Alabama Recreational Facilities
State of Alabama
Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.
Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie" and the "Cotton State". The state tree is the longleaf pine, and the state flower is the camellia. Alabama's capital is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized city; the largest city by land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.
From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many states in the southern U.S., suffered economic hardship, in part because of its continued dependence on agriculture. Similar to other former slave states, Alabamian legislators employed Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise and otherwise discriminate against African Americans from the end of the Reconstruction Era up until at least the 1970s. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated the state legislature from 1901 to the 1960s. During this time, urban interests and African Americans were markedly under-represented. Following World War II, Alabama grew as the state's economy changed from one primarily based on agriculture to one with diversified interests. The state's economy in the 21st century is based on management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology.
Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state on December 14, 1819, with Congress selecting Huntsville as the site for the first Constitutional Convention. From July 5 to August 2, 1819, delegates met to prepare the new state constitution. Huntsville served as temporary capital from 1819 to 1820, when the seat of government moved to Cahaba in Dallas County.
.Cahaba, now a ghost town, was the first permanent state capital from 1820 to 1825. Alabama Fever was underway when the state was admitted to the Union, with settlers and land speculators pouring into the state to take advantage of fertile land suitable for cotton cultivation. Part of the frontier in the 1820s and 1830s, its constitution provided for universal suffrage for white men.
Southeastern planters and traders from the Upper South brought slaves with them as the cotton plantations in Alabama expanded. The economy of the central Black Belt (named for its dark, productive soil) was built around large cotton plantations whose owners' wealth grew mainly from slave labor. The area also drew many poor, disfranchised people who became subsistence farmers. Alabama had an estimated population of under 10,000 people in 1810, but it increased to more than 300,000 people by 1830. Most Native American tribes were completely removed from the state within a few years of the passage of the Indian Removal Act by Congress in 1830.
From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as Alabama's capital. On January 30, 1846, the Alabama legislature announced it had voted to move the capital city from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. The first legislative session in the new capital met in December 1847. A new capitol building was erected under the direction of Stephen Decatur Button of Philadelphia. The first structure burned down in 1849, but was rebuilt on the same site in 1851. This second capitol building in Montgomery remains to the present day. It was designed by Barachias Holt of Exeter, Maine.
Alabama's slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in 1865. Alabama was under military rule from the end of the war in May 1865 until its official restoration to the Union in 1868. From 1867 to 1874, with most white citizens barred temporarily from voting and freedmen enfranchised, many African Americans emerged as political leaders in the state. Alabama was represented in Congress during this period by three African-American congressmen: Jeremiah Haralson, Benjamin S. Turner, and James T. Rapier.
Following the war, the state remained chiefly agricultural, with an economy tied to cotton. During Reconstruction, state legislators ratified a new state constitution in 1868 that created the state's first public school system and expanded women's rights. Legislators funded numerous public road and railroad projects, although these were plagued with allegations of fraud and misappropriation. Organized insurgent, resistance groups tried to suppress the freedmen and Republicans. Besides the short-lived original Ku Klux Klan, these included the Pale Faces, Knights of the White Camellia, Red Shirts, and the White League.
Reconstruction in Alabama ended in 1874, when the Democrats regained control of the legislature and governor's office through an election dominated by fraud and violence. They wrote another constitution in 1875, and the legislature passed the Blaine Amendment, prohibiting public money from being used to finance religious-affiliated schools. The same year, legislation was approved that called for racially segregated schools. Railroad passenger cars were segregated in 1891. After disfranchising most African Americans and many poor whites in the 1901 constitution, the Alabama legislature passed more Jim Crow laws at the beginning of the 20th century to impose segregation in everyday life.
In 1972, for the first time since 1901, the legislature completed the congressional redistricting based on the decennial census. This benefited the urban areas that had developed, as well as all in the population who had been underrepresented for more than 60 years. Other changes were made to implement representative state house and senate districts.
African Americans continued to press in the 1950s and 1960s to end disenfranchisement and segregation in the state through the civil rights movement, including legal challenges. In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that public schools had to be desegregated, but Alabama was slow to comply. During the 1960s, under Governor George Wallace, Alabama resisted compliance with federal demands for desegregation. The civil rights movement had notable events in Alabama, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–56), Freedom Rides in 1961, and 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. These contributed to Congressional passage and enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the U.S. Congress.
Alabama is the thirtieth-largest state in the United States with 52,419 square miles (135,760 km2) of total area: 3.2% of the area is water, making Alabama 23rd in the amount of surface water, also giving it the second-largest inland waterway system in the United States. About three-fifths of the land area is a gentle plain with a general descent towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The North Alabama region is mostly mountainous, with the Tennessee River cutting a large valley and creating numerous creeks, streams, rivers, mountains, and lakes.
Alabama is bordered by the states of Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama has coastline at the Gulf of Mexico, in the extreme southern edge of the state. The state ranges in elevation from sea level at Mobile Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast.
The highest point is Mount Cheaha, at a height of 2,413 ft (735 m). Alabama's land consists of 22 million acres (89,000 km2) of forest or 67% of total land area. Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast, is the largest county in the state in both land area and water area.
Areas in Alabama administered by the National Park Service include Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near Alexander City; Little River Canyon National Preserve near Fort Payne; Russell Cave National Monument in Bridgeport; Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee; and Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site near Tuskegee.
Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests: Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead. Alabama also contains the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail, and the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail. A notable natural wonder in Alabama is "Natural Bridge" rock, the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies, located just south of Haleyville.
A 5-mile (8 km)-wide meteorite impact crater is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the Wetumpka crater, the site of "Alabama's greatest natural disaster." A 1,000-foot (300 m)-wide meteorite hit the area about 80 million years ago. The hills just east of downtown Wetumpka showcase the eroded remains of the impact crater that was blasted into the bedrock, with the area labeled the Wetumpka crater or astrobleme ("star-wound") because of the concentric rings of fractures and zones of shattered rock that can be found beneath the surface. In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as the 157th recognized impact crater on Earth.
Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the U.S., with high temperatures averaging over 90 °F (32 °C) throughout the summer in some parts of the state. Alabama is also prone to tropical storms and even hurricanes. Areas of the state far away from the Gulf are not immune to the effects of the storms, which often dump tremendous amounts of rain as they move inland and weaken.
South Alabama reports many thunderstorms. The Gulf Coast, around Mobile Bay, averages between 70 and 80 days per year with thunder reported. This activity decreases somewhat further north in the state, but even the far north of the state reports thunder on about 60 days per year. Occasionally, thunderstorms are severe with frequent lightning and large hail; the central and northern parts of the state are most vulnerable to this type of storm. Alabama ranks ninth in the number of deaths from lightning and tenth in the number of deaths from lightning strikes per capita.
Alabama, along with Oklahoma, has the most reported EF5 tornadoes of any state, according to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center for the period January 1, 1950, to June 2013. Several long-tracked F5/EF5 tornadoes have contributed to Alabama reporting more tornado fatalities than any other state. The state was affected by the 1974 Super Outbreak and was devastated tremendously by the 2011 Super Outbreak. The 2011 Super Outbreak produced a record amount of tornadoes in the state. The tally reached 6.
The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama are: African (26.2%), English (23.6%), Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scots-Irish (2.0%).Those citing "American" ancestry in Alabama are generally of English or British ancestry; many Anglo-Americans identify as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in some cases since the 1600s. Demographers estimate that a minimum of 20–23% of people in Alabama are of predominantly English ancestry and that the figure is likely higher. In the 1980 census, 41% of the people in Alabama identified as being of English ancestry, making them the largest ethnic group at the time.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in 2008 showed that obesity in Alabama was a problem, with most counties having over 29% of adults obese, except for ten which had a rate between 26% and 29%. Residents of the state, along with those in five other states, were least likely in the nation to be physically active during leisure time. Alabama, and the southeastern U.S. in general, has one of the highest incidences of adult onset diabetes in the country, exceeding 10% of adults.
Alabama has no state minimum wage and uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25. In February 2016, the state passed legislation that prevents Alabama municipalities from raising the minimum wage in their locality. The legislation voids a Birmingham city ordinance that was to raise the city's minimum wage to $10.10.
As of 2018, Alabama has the sixth highest poverty rate among states in the U.S. In 2017, United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston toured parts of rural Alabama and observed environmental conditions that he said were poorer than anywhere he had seen in the developed world.
Alabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, depending upon the amount earned and filing status. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct their federal income taxfrom their Alabama state tax, and can do so even if taking the standard deduction. Taxpayers who file itemized deductions are also allowed to deduct the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (Social Security and Medicare tax).
Alabama's income tax on poor working families is among the highest in the United States. Alabama is the only state that levies income tax on a family of four with income as low as $4,600, which is barely one-quarter of the federal poverty line. Alabama's threshold is the lowest among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with income taxes.
The corporate income tax rate is currently 6.5%. The overall federal, state, and local tax burden in Alabama ranks the state as the second least tax-burdened state in the country. Property taxes are the lowest in the U.S. The current state constitution requires a voter referendum to raise property taxes.
Since Alabama's tax structure largely depends on consumer spending, it is subject to high variable budget structure. For example, in 2003, Alabama had an annual budget deficit as high as $670 million.
Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state, meaning that the state government holds a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the state. Twenty-five of the 67 counties are "dry counties" which ban the sale of alcohol, and there are many dry municipalities even in counties which permit alcohol sales.
Other Sites of Interest
San Marcos Memories—disappearing North County San Diego, Ca
Lake San Marcos—Listing of Vendors and Other Items of Interest to LSM residents
Silly Service—38 years of Federal Civil Service Overview (A book in progress)