Location: Fort Payne, Alabama
Website: Historic Site
Description: Fort Payne, Alabama, began as a temporary US army “fort” used to intern the Cherokee Indians living in the region in 1838. At the time it was the location of Wills Town, an important Cherokee town and Christian Mission. Forts were constructed throughout northern Georgia, southeastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina for the purpose of internment camps to send the Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma, known as the Trail of Tears. Fort Payne was the western-most fort located at the base of Lookout Mountain in Alabama. The fort was occupied from April through October of 1838 when the last group of 1103 Cherokee Indians began their journey and the fort was abandoned. Although the stockade of the fort was dismantled the house in the fort was lived in until the 1940s when it was torn down. The stone chimney and stone lined well were excavated and are now open to the public in a small park.
1) The history of the Trail of Tears is a terrible time in our past and it is important to us to spend time learning about it. This was our first visit to one of the many parks, museums, and monuments located along the many trails used. We now have a map of these locations from the National Park Service and plan to visit many more.
2) The city park in Fort Payne is very small consisting of only the chimney and well and consequently takes less than an hour to visit.