Alabama, which became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819 is located in the southern United States and nicknamed the “Heart of Dixie.” The state played a key role in the American Civil War; its capital, Montgomery, was the Confederacy’s first capital. For you fans of Alabama (the state, not the bad) here are 15 Amazing Facts about Alabama.
1. It is a Class-B felony in Alabama to Wrestle a Bear
It is illegal in Alabama to sell, purchase, possess, or train a bear for bear wrestling. Bear wrestling matches used to be a pretty big deal in Alabama. They were so popular that the state of Alabama added a law under Section 13A-12-5 about “bear exploitation” that explicitly forbids people from engaging in bear wrestling matches. A Class B felony, is the same as being charged with manslaughter, so this is a big deal.
2. Alabama is the only state in the U.S. to have an alcoholic beverage as its official drink
The Conecuh Ridge Whiskey (officially called “Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey”) is a high-quality aged moonshine whiskey from Conecuh Ridge Distillery Inc. It was designated the official “State Spirit” of Alabama by legislative resolution in 2004.
3. Alabama does not have an officially-recognized nickname
Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer state after the state bird, the Heart of Dixie, and the Cotton State, but it has not designated an official nickname. To make up for that, here are the nicknames of Alabama’s four largest cities: Birmingham, The Magic City or The Steel City; Huntsville, The Rocket City; Mobile, The Azalea City or Home of Mardi Gras; Montgomery, The Cradle of the Confederacy.
4. Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday
In 1836 Alabama declared Christmas a legal holiday. The federal government eventually followed suit and declared December 25 a public holiday in 1870.
5. Alabama is home to the Tree That Owns Itself
Yes, there is indeed a tree that owns itself. In Athens, Georgia, a white oak in itself and the land it stands on. William Henry Jackson deeded ownership to the tree in the early 1800s. Apparently Jackson’s fondness for the tree was born of positive childhood memories and nostalgia and he wanted to do right by the tree.
6. The first rocket that sent man to the moon was designed in Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama, which is the home of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, is called the Rocket Capital of the World. TheThe Saturn V, the rocket that sent man to the moon, was designed in Huntsville.
7. Alabama is the only state where all three ingredients needed to make iron and steel can be found in close proximity to each other
Alabama is the only state that has the ability to produce iron and steel with its own natural resources. Alabama is the only place in the world where all three ingredients needed to make steel can be found in close proximity to each other. Known as the steel city, Birmingham is the only place in the world where all the ingredients for steel are found in the same place. Alabama is the only state with all major natural resources needed to make iron and steel.
8. The Alabama state constitution is the longest of any of the 50 states
With over 300,000 words, Alabama beats out all other states for the longest state constitution. For comparison, keep in mind that the United States Constitution only contains 4,543 words. The shortest is the Constitution of Vermont, which sits at 8,295 words long.
9. The first 911 call in the United States was made in Alabama
On February 16, 1968, in Haleyville Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite called U.S. Representative Tom Bevill at the local police station. The red phone Fite used is still on display in City Hall.
10. Windshield wipers were invented in Alabama
In the winter of 1903, Alabaman Mary Anderson visited New York and while in a streetcar she watched how the motorman had to leave the vehicle and wipe the snow and sleet from the windshield. As a solution, Anderson came up with the idea for a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that the driver could use inside the vehicle. Anderson received a patent for her car-window cleaning device but never sold her idea. However, by 1913 mechanical wipers became standard features on American cars.
11. Mobile, Alabama used to be the capital of Louisiana
Mobile was first founded as the capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702 as part of New France. The city has passed from the French, to the British, then the Spanish, and finally to the Americans, spanning 160 years, up to the Civil War. Mobile finally became part of Alabama on December 14, 1819.
12. Alabama was actually the first place to celebrate Mardi Gras
New Orleans has a well publicized history with Mardi Gras, but the first celebration actually took place in Mobile, Alabama. According to the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the city’s first Mardi Gras celebration was in 1703, just a year after the city was founded (fifteen years before New Orleans was founded).
13. You can go from Alabama to the Great Lakes entirely via boat
For those so inclined, it is possible to travel from the Port of Mobile to the Great Lakes entirely via boat. You could take inland waterways roughly 1,300 miles through a variety of waterways and locks to find yourself in Chicago.
14. Dotham Alabama is the “Peanut Capital of the World”
About 50% of the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama. Alabama has about 900 peanut farmers and is the 3rd largest producer of peanuts in the U.S.
15. The American Civil War started in Alabama
Alabama was a huge part of the Civil War, but not only that, is more or less started in Alabama. The telegram that started the Civil War was sent out of Montgomery to General Beauregard from Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker and read:
“Do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the meantime he will not use his guns against us unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are thus authorized to avoid the effusion of blood. If this or its equivalent be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be most practicable. L. P. Walker, Sec. of War. C.S.A.”
Now that you know a few fun facts about Alabama, try reading about these fun facts about Seattle.