Wetumpka: The City of Natural Beauty

Known as “The City of Natural Beauty,” Wetumpka, Alabama is about 5 miles north of Capital City RV Park, our home base on US-231.

Approximately 6 miles north of I-85 (Exit 6), Capital City RV Park is a 5-star park located on the northeastern edge of Montgomery. Our pull-through site is in the 65-75 foot range. 50/30-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV (48 channels) are centrally located. Interior roads and individual sites are gravel. Wi-Fi works well from our site; no problem locating satellite. This is a well designed and maintained RV park with very reasonable rates.

Bibb Graves Bridge, a focal point of the City was built in 1937. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bibb Graves Bridge, a focal point of the City was built in 1937. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The name Wetumpka is a Creek Indian word meaning “rumbling waters,” describing the sound of the nearby Coosa River. The Coosa River flows through the middle of the city, dividing the historic business district from its residential counterpart.

Bibb Graves Bridge, a focal point of the City was built in 1937. Designed by state bridge engineer Edward Houk and named after Governor Bibb Graves, it is reputed to be one of two bridges in Alabama to be suspended by reinforced concrete.

Proceeding across the Bridge to the largely residential west side, we stopped on West Bridge Street, across from the First Presbyterian Church organized in 1834. It was the site of the gathering of the Wetumpka Light Guard as they departed their families when they went to do battle in the Civil War on April 16, 1861. We discovered a number of historic and beautiful homes within a five block area mainly on Tuskeena Street (one block north on West Bridge and to the left down Tuskeena).

The First United Methodist Church at 306 West Tuskeena Street was completed 1854. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The First United Methodist Church at 306 West Tuskeena Street was completed 1854. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our next stop was the First United Methodist Church at 306 West Tuskeena Street. The building was completed 1854. In 1845, an historic session of the Alabama Conference delegates voted to become part of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and so it remained until 1939.

Directly behind the church we noted the L & N Depot. Established in 1906 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the station served as a passenger and freight depot until 1973. Used for several years as the first home of the Wetumpka Depot Players, it is currently used as a place of worship and for youth activities and is owned by First United Methodist Church .

Next door to the Methodist Church stands a house built by Benjamin Fitzpatrick, a local attorney and circuit solicitor and son of 9th Governor of Alabama, Benjamin Fitzpatrick.

Established in 1906 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the L & N Depot served as a passenger and freight station until 1973. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Established in 1906 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the L & N Depot served as a passenger and freight station until 1973. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Crossing the Bibb Graves Bridge to the largely historic business district east side we wandered this area before proceeding to the Wind Creek Casino (SEE feature photo). Overlooking the beautiful Coosa River, Wind Creek is the home of a new hotel.

En route to Wetumpka we stopped at Jasmine Hill Gardens and toured Ft. Toluse-Ft. Jackson State Historic Site.

One of the oldest gardens in Alabama, Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum has been offering displays of seasonal flowers and statuary for over 75 years. Filled with camellias, azaleas, flowering Japanese cherries, and an abundance of other southern trees and shrubs, the 20-acre gardens also feature reproductions of Greek statues and pools throughout.

After inquires, we decide against touring the gardens. Spring would be an ideal time to visit. Open Friday to Sunday; admission $10/person.

The Cossa River and Bibb Graves Bridge. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Cossa River and Bibb Graves Bridge. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

History comes alive at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site where Creek Indians, French Marines, and American Soldiers all left their marks. Located just south of Wetumpka on a forested bluff where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers meet to form the headwaters of the Alabama River, we enjoyed 165 acres of living history and natural beauty.

The park showcases recreated Creek Indian houses, a 1751 French fort, the partially restored 1814 American Fort Jackson, a nature trail, and campground.

After paying our $2/person admission fee, our first stop was the early 19th-century Graves House Visitor Center. Restored to its original appearance, the building now houses a small gift shop and museum. We wandered a replica of Fort Toulouse (1751-1763). Walking the trails we came upon some earthworks, the beginning of the reconstruction of the War of 1812 period Fort Jackson. To complete our tour of the historic site we wandered the one-mile long William Bartram Nature Trail that winds along ridge line and river bottoms at the southern end of the park.

The largely historic business district is located on the east side of the Coosa River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The largely historic business district is located on the east side of the Coosa River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Surely it is the right wish that draws us to the right place.
Nothing of importance happens accidentally in our life.

—Lama Anagarika Govinda, The Way of the White Clouds

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