During the Civil War, Tuscumbia Landing was bombed by both sides to control the railroad. The site lay dormant until World War I when the military feared that German submarines would block fertilizer imports. The Defense Department built Plant #1 at Tuscumbia Landing to produce ammonium nitrate, followed by Plant #2 in nearby Sheffield. The plants never produced and terminated when the war ended. Today, the crumbling concrete foundations are covered with moss and underbrush.
The City of Sheffield was not incorporated until after the Civil War and focused more on the production of pig iron from the nearby iron ore deposits. Tuscumbia Landing passed to Sheffield which later developed a City Park that was shut down almost twenty years ago. The site will be developed by the Port Authority.
Tuscumbia Landing became a Certified Historic Site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail on April 15, 2007. Tuscumbia Landing was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980's. The site is on the south side of the Tennessee River, property owned by the City of Sheffield, Alabama. The city established a Port Authority in 2014 to develop the National Park Service plan. The plan is under development and we hope to be in operation in 2016.
The city of Tuscumbia established in 1820 was a commercial distribution area for the Wild West, which extended to the Mississippi River. Steamboats from New Orleans could travel to Tuscumbia Landing, which was at the foot of a 40 mile strip of dangerous rapids called Muscle Shoals.
In the 1830's the first railroad west of the Appalachians was built that bypassed Muscle Shoals. Under the 1830 Indian Removal Act, the United States government moved the Cherokee and Muskogee Creek tribes through Tuscumbia Landing. Two Cherokee detachments were transported on the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur railroad to Tuscumbia Landing. Because of a severe drought 14,000 Cherokees walked to Indian Territory.