Tiny Scottsboro has unclaimed baggage and more
Archie Stewart, 87, looks at a historical marker near the Jackson County Courthouse in Scottsboro, Ala., Sunday Jan. 25, 2004. Stewart was just 14-years-old in 1931 when the Scottsboro boys were arrested in Scottsboro, Ala. Stewart later became a force in the civil rights movement, founding the Jackson County chapter of the NAACP. Nine black men, later known as the Scottsboro Boys, were accused of raping two white girls. (AP Photo/The Huntsvilel Times, Laranda Nichols)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Blink and you'll miss it. But stop in Scottsboro, the county seat of Jackson County, long enough and you've got reason enough to stay a while.
Scottsboro, the tiny Alabama town that gained national attention in 1931 when nine black young people were hauled off a train, tried and sentenced to death on a false report that they had raped two white women, recently created a museum to honor the infamous Scottsboro Boys case.
Open with limited hours, the museum is at 428 W. Willow St. at Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church, Jackson County's oldest standing black church.
The small museum includes books, newspaper clippings and antiques, creating a timeline of the events surrounding the case from 1931 until the group's last surviving member died in 1989. To schedule a tour, call 256-244-1310.
Many visitors also stop by Scottsboro for its other famous attraction, Unclaimed Baggage Center, a retail store that stocks its shelves with items people leave behind on airplanes. Whether you're looking for clothes, a digital camera, sports gear or home goods, Unclaimed Baggage's unpredictable inventory just might include it -- and usually for a discounted price.
"Unclaimed Baggage is the only store like that in America," said J.P. Parsons, vice president of tourism and destination marketing with the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. "They have over 850,000 visitors a year."
AT A GLANCE
• Population: 14,770.
• Best things to do/places to visit: Unclaimed Baggage Center, Scottsboro Boys Museum, Payne's Soda Shop on courthouse square.
• Biggest employers: Maples Industries, Tennessee Valley Authority, Highlands Medical Center.
• Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 55.
• Landmarks or geographic features: Lake Guntersville, King Caldwell Park.
• Date founded: Incorporated Jan. 20, 1870.
• Historic info: Cherokee Indians inhabited the area where present-day Scottsboro is located. The city's founder, Robert Thomas Scott, was a state legislator and formerly lived in Bellefonte. He and his wife moved to what later became Scottsboro around 1850.
• Most-famous residents: Philanthropist David King Caldwell, songwriter Claude "Curly" Putman Jr.
• Unique traditions: First Monday flea market, Scottish Festival and Highland Games in October.
• Best-kept secret: Jackson County has the most caves per square mile of any county in America.