January 9, 1965
The USS Alabama Battleship Park opened to the public in Mobile, 18 years after the ship was decommissioned on the same day in 1947. The vessel returned home to Alabama after a statewide fundraising campaign collected more than $800,000 — with $100,000 donated by schoolchildren — and a 5,600-mile tow from Bremerton, Washington. More than 2,000 people, including schoolchildren, politicians and veterans of World War II, attended the opening ceremonies as Gov. George Wallace received the ship on behalf of all citizens of the state. Since then, more than 13 million tourists have visited the park, generating more than $500 million in indirect economic impact.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.