The town of Gainesville was incorporated in 1838. It grew rapidly as a commercial center and cotton shipping port on the Tombigbee River. As trains replaced steamboats in commercial transportation, the town’s lack of rail connections contributed to its decline in the late 19th century. Take time to explore the many historic sites in this picturesque community, including antebellum homes; the coffin shop, one of the oldest commercial buildings in town; and the Gainesville Presbyterian Church, the oldest town building, dating to 1837. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church exemplifies the Carpenter Gothic Style, with original stained-glass windows. Near the intersection of AL39 and AL 116 is the Forest Monument, where Confederate Calvary General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his troops were paroled. Just behind is a gun replacement used to guard the river from Union gunboats. The Old Cemetery or “Confederate Cemetery”, contains graves of the town’s earliest settlers and more than 200 unknown Confederate and Union soldiers. The pictures that are provided show some of the attractions that are in Gainesville.
Gainesville Historic District is on the List of Registered Historic Places in Sumter County. There are many picturesque sites, antebellum homes and numerous shops. The churches and many monuments are all something to see in Gainesville.
The University of West Alabama’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt and Regional Development Center (205) 652-3752 OR (205) 652-3424
Nearest Highways: AL 14 and AL 39
Visit the Rural Southwest Alabama’s website (photos courtesy of the same) for additional photos and GPS coordinates of the various homes.
Gainesville is located on State Highway 39 on the north edge of Sumter County.
Source: UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt and Regional Development Center