On this day in Alabama history: Muscle Shoals was incorporated

On this day in Alabama history: Muscle Shoals was incorporated
Lock No. 2 at Muscle Shoals Canal, July 1878. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Flickr)

April 24, 1923

Now known as one of the seminal spots in American rock, pop, country and blues, Muscle Shoals was not much of anything but farmland a century ago. Deep into World War I, there was a need to support a couple of nitrate plants with power, and President Woodrow Wilson ordered construction of a dam to provide electricity. The dam wasn’t finished by the time the war ended, but by that point the construction boom and speculation had attracted outside industrial interest, including Henry Ford’s desire to build a car plant that could use the dam. Although Congress rejected Ford’s plan, there were enough people in the area to warrant organization. On April 24, 1923, Muscle Shoals officially incorporated.

Not long after, the Tennessee Valley Authority brought big projects to the area, such as commissioning a series of locks along the Tennessee River, which made commercial shipping possible. In the 1950s and ’60s, recording studios brought worldwide acclaim to the Shoals, with the opening of FAME Studios. “The Muscle Shoals Sound” became recognizable to critics and fans, as a wide-range of artists came to Muscle Shoals to record.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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