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Huntsville was named after John Hunt, our first settler. He came here in 1805 and lived near the "Big Spring" which is now a city park in the downtown area. Huntsville has the distinction of being the first incorporated town in the state. This city is also the birthplace of our state.
During the Civil War, Huntsville was occupied by Union troops in 1862. Although forced to retreat, they returned in 1863 and remained in control of the city for the duration of the war.
Huntsville was once known as a "cotton" town, the red clay soil being ideal for growing this beautiful plant. Cotton fields can still be seen in the surrounding countryside. the textile industry soon followed, enticing the sharecropping families to the cotton mills and the adjacent "mill villages". Today these former villages comprise several Huntsville neighborhoods.
All this changed during World War II when Huntsville was chosen as the location for the Redstone Arsenal, created to manufacture munitions. After the was, the U.S. Space Program was born here with the coming of German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and his colleagues. later the George C. Marshall space Flight Center was formed here in Huntsville.
Today Huntsville is a high tech multicultural city that still manages to retain its down home southern roots.