Old Tavern Stage Stop on the Byler Road -- Tuscaloosa AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 33° 12.496 W 087° 34.428
16S E 446524 N 3674521
Quick Description: The Old Tavern near the Old State Capitol in Tuscaloosa, was an important stage stop on the Byler Road, an early Alabama wagon road.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 8/23/2017 3:05:44 PM
Waymark Code: WMWEJ7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cosninocanines
Views: 3

Long Description:
The Byler Road was commissioned by the state of Alabama in 1819, the same year Alabama was admitted to the Union. The road connected Tuscaloosa (on the Black Warrior River) with Courtland AL (on the Tennessee River. Tuscaloosa was an important fording spot on the Black Warrior River. Source: (visit link)

Tuscaloosa was the second State Capital of Alabama, serving as such from 1826 to 1846. The waymarked tavern was a stop on the stage route that followed Byler Road, and connected with the Natchez Trace. Source: (visit link)

In 1847 the State Capital was moved to Montgomery, but both the University of Alabama and the Alabama Female College were educating students in Tuscaloosa, and so Tuscaloosa remained an economically viable place despite the loss of the capital.

From Rickey Butch's Blog, some history of the Byler Road: (visit link)

Byler Road

The Byler Road ran through the western portion of the Warrior Mountains from the Tennessee River to Tuscaloosa. The Byler Road was one of the first roads authorized by the Alabama State Legislature. The road was approved two days after Alabama was admitted into the Union of the United States of America on December 14, 1819. The road was named after John Byler, who is buried in Rock Springs Cemetery at Mt. Hope in Lawrence County, Alabama.

The road ran from Bainbridge Ferry on the Tennessee River, across the western border of Lawrence County, and into the Warrior Mountains of present day Bankhead National Forest. The road went southward to the falls of the Tuscaloosa River and basically ran the divide between the Tombigbee and Warrior River drainages. The road followed the basic route of the Old Buffalo Trail, which was a north-south route for the Creeks and Choctaws to the French Lick (Nashville).

The mountainous part of the route between the upper portion of Bear Creek and Sipsey River drainages of Lawrence County was along the same route laid out by Captain Edmund Pendleton Gaines on July 31, 1807. The area was part of the Cherokee and Chickasaw territories. According to an early map of Lawrence County, William McCain, son-in-law of John Byler, ran a toll gate on the Byler Road near its junction with the Northwest Road. The toll gate was located in the Southeast quarter of Section 18 of Township 8 South and Range 9 West.

The Moulton Fork of the Byler Road ran from Moulton, skirting the edge of the mountains through Youngtown, and up to the mountain at McClung Gap. The two Byler Roads joined at a site known as the 66 mile tree which was located about one-half mile west of the junction of the High Town Path and the Moulton Fork in the southwest one-quarter of Section 33 of Township 7 South and Range 9 West. The 66 mile tree was thought to be a designated tree at the forks of the two roads. The total distance, from the beginning of the Byler Road of the Byler Road at Bainbridge Ferry on the Tennessee River, and the beginning of the Byler Road Fork beginning at Moulton, to their junction on top of Continental Divide south of Mt. Hope, was supposedly marked on a tree designating the 66 miles of the Byler Roads north from that point.

Since prehistoric Indian times, the portion of Byler Road between Poplar Springs Cemetery and Aunt Jenny Brook’s home place was utilized as a trail or route from prehistoric Indian times. This particular portion of the Byler Road was previously designated using various names; the High Town Path, the Old Buffalo Trail, and Doublehead's Trace. The road was also the tribal boundary of the Creeks, Cherokees, and Chickasaws.

During the Civil War, Union troops of Northern Aggression under the command of Colonel Abel Streight were attacked on the Byler Road near Aunt Jenny’s place. In addition, Union General G.M. Dodge’s scouting part utilized the Byler Road in the Spring of 1864. Later in March, 1865, one division of Union General J. H. Wilson’s cavalry of 13,480 horseman passed down the Byler Road in route to Tuscaloosa and the Battle of Selma. General Winslow's division passed along the Byler Road through Lawrence County and stayed the night at David Hubbard’s Plantation located at Kinlock."

From the Winston Co AL historical society: (visit link)

"Byler Road Memories

From The Advertiser-Journal, June 17 & 22, 1937; The Winston Herald, May 21, 1937

Residents of Walker, Winston, and Fayette Counties have appointed committees from the respective territories to form plans for reclaiming the 38-mile link of the Byler Turnpike between Haleyville and Bankston.

The committees were formed following a mass meeting held at Eldridge at which prominent speakers discussed the history of the road from early days to the present. The speakers included Judge L.G. Garrison, of Jasper; Judge F.M. Johnson, of Double Springs; J.D. Patton, Eldridge; H.P. Simms, Eldridge; Lee Kelley, Fayette; G.B. Harbin and B.W. Thorogood, postmaster at Eldridge. County committees are: Walker County, Judge L.G. Garrison, J.R. White, J.A. Kelley, E.C. Ellson, and B.W. Thorogood; Winston, Judge F.M. Johnson, C.F. Watts, H.T. Harris, Dr. L.L. Armstrong, and L.L. Dodd; Fayette, Judge Moore, Lynn Baker, Herchel Devers, A.A. Fowler, and Mr. Simpson.

"Uncle" George Bonner, of Eldridge, is ninety-two years old and has lived in Eldridge for 78 years. He particularly remembers the history of the Byler Road, especially the portion from Haleyville to Bankston. He recalls the taverns, the toll gates, the horse blocks, stage coach, and the hog and cattle drovers that existed before the age of railroads and paved highways. The road began at Bainsbridge on the Tennessee and ran directly on a high dry route southward to Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior. Its construction was authorized by the first Legislature of the State of Alabama. Mr. Bonner thinks the state should show honor to the builders of this road by rebuilding the part from Haleyville to Bankston, where it would join a good state highway to Tuscaloosa.

We think this project should be actively talked up and its building urged. The main street of Haleyville was a part of the old Byler Road. It extends northeast for perhaps fifty miles without crossing a creek. It divides the waters of the Tennessee and the Black Warrior. Our Eldridge friends are much in earnest about it. So far, there has been little effort made to get our town behind it. We wish our friends south would come and tell us more about it.

It was completed in 1823 or one hundred and fourteen years ago. Mr. Bonner when a young man conversed with two of the men who supervised cutting the right-of-way. The road had to be twelve feet in width at all points, all non-fordable streams were bridged, and all stumps removed. Having very poor facilities for either felling the trees or removing the stumps, the supervisors explained that when they came to unusually large trees they just made a crook in the road. When the right-of-way was completed at Tuscaloosa, an elaborate program, barbecue, and general jubilee was held to celebrate the great day. The state’s first highway was becoming a visible possibility.

"You just tell them that I said I think they owe the original builders that much honor," said Mr. Bonner. "Then the road they built should be an honor to the county, to the state, and to the nation."

Many people agree that he is right in these statements and all hope that Mr. Bonner will live long past the paying of the "honor" debt, that where he once drove an ox team struggling along the mire, he will ride in a modern automobile over a modern hard-surfaced road, where once was only the old tavern on the road and camp springs under the hill, but where now is a thriving village, a village whose people, like he, delights in the glory of the past, and yet look forward toward a better tomorrow."

The Old Tavern, built in 1827, served as a tavern, inn, and political gathering place during the Capital City Years, and afterwards, as a stage stop and local tavern. The Old Tavern was moved in the 1960s to this site at Old Capitol park, features a historic marker that reads as follows:

"OLD TAVERN

Built in 1827 three blocks east on Broad Street.

Stage stop and in frequented by many political leaders while Tuscaloosa was State Capital.

Moved to Capitol Park, 1966.

Alabama historical Association 1968"
Road of Trail Name: Byler Road

State: AL

County: Tuscaloosa County AL

Historical Significance:
Stage stop near the southernmost fording point of the Black Warrior River on the Byler Road, the first state-commissioned public road in AL


Years in use: 1823-ca 1870

How you discovered it:
researching this waymark


Book on Wagon Road or Trial:
Not on the Byler road specifically


Website Explination:
http://rickeybutchwalker.blogspot.com/2012/01/two-early-alabama-roads-byler-and.html and https://www.freestateofwinston.org/bylerrdmemories.htm


Why?:
trade, commerce, settlement, military maneuvers


Directions:
28th Street at University Ave Tuscaloosa AL


Visit Instructions:
To post a log for this Waymark the poster must have a picture of either themselves, GPSr, or mascot. People in the picture with information about the waymark are preferred. If the waymarker can not be in the picture a picture of their GPSr or mascot will qualify. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
MapQuest
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Wagon Roads and Trails
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Benchmark Blasterz visited Old Tavern Stage Stop on the Byler Road -- Tuscaloosa AL 7/26/2017 Benchmark Blasterz visited it