The Old Federal Road in Alabama Has Been Surveyed

In an earlier post I mentioned the importance of the Old Federal Road in the settling of Indian Ridge: The Settling of Indian Ridge: Thinking. After the Louisiana Purchase, the road was built to speed the delivery of mail between New Orleans and Washington.

The road became a major route for people who decided to settle in Alabama, often on Creek lands. This encroachment led to the Red Stick War 1813-1814. The road was a major military road during the War of 1812. However, by 1860 the road, a major link to our history, was gone (

A Driving Guide is Forthcoming

The story of the Old Federal Road in Alabama is still being told. Yesterday one of my cousins asked about the path of the Old Federal Road because of a highway marker she had seen. That marker may be the result of efforts to position the Old Federal Road (at least those parts of it on public land) as a tourist attraction.


Archeologists from the University of South Alabama have surveyed the 250 miles of this first interstate highway into and through Alabama. The public version of their 300+ page report is available here.


The survey was designed to uncover the precise ground location of Old Federal Road, which was still unknown when a collaborative effort produced the interactive website housed at Auburn University.

The Old Federal Road in Alabama

The archeologists were able to pinpoint the location of a number of historic sites. They are expected to produce a guidebook that can help tourists with an interest in history drive to these sites.

I look forward to the publication and promotion of a guidebook for driving tours of the Old Federal Road in Alabama. The guidebook will be supported by other  projects designed to enhance economic development in counties near the Old Federal Road in Alabama.

Eleven Projects Selected for Extension’s nOld Federal Road Rural Development Initiative

I am still trying to understand why the Old Federal Road fell into disuse. I think the report from the USA faculty will make a contribution to my understanding along with the other books that I am studying.

Hudson, A. P. (2010). Creek paths and federal roads: Indians, settlers, and slaves and the making of the American South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Southerland, Henry deLeon., Brown,Jerry Elijah,,. (1989). The federal road through georgia, the creek nation, and alabama, 1806-1836.


I am already annoyed that the report does not mention Clarke County and Suggsville.


5 thoughts on “The Old Federal Road in Alabama Has Been Surveyed

  1. I have developed some skill in finding Clarke County Alabama on any map that includes the Mobile, Alabama, and Tombigbee Rivers. The path of the Old Federal Road as drawn by USA survey team comes no where near Suggsville. Perhaps Suggsville was at the intersection of Old Line Road and a “branch” off of the Old Federal Road.

  2. I join you in being annoyed that the report dies not mention Suggsville, Indian Ridge, nor Whatley.

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