number of notorious outlaws during the "gunfighter" days following the Civil War. Among the names linked with the park are those of Jesse James and Belle Starr. James, Starr and other outlaws are said to have used the park area as a hideout to avoid capture by Deputy U.S. Marshals hoping to bring them to justice at the court of "Hanging Judge" Isaac C. Parker in Fort Smith.

It is worth noting that in the main cave at the park can be seen a carving dating from 1877, the ideal time for the area to have been used by "Old West" outlaws.

To see more photographs and learn more about Robbers Cave State Park, please visit our Robbers Cave pages at:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alabama

The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alabama was one of the most significant military encounters in American history. Fought on March 27, 1814, the battle was the final major engagement of the Creek War of 1813-1814 and one of the most convincing American victories of the War of 1812.

The Creek War was an outgrowth of a civil war that had erupted among the Creek Nation in Alabama and Georgia. A branch of the nation, called the "Red Sticks" or "Red Clubs," became devoted followers of a religious movement headed by the Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwatawa. Led by the Alabama Prophet, Josiah Francis or Hillis Hadjo, the Red Sticks opened a war against the so-called "White Party" of the Creeks, led by the traditional leader of the nation, Big Warrior.

The war spilled over after a party of white militia attacked a Red Stick party carrying ammunition back to the nation from Pensacola at Burnt Corn Creek, Alabama, during the summer of 1813. The Red Sticks responded by attacking and capturing Fort Mims, a frontier stockade north of Mobile and killing hundreds of the men, women and children in the fort.

The Fort Mims attack outraged the frontier and U.S. armies advanced on the Red Sticks from three directions. The principal of these, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, pushed south into the Creek heartland fighting four major battles during the winter of 1813-1814. Jackson finally attacked the primary Red Stick stronghold at Tohopeka or "Horseshoe Bend" on March 27, 1814.

The Creeks had fortified the bend by erecting a strong wall across the narrow neck of land created by the looping course of the Tallapoosa River. The wall proved impervious to artillery fire from Jackson's army. The stalemate was broken when a party of Cherokee and "White Party" Creek warriors swam the river behind the Red Stick battlelines and brought back canoes to allow a force to attack the barricade from the rear.

When Jackson heard the sounds of this attack, he ordered his main army to charge and storm the barricade. Led by the 39th U.S. Infantry, the troops stormed forward in a bloody attack that forever broke the power of the Creek Nation in Alabama.

To learn more about the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and to experience an online tour of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, please visit our Horseshoe Bend pages at:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Petit Jean State Park - Arkansas

The view it right is from the point of Petit Jean Mountain at Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas. This is the oldest state park in Arkansas and also one of the most beautiful.
In addition to the spectacular views from the mountain, Petit Jean also is noted for Cedar Falls, a magnificent year-round waterfall. Visitors also find unsual rock formations, beautiful scenery, outstanding hiking trails, a rock shelter noted for its centuries old Native American paintings as wall as campgrounds, picnic areas, cabins and a lodge.
The area is rich in history and is noted as the focal point for the "Legend of Petit Jean," one of the state's best known and favorite ghost stories and legends. To learn more about Petit Jean State Park and Petit Jean Mountain, please visit our Petit Jean pages at:

Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas

The Massard Prairie Battlefield Park in Fort Smith is one of the newest preserved Civil War sites in Arkansas. Saved by the joint efforts of the City of Fort Smith, local citizens and local developers, the battlefield park protects key areas of the July 27, 1864, Battle of Massard Prairie.
The battle took place with Confederate troops, commanded by Gen. R.M. Gano, stormed the camp of a battalion of the 6th Kansas Cavalry in a stunning sunrise attack. Gano's commanding officer described the battle as a "dashing and gallant affair." The Confederates captured more than 100 Union soldiers, while killing and wounding numerous others in a fight that stretched for two miles across Massard Prairie, a large brushy grassland just outside of the 1864 city of Fort Smith.
The Prairie today is within the city limits and much of it has been developed for residential, commercial and industrial use (the Fort Smith Regional Airport is constructed on part of the original prairie). The battlefield park, however, preserves the site of the camp of the 6th Kansas where much of the heaviest fighting took place.
For more information, please visit our special section on the Battle of Massard Prairie at:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Povert Point State Historic Site - Louisiana

Located in northeastern Louisiana near Lake Providence, Poverty Point is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in America. More than 2,000 years ago, Native Americans built a massive ceremonial and trading center here. The site is particularly spectacular because it includes a series of massive semi-circles the form a giant design that can be seen only from the air.

To learn more about Poverty Point, please visit our new Poverty Point pages by going to:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Little River Canyon - Alabama

Our new pages on Little River Canyon and DeSoto State Park and Falls in Alabama are now online.

Located near Fort Payne, between Birmingham and Chattanooga, this is one of the most picturesque areas of the south. The canyon is a national preserve, complete with waterfalls, rapids, stunning bluffs and beautiful Lookout Mountain scenery. DeSoto State Park is within the limits of the Little River Canyon National Preserve and includes dramatic scenery, hiking trails, a motel, cabins and many other amenities. Plus DeSoto Falls, a beautiful year-round waterfall that plunges more than 100-feet into a spectacular canyon, can be seen.