1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Huntsville
HUNTSVILLE, a city and the county-seat of Madison county, Alabama, U.S.A., situated on a plain 10 m. N. of the Tennessee river, 18 m. from the northern boundary of the state, at an altitude of about 617 ft. Pop. (1900) 8068, of whom 3909 were of negro descent; (1910 census) 7611. There is a considerable suburban population. Huntsville is served by the Southern and the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis railways. The public square is on a high bluff (about 750 ft. above sea-level), at the base of which a large spring furnishes the city with water, and also forms a stream once used for floating boats, loaded with cotton, to the Tennessee river. The surrounding country has rich deposits of iron, coal and marble, and cotton, Indian corn and fruit are grown and shipped from Huntsville. Natural gas is found in the vicinity. The principal industry is the manufacture of cotton. The value of the city’s factory products increased from $692,340 in 1900 to $1,758,718 in 1905, or 154%. At Normal, about 3½ m. N.E. of Huntsville, is the State Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes. Huntsville was founded in 1805 by John Hunt, a Virginian and a soldier in the War of Independence; in 1809 its name was changed to Twickenham, in memory of the home of the poet Alexander Pope, some of whose relatives were among the first settlers; but in 1811 the earlier name was restored, under which the town was incorporated by the Territorial Government, the first Alabama settlement to receive a charter. Huntsville was chartered as a city in 1844. Here, in 1819, met the convention that framed the first state constitution, and in 1820 the first state legislature. On the 11th of April 1862 Huntsville was seized by Federal troops, who were forced to retire in the following September, but secured permanent possession in July 1863.