Alabama: 20 Interesting Facts About The Yellowhammer State

What do you know about the US State of Alabama? There’s probably a lot that you don’t know about the 22nd state that became part of the United States of America in 1819, but my aim is to change that with this post.

Here are 20 Interesting Facts You Might Not Have Known About Alabama

1. Montgomery is the state capital

This city (which is located next to the Alabama river) was incorporated in 1819 and it became the capital of the state in 1846. It was the capital of the Confederate States of America (when Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Louisiana seced from the USA).

Montgomery, Alabama

2. Birmingham is the biggest city in Alabama

This city was incorporated in 1871. Today the city has an estimated population of 212,000. More than 1.1 million people live in the metropolitan area though.

3. Alabama is bordered by 4 States

Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia share borders with the state that is also reffered to as the “Cotton State”.

4. The state used to be covered in grassland

Originally more than half of the state was covered in grasslands, wetlands and open grassy woodlands. Once the early European settlers arrived, they cut down the trees and burnt off the grass to turn it into farmland. Only 1% of the state is made up of prairie land today.

5.  Alabama is home to the largest cast-iron statue in the world

The statue of the Roman god of fire and forge, Vulcan is 56 feet (17 metres) tall. It was constructed by the city of Birmingham in 1904. It won the grand prize at the World’s Fair (in St. Louis) in that year. It now rests on a 123 foot (37 metre) pedestal in Vulcan Park, Birmingham. It weighs 120,000 pounds (43,359 kilograms).

Vulcan Park Statue, Alabama

6. The first civil aviation school in the United States was opened here

This school was opened by the Orville & Wilbur Wright on the site of an old cotton plantation on the outskirts of Montgomery in 1910. Maxwell Air Force Base now stands where the school used to be.

7. The first operational windshield wipers were invented in Alabama

Mary Anderson was credited for the invention back in 1903. She tried to sell her patented invention to a number of companies, but they rejected the idea as they thought they would be too distracting to drivers.

8. The Black Pearl was built in this state

The ship was one of the pirate ships featured in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. It was built in a shipyard in Bayou La Batre and was used in the 2nd and 3rd films in the franchise.

9. There really is a place called Sweet Home in Alabama

It’s not a town. It’s actually house in the town of Bessemer. It was built in 1906 for the town’s first undertaker.

Sweet Home, Alabama

10. Gigantic Sloths once roamed Alabama

Bones of the Megalonyx jeffersonii and Paramylodon harlani that lived during the Ice Age have been found here. They could grow up to 9 feet (2,74 metres) tall and weigh more than two tons.

11. Alabama has some interesting laws…

The state has really weird laws. Putting salt on a railroad track can be punishable by death. It’s illegal to impersonate a priest, to wear a fake moustache in church and to put an ice cream cone in your back pocket. Bear wrestling matches are illegal and it’s also illegal for someone to drive while blindfolded in this state.

12. Some great blockbuster movies have been filmed in Alabama

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), The Final Destination (2009) and Big Fish (2003) are on the list of films that have been filmed in this state.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

13. Some really famous musicians were born here

It’s the birthplace of Hank Williams, Lionel Ritchie, Nat King Cole, Tammy Wynette, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Dinah Washington and Yelawolf. Alabama, Alabama Shakes, Remy Zero (who played the theme song to Smallville) and Commodores are bands / groups that were formed in Alabama.

14. Alabama is the only state to have an alcoholic beverage as its official drink

Conecuh Ridge Whiskey was originally produced illegally during the mid to late 20th century. The brand was legalized by the moonshiner’s son Kenny May.

15. The state is the home of the largest fishing tournament in the world

The tournament is called the Deep-Sea Fishing Rodoe and it’s held on Dauphin Island. The event attracts 75,000 spectators annually.

16. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Alabama was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celcius)

The temperature was recorded in Centreville (a town about an hour away from Montgomery) in September 1925.

17. Alabama has the longest state constitution in the world

The 1908 constitution is more than 300,000 words long. It’s also the most-ammended constitution in the world (with 775 ammendments to date).

18. The RSA Battle House Tower is the state’s tallest building

The building is in the city of Mobile. It has 35 stories and is 745 feet (227 metres) tall. It was built in 2007.

RSA Battle House Tower, Mobile, Alabama

19. Rickwood Field is the oldest baseball park in the USA

The baseball park is located in Birmingham. It was opened in 1910 and has hosted baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, Willie Mays and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

20. It’s birthplace of some famous actors and actresses

Channing Tatum, Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset in Orange Is The New Black)Courtney Cox (Monica Geller in Friends), Clayne Crawford (Riggs in the Lethal Weapon TV series), Lucas Black (Special Agent Christopher LaSalle in NCIS: New Orleans), Felicia Day, Michael Biehn (Sarah Connor‘s protector in The Terminator) and Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) were all born in Alabama.

Well, there you have it, 20 Interesting Facts that you might not have known about Alabama. If I missed something important, feel free to leave a comment below.

Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

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