Incorporated in 1891, this north Alabama city’s downtown features about two and a half blocks of historic commercial buildings along Main Street, three blocks along Broad Street, one block along Sand Mountain Drive and one block along Carlisle Street.
The downtown does not have a registered historic district, but many of the buildings are quite interesting and well-preserved, and appear to be from the 1910s-1930s era. About 20-25 of the buildings would probably be considered to be contributing structures if they decide to present it as a registered historic district in the future.
Albertville, Alabama, does have two buildings that are individually listed with the National Register of Historic Places:
- The c. 1892 train depot found at the east end of Main Street (shown below)
- The c. 1931 former post office found on the west side (above)
Two fires in 1905 and a tornado in 1908 left the depot as the only remaining commercial building on Main Street. At the time that it was listed with the National Register in 1975, the board and batten structure had just been saved from demolition by a group of citizens that wanted to preserve it for the community.
The old post office was listed with the National Register in 1983 and is currently used by the city board of education.
In addition, the First Baptist Church at 309 E. Main Street and the First Methodist Church at 204 Madison Avenue each contain older sections that appear to be at least 90 years old.
An easy walking tour
It would be easy to walk the entire area to see the best downtown historic streetscapes. For example, start at the depot. Walk down Main Street to the old post office, then walk north on Broad for one long block, and back again. That would only be about 0.8 of a mile. Add stops at the old Methodist and Baptist churches for a walk of about 1.3 miles. Wherever you choose to start, free parking is plentiful.
A walking tour would be easy — and perhaps more fun — during one of the downtown block parties that are held at least once a month each summer:
As of Fall 2022, there were five dining options on Main Street including a busy Mexican restaurant and Mater’s, one of the region’s most popular pizza joints. There was also a tavern, a pastry shop, and, just off Main, a brewing company and an ice cream shop.
You will find a busy downtown on most afternoons and evenings. Empty buildings are few to none.
Combine historic downtown visits
Albertville is found in the middle of a true tri-city area. The sister cities of Guntersville and Boaz are next door to the northwest and southeast, respectively. People who are unfamiliar with them cannot tell when they pass from one city limit to another while traveling along the busy Alabama Hwy. 431.
Guntersville and Boaz each have downtowns that would make it practical to see multiple historic downtowns on one trip. From downtown Albertville, it’s 9.5 miles to the nationally registered Downtown Guntersville Historic District and only six miles to Boaz’s handsome old downtown.
If you would like to combine other historic downtowns with a trip to Albertville, there are three over in Etowah County: The Attalla Downtown Historic District is 21 miles away. the Alabama City Wall Street Historic District is 24 miles away, and the Gadsden Downtown Historic District is 26 miles away.
In Blount County, Oneonta’s historic downtown is 29 miles from Albertville. The Collinsville Historic District, which features a nice old downtown, is about 26 miles to the east in DeKalb County.
More about Albertville
With a population of just over 22,000, Albertville is Marshall County’s largest city. It sits on the large plateau known as Sand Mountain. For decades, Albertville has been known as the Heart of Sand Mountain and the Fire Hydrant Capital of the World.
The recently opened Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater in Albertville features state-of-the-art youth athletic facilities, tennis courts, a disc golf course, fitness center, water park, RV campground and more.
One of the busiest intersections you’ll find in north Alabama outside of the Huntsville and Birmingham metro areas, the intersection of Alabama Hwy. 431 and Alabama Hwy. 75 is a half mile from the historic downtown.
The city has grown more than most rural cities since 1990 due largely to a consistent expansion of the hispanic community.