Huntsville is a city and county seat in Madison County AL. It is in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama and home to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, featuring the Saturn V rocket and space travel artifacts. Huntsville Botanical Garden has a butterfly house. Mountain trails, azaleas and stone cabins are the draws of Monte Sano State Park. Burritt on the Mountain includes the 1930s Burritt Mansion, nature trails and a historical park with farm animals and restored 19th-century buildings.
Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. It grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010” list.
In 1811, Huntsville became the first incorporated town in Alabama. However, the recognized “founding” year of the city is 1805, the year of John Hunt’s arrival. In 1805 Revolutionary War veteran John Hunt settled in the land around the Big Spring. The 1805 Treaty with the Chickasaws and the Cherokee Treaty of Washington of 1806 ceded native claims to the United States Government. The city was named Huntsville to honor John Hunt, who had been forced to move to other land south of the new city.