TWICKENHAM HISTORIC DISTRICT
In 1971, the City of Huntsville adopted an ordinance that allowed for the creation of historic districts. Twickenham was Huntsville’s first Historic Preservation District, designated by the city in 1972.
The name Twickenham was the first official name given to the town in 1810, and it rapidly flourished becoming the largest in the Alabama Territory by 1819. By the mid 19th century it had become the cotton-trading center of the Tennessee Valley. Early merchants, bankers and attorneys built fashionable impressive town homes, many of which were seized during the Civil War in 1862-1865 by the Union Army. Thus, the Twickenham Historic District has the state’s largest collection of pre-Civil War homes.
This District is a living museum of American architectural styles dating from 1814, and it encompasses about one-half of the original town of Twickenham. Styles in this neighborhood range from Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Bungalow to post-war homes and it is graced by more than 65 antebellum homes.
OLD TOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT
Designated by the City of Huntsville in 1974 as a Historic Preservation District Old Town contains houses dating from 1828 onward, with the majority dating from 1880 to 1929. The western half of what is now Old Town was incorporated into the city in 1843.
Growth was encouraged because the area was within walking distance of downtown Huntsville, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad depot and the City’s first cotton mill on Jefferson Street. In 1866, the east part of Old Town was incorporated into the City and by 1892 Dallas Mill had located just north of Old Town, which further stimulated development. Merchants and professional people settled the Old Town area. The structures built during this time were predominately Victorian in style, and have one and two-story frame construction. Notably, Old Town is the only complete section of Huntsville that displays a true Victorian character.
This area continued to grow during the early years of the 20th Century, though the Victorian building style now had to compete with Colonial Revival and the Bungalows that were particularly prevalent during the 1920s and 30s.
FIVE POINTS HISTORIC DISTRICT
Five Points is Huntsville’s newest Historic Preservation District, established in 1999. Initially part of the 1892 East Huntsville Addition, it developed slowly over the course of a century. This neighborhood’s significance lies in its illustration of the evolution of middle-class housing in 20th century Huntsville, rather than a concentration of one period. The dwellings include a collection of modest one and two-story vernacular Victorian homes, a variety of Bungalows that experienced great popularity in the 1920’s and 30’s, modest Cape Cods, which were then succeeded by the Ranch style so fashionable in the 50’s and 60’s.
The East Huntsville Addition was the first true suburb in Huntsville, made feasible by the construction of a streetcar line, which allowed working people to live farther than walking distance from jobs and shopping without owning an automobile. The neighborhood still retains its 19th century grid layout of broad, parallel streets, narrow but deep lots, and rear service alleys, which permit pedestrian-oriented streets.
This area was annexed into the City in 1925.
ALABAMA A & M UNIVERSITY HISTORIC DISTRICT
Not all historic districts in our area are primarily residential neighborhoods. Alabama A & M University is a major educational institution in Madison County and is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage, the National Register of Historic Places, and is a locally designated Historic Preservation District.
A & M, originally known as the Colored Normal School at Huntsville, was chartered by the Legislature in 1873, serving as a teacher’s training school for black students. In 1891 the name was changed to the State Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes, and had moved from its location in a house on West Clinton Street in Huntsville to its present location in the northeastern part of the City. In 1932 the school became an accredited junior college and in 1939 became a four-year college. In 1949 the name changed to Alabama A & M College, and in 1969 University status was achieved.
Most of the historic buildings on the campus were constructed during 1927-1962, however there are some structures that remain from the turn of the century.