The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has authorized the Trail of Tears Association through Ardmore resident Ronny Cornelison to display official national historic trail signs on roads along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail within Limestone County.
“When I was volunteering in Ardmore and studying history no one ever pushed to get the trail marked in Limestone County,” said Cornelison. “I wanted the trail documented for future generations, so history is never forgotten.”
Due to the annual Trail of Tears motorcycle ride, most people in this area are aware of the Trail of Tears route through Limestone County that traces what is now U.S. Highway 72. However, most people don’t realize that a Trail of Tears route cut through northeast Limestone County, too, right through the heart of what is now the town of Ardmore, from Huntsville to what is now U.S. Highway 64 in Tennessee.
Limestone County Archivist Rebekah Davis assisted Cornelison and local historian David Walker in researching aerial photos of northeast Limestone County from the Archives’ collection to help confirm the pathway as it trails through modern-day neighborhoods and farmlands.
“We are excited to see these new signs go up along these routes,” said Davis. “Official recognition of this sad event in American history, and the role that Limestone County played in the Trail of Tears, is welcomed and long overdue.”
Seven signs were approved and placed in Limestone County including the following:
- Highway 53 near the Tennessee State Line in the Town of Ardmore traveling south
- Highway 53 near 1st Street in the Town of Ardmore traveling north
- Highway 251 0.3 miles south of Sterling Road traveling north
- Highway 72 near the Elk River Bridge traveling east
- Highway 72 near Highway 31 traveling east
- Highway 72 near Highway 31 traveling west
- Highway 72 near County Line Road traveling west
Community leaders had this to say regarding this project.
“We welcome the addition of these Trail of Tears route signs in our county,” said Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly. “We look forward to these signs being an addition to our Memorial Map that is used by schools and travelers to learn about our county’s history.”
“For history lovers, Athens and Limestone County offer unique and interesting historic sites and stories,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said. “This project adds to our ability to share a chapter in our story. It is a chapter that is painful, but a chapter we do not need to forget.”
“We are proud and very appreciative of the Trail of Tears signs that have been added in our Town,” said Town of Ardmore Mayor Billy Shannon. “Our history is a very important part of our culture and we hope this helps to remind our children and citizens of the trials our past generations have endured.”
“We are blessed by the picturesque beauty of the hills of north Alabama and mountains of south Tennessee here in Ardmore,” said Greater Ardmore Chamber of Commerce Yolandia Eubanks. “Now families and individuals who travel can benefit from the hard work that people like Ronny Cornelison and David Walker did to help acknowledge the Trail of Tears through the Ardmore community.”