Historic Downtown Scottsboro is situated between the banks of the Tennessee River and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Located in the City of Scottsboro, the downtown square is dominated by the Jackson County Courthouse. This square is a thriving place full of history, boutiques, dining, and events. For anyone wanting to visit North Alabama and Scottsboro, the historic square is definitely a stop worth making.
Downtown Scottsboro is full of history, a portion of the infamous “Scottsboro Boys” trial took place there, and there is a museum dedicated to the boys where visitors can read some of the letters the boys wrote from prison and learn more about who the boys were and what their legacy means for Civil Rights in America. There is also a newly hung mural across the street from the courthouse depicting the nine Scottsboro Boys and a few of the local officials who helped them get exonerated. The mural was painted by artist Don Howard, who was the first African American artist hired at Disney, and symbolizes the journey of the town because of this case. At the bottom of the mural are the words, “A Unified Find”; the mural depicts the unity that Scottsboro has found because of these boys.
Payne’s Sandwich Shop & Soda
Once you’ve looked at the Scottsboro Boys mural, visitors to the historic downtown can stop in at Payne’s Sandwich Shop & Soda Fountain which originally opened 150 years ago as a pharmacy. They still serve old-fashioned sundaes and malts. In addition to Payne’s, Scottsboro’s square is also home to a bakery, a coffee shop, and several unique clothing, gift, and home décor stores that are all locally owned and operated. Just off the square is the stately Magnolia House restaurant, open for both lunch and dinner; as most of the people in the town like to boast, “they serve the best mac n’ cheese in town”.
A few blocks from Magnolia House, visitors can shop at Unclaimed Baggage, the world-famous home of lost luggage. Over the years, Unclaimed Baggage has found all kinds of things in people’s luggage including lost pieces from celebrities and oddities that make you wonder about the history of each item; their slogan holds true, “You Never Know What You’ll Find!”.
Participate in Trade Day
Lastly, if you happen to stop by Scottsboro on the Saturday before the first Monday of the month, you can participate in Trade Day. Trade Day started as a vendor market 119 years ago, and is Scottsboro’s oldest tradition. Now, Trade Days has evolved into a vendor fair with a different theme every month to bring people from all over Alabama and Tennessee. In May, the theme is “Salsa on the Square”, and not only do visitors get to shop the various vendors, but they get to participate in a salsa-making competition. Amateurs and businesses can sign up to make a salsa and anyone who visits can taste test all of the salsa and vote for their favorites!
In July, the theme is “Jackson County Jubilee”, and a small Independence Day parade takes place with Girl and Boys Scouts, a community band, and veterans walking around the square. In October, there is “Halloween on the Square”, vendors are around the square during the day, and trick or treating takes place at night. December is “Jingle Bell Square” this is another all-day event with vendors during the day, the annual Christmas Parade in the evening, followed by pictures with Santa sitting in the picturesque bandstand and horse and buggy rides around the lit-up square.
With history, shopping, dining, downtown Scottsboro is a “Welcoming Find” for everyone.