Monday, February 2, 2009
Mentone, Alabama - The Town on Lookout Mountain
One of the most picturesque communities in the South can be found just off Interstate 85 near Fort Payne, Alabama.
Named for a French community famed for its musical spring, Mentone is located on the Lookout Mountain Parkway. The beautiful scenic drive winds its way along the top of the mountain through some of the most spectacular country in the South.
The area is rich in folklore and history. Some believe that the Welsh explorer Prince Madoc came as far inland as Mentone in 1170 A.D. and built a fort at nearby DeSoto Falls. While the legend is questioned by most historians and archaeologists, it has persisted in this area of Alabama for many years.
In later years the Mentone site overlooked the Cherokee village of Wills Town, home of the famed Native American linguist Sequoyah. It was here that he invented the Cherokee Alphabet.
In 1863, the Union XX Corps crossed Lookout Mountain here during the Chickamauga Campaign. Cavalry forces also camped in the edge of town near DeSoto Falls.
The modern community came into existence during the 1880s. Noted in those days for its clear mineral springs, the site was selected as the location of a health resort. The beautiful old Mentone Springs Hotel began its existence as a health spa high on the mountain.
The town today is a quaint and colorful community, extremely popular with tourists during the spring, summer and fall and generally quiet during the winter. It offers dining, inns, unique shops and access to some of the most intriguing natural and historic sites in the region.
To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/mentone.