Welcome to the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area
Experience our cultural, natural, historical, and scenic resources. Wonderful music, beautiful rivers and great hiking trails are yours to explore!
The Tennessee River brought prehistoric American Indians to northwest Alabama about 9,000 years ago. Then, in the early 19th century, European settlers arrived. Despite subsequent population growth in the region, the river's shallow and rocky shoals discouraged economic development -- until TVA and its program of river management was established in 1933. Throughout history, the people and the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama have created a world-changing culture and produced leaders in music, literature, education, government, business and more.
The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area includes the Tennessee River basin's six counties in northwest Alabama. Its sites, buildings, homes, and artifacts tell the story of how the river and the people living alongside it have shaped our nation's history and heritage.
W.C. Handy and the Foundation of R&B
Our Music Makes Us Special --
-- and we love to share! The Muscle Shoals area has been called "The Hitmaking Capital of the World," and you can explore its musical history on our Roots of American Music Trail website. The trail is a self-guided cell-phone tour of world-famous sites such as FAME Studios, 3614 Jackson Highway and W.C. Handy's birthplace. Keep your eyes open, too. Since we're still producing hits, you never know who you'll see leaving a recording studio!
Also at the Roots of American Music Trail website, read interviews and watch videos of music makers including Rick Hall, Donna Jean Godchaux McKay, and Gary Baker. Learn about musical heritage that reaches back to the American Indian prescence along the Tennessee River, find out where to hear the Muscle Shoals sound performed live, and buy an exclusive CD of Muscle Shoals hits.