After the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, General Andrew Jackson proposed this road as a shorter and improved route for military movements between Nashville and New Orleans. The U.S. War Department authorized Jackson to appoint an engineer and procure equipment on August 15, 1816 and Congress appropriated $5,000 to begin construction. The Military Road was built by about 300 American soldiers over a three-year period at a construction cost of $300,000. When completed on May 17, 1820, the new road was 483 miles long and 200 miles shorter than the old Natches Trace route. Crossing the Tennessee River at Florance, it entered Sheffield (first known as York Bluff) at "Jackson Hollow." The road then passed near Atlanta and Columbia Avenues as it moved southwest. The Military Road entered Tuscumbia on Dickson Street and passed near this site.
(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
From this location, the Military Road continues south and crossed Spring Creek, then ascended Colbert Mountain, and passed just west of present-day Littleville. It proceeded to good Spring in Franklin County, and on through Russellville. Jackson Highway (old U. S. No. 43), built in the 1920s, following the same basic route. The nearby single-pen hewn-log cabin is a vestige of Tuscumbia's pioneer period. It originally stood on the opposite side of the street and reputedly served as a stagecoach stop on the Military Road. Dickson Street was named for early Tuscumbia settler Michael Dickson. A U. S. Mail line was established and John Donley Sr. of Tuscumbia was given the contract for carrying the mail. Stagecoaches could travel the Military Road in 17 days and stands were built along the way to accommodate travelers. The road became the route over which pioneers poured into northwest Alabama and Mississippi.