The mound rises from history-43 feet high, the largest trove of ancient tools, pottery, jewelry, and pipes in Alabama. Spear points that killed mammoths and mastadons as the Ice Age retreated and the Tennessee Valley sprouted green. Fish hooks sharpened out of deer hoofs, spider necklaces elegantly carved from river bottom shells, clay pots hand-shaped from the earth and fired for everyday survival.
The mound is history. Climb the steps yourself, wondering if Indian priests and chiefs mounted them too, reaching for the sun. Hear the Yuchi's nearby Singing River, the Tennessee River that carries a young woman's songs in the waters. See the rich collection of rare and sought-after Clovis and Cumberland points 500 generations old, animal effigy pipes, woven textiles, soapstone carvings-all in chronological order, from Paleo, Transitional, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian and Historic Native American ages.
The Tennessee Valley first attracted man who followed roving prehistoric beasts. Later tribes settled in the shoals to feast on fish and mussels, hickory nuts, white tail deer, turkey, berries and bear. The warm climate gave them sunflowers, corn, squash, sumpweed.
Generations parleyed with explorers like De Soto, traded with boatsmen, hunters, and, later, Civil War era farmers and soldiers. Now, you'll see real pieces of their lives, thousands of relics and artifacts, in the Florence Indian Mound & Museum-a rare touch with the past.
Located: 1028 South Court Street, Florence, AL 35630.
Hours Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-4 PM.
In the late 1830's, a young teenage Yuchi girl was living near the Singing (Tennessee) River. Unfortunately, this was also during the Trail of Tears, a dark time in American history when Native Americans were being forcibly removed from the Eastern portion of the United States to land out west. This young girl, along with her sister, were discovered by Army personnel and forced to walk to Oklahoma. She listened for singing waters in her new surroundings and found none. Convinced she would die if she stayed she escaped and spent five years walking back to Alabama. The journey was extremely difficult with many trials and tribulations along the way, however she returned to her singing river.
In the 1980's, Tom Hendrix, her Great Grandson, visited the Yuchi people and had her journals translated. He had heard her stories many times and after the trip vowed to honor the great Native American woman. A wall of stones was going to be the memorial and 28 years later, the monument is truly something to behold. It is the largest un-mortared wall in the United States and the largest memorial to a Native American woman. Each stone represents one step of the journey. Also, the shape, height, and width of the wall changes to represent the various obstacles she encountered. There are stones from over 120 countries that come in every size, shape, texture and unique geologic features you can imagine.
A trip to Tom's Wall is emotional, inspiring and you will leave touched by the dedication of one man to honor his descendents.
Located: 13890 County Road 8, Florence, AL 35633, near the Natchez Trace & Hwy 20/Savannah Hwy.