Huntsville is a city that is located in the northern portion of the state of Alabama. It is currently the fourth largest city in the state behind Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. The city gets its name from its first permanent settler, John Hunt, who settled in the area in 1805. It was originally named Twickenham in honor of Alexander Pope's home, but later the name was changed to Huntsville to honor the town's first settler. The city was incorporated in 1811 and was a town born out of the cotton and railroad industries. The local plantations produced tons of cotton and the railroads were ready and willing to export the cotton all over the country.
As such a railroad hub, the city of Huntsville was targeted by the Union during the US Civil War. It was captured by the Union and then later returned to the state of Alabama after the war was over. The city continued its industrial ways after the war. The Depression hurt the town greatly, but during World War 2 Huntsville became the home of several weapons and munitions factories, which provided much needed jobs and income for the citizens of Huntsville.
The biggest break for the city came when the US Government decided to use the city as the home for its missile research program. Over the years hundreds of missiles and rockets were designed and built in Huntsville. Even the space shuttle can trace its roots back here.
This has caused Huntsville to become very popular with tourists. The US Space and Rocket Center is the home of the US Space Camp and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the whole state each year. The center is also a nationally recognized historic landmark. There are other things to do in Huntsville, such as Monte Sano Mountain, which is a beautiful park that houses nature museums and hiking trails. The Clay House Museum is a historical home that was built circa 1853. The North Alabama Railroad Museum displays decades of railroading history.
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