Grab your bike and explore Old Cahawba

Published 11:11pm Friday, September 20, 2013

By Josh Bergeron

The Selma Times-Journal


ORRVILLE — History buffs looking to shed a pound or two may enjoy an upcoming bike ride through Cahawba.

The Old Cahawba Archaeological Park will host a two-hour, bike tour of the abandoned town at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept, 28.

The tour will begin at the Old Cahawba Welcome Center and consist of a four-mile bike ride on unpaved roads, led by a tour guide.

Cahawba site director Linda Derry said the bike ride would be perfect for tourists who are tired of seeing restaurants in every city and staying at the same hotel chains.

“We have the authentic thing, there is real history here,” Derry said. “Authentic history is what travelers are looking for.”

The Sept. 28 bike ride will cost $6 per person. Visitors can take free bike tours.

Derry said riders shouldn’t worry if he or she isn’t an avid bike rider.

“You don’t have to wear spandex or go mountain biking,” she said. “It was fun when you were a kid to ride a bike. It’s just regular people riding at a regular pace.

Derry said participants are encouraged to bring bikes, but the park also has a limited number of bikes available.

Cahawba is most well known for being the first capital of Alabama from 1819 to 1826. It was also the county seat of Dallas County until 1866.

Derry said some historians believe that an 1825 flood cause residents to leave Cahawba, but she said 1825 was a drought year.

“The first flood was in 1865 and that affected the city,” she said. “When they moved the county seat to Selma, that was the final blow.”

Derry said Cahawba used to be the center of Dallas County social life for an extended period of time.

The city was filled with large, beautiful mansions, she said. But many of the landowner’s wealthy estates used slave labor. After emancipation, Derry said Cahawba became a mecca for the radical Republican Party and freed slaves.

Today, only two buildings are completely intact in Cahawba.

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