St. Stephens was the eastern most city of the Mississippi Territory and a very important site during the settlement of the southwestern frontier. During a brief three decades beginning in the 1790’s, St. Stephens became a Spanish Fort, an American trading post, and Mississippi territorial capital as settlers streamed down the Federal Road from the Carolinas and Georgia. At its height, c. 1820, the town boasted between two and three thousand residents and 450 substantial buildings. Upon Mississippi gaining statehood in 1817, Alabama became its own territory and St. Stephens its capital. Alabama’s first Governor, William Wyatt Bibb, presided over the first meeting of the Territorial Legislature at the Douglass Hotel on St. Stephens’ High Street. From here was the beginning of Alabama. St. Stephens declined rapidly to a ghost town after the capital was moved away in 1819.
On this site today is located the St. Stephens Historical Park. The park offers many recreational activities available for visitors, including fishing, RV camping, primitive camping, biking, bird watching, sightseeing, picnicking, and hiking. A 100-acre quarry lake provides visitors with a fine place to swim, fish, boat, and relax. Take a hike through the woods to view the town ruins, or cool off on the sugar-white beach on an aquamarine lake. There is a boat ramp available to those who want to fish, or who just want to enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the water. Bird watchers will want to make sure they bring their binoculars and cameras! The park is a featured site on Alabama Birding Trails.
This park is located approximately two miles northwest of St. Stephens, AL on the Tombigbee River (GPS Coordinates 31.555730, -88.037452).
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