Leeds Stagecoach Route
- DesignationState Byway
- Length18 miles
Alabama’s Stagecoach Route Through Leeds began as an Indian trail traversing a vast watershed. As a trail, it served as a staging ground for three emerging Alabama cultures. Early Christian Cherokees along with European circuit riders used it to plant Methodist churches. The Christian Indian culture arrived from North Carolina before 1812. Andrew Jackson’s scouts (1812-13) widened the trail as they sought roadways for supply wagons. When Europeans, largely veterans of the Creek Indian War, entered the valley in Leeds (1820), the widened trail became a stagecoach route that lay in its original bed when the first black settlers arrived in the late 1880’s. Studies by John Garst place the legendary John Henry in Leeds at the Oak Tunnel of the C&W Railroad in the 1880’s, and descendants of original Black-American settlers concur with Garst’s conclusion–the Leeds, Alabama, claim that Henry was a real person and that he performed his famous contest with the steam drill in Leeds.
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