Days Gone By - stories from the past

SUNDAY SOLILOQUY: It starts in Newfoundland but ends up in McCalla, Alabama – but few people know about it

The Mountain Stops Here


Shannon Hollon

Many folks in the hamlet of McCalla Alabama don’t know that the Appalachian mountains ends in their backyard. The oldest mountains in the United States of America(480 million years) starts in Newfoundland and 1600 miles later ends in McCalla. Before erosion they were higher than the Alps or Rockies.

Geographic terminusGeographic Terminus (Tannehill Historical State Park)

This range that stretches from Birmingham to McCalla had another oddity it is one of the few places in the world where all the main ingredients(iron ore,coal, limestone) for iron and steel making can be found in some places less than 3 miles from each other.

mccalla mapMap from 1865 of Roupes Valley

The highland range called Red Mountain(due to iron ore content) Rock Mountain and Shades Mountain are sandwiched in between the Cahaba and Warrior Coal fields which created Jones and Roupes Valley that was settled in 1816 and soon became the birthplace of the iron and steel industry of the South.

Filled with drama, suspense, humor, and romance, DISCORDANCE continues the family saga from the Tapestry of Love series with the children of Mary Dixon who married Thomas Cottingham. Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)  is a  novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Alabama.

About Shannon Hollon

Shannon Hollon lives in McCalla Alabama graduated from McAdory High School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Served 9 years in the US Navy Seabees with one tour in Afghanistan.Currently employed with US Steel and serving on the board of directors for the West Jefferson County Historical Society.

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  1. Lin M Brazie Spivey

    Yup lived on the northern part of them tail end of Catskills Mts Appalachian Mts now the tail end here in Alabama. Love my Mountains

  2. Greg Pierce

    I think some in Wetumpka and even Tallassee, Alabama have made the same claim.

    1. Lin M Brazie Spivey

      I’ve heard that in Fl panhandle lay claim that the App Mts end down there

  3. Sam Guyton

    Chewacla state park claims it’s the last foothill in the mountain train.

  4. Ends st Jaismine Hill Wetumpka

  5. I got to see a small portion from the top of Mount Washington, a most beautiful place.

  6. R Daniel Proctor

    Used to be a similar sign in Tannehill State Park.

  7. Obviously, a lot of places are trying to grab a piece of this pie but I was under the impression that Flagg Mountain in Weogufka, Alabama was the terminus for the Appalachian Mountains. There have been some discussions of extending the Appalachian Mountain Trail to Flagg Mountain and it does unofficially connect with the Pinhoti Trail on Cheaha Mountain which ultimately connects with the Appalachian Trail. Perhaps, we need an expert opinion and I am not an expert! 🙂

  8. Richard Fischer

    Ron I am sure you know this. Just curious how much of the trail have you explored?

  9. Patsy McClary Huggins

    I’m from Alabama and didn’t know this.

  10. Bren Pendergrass Audet

    Gee, I thought it began in Maine.

  11. David Minor

    Barry where do find these stories.

  12. Brenda Jones

    If you visit the Tannehill state park there is a sign going into the park that talks about the Appalachian Trail

    1. The sign at the park talks about the mountain range, not the trail.

  13. There is s CCC built Firetower similar to others built along the Appalachian Mountains during the Great Depression at the Alabama terminus. The plaque there describes the tower as such.

  14. Greg Brannon

    The southernmost mount over 1000ft in elevation in the Appalachian chain is Flagg Mountain, in Coosa County l, near Weogufka. It is the southern terminus of the Pinhoti trail

  15. Barry Hall

    I shared your post in Appalachian Americans.

  16. Michael Morris

    This sign is inside Tannehill Historic Park.

  17. Charlotte Bofinger

    Yup, knew that. Helped construct & maintain sections of the Pinhoti Trail in 1974…

  18. Robert Duncan

    Going north the trail ends in Maine. On the top of Mt Katahdin. Not in Newfoundland, Canada.

    1. Tom Lamb

      The sign and the article do not say where the Appalchian Trail starts or ends. This is about the Appalachian Mountains which do not end in Maine.

    2. Pam Wyche

      Cap Gaspe in Quebec Canada is the end of the North American portion. Called International Appalachian Trail when enter Canada. We have been there to the plaque about it – beautiful! At a lighthouse overlooking sea.

  19. Robert Duncan

    Fastest hiking of trail was done by a woman graduate of Samford University, Birmingham, AL.

    1. Tom Lamb

      Not anymore. A guy broke her record this year. Met her here in Dahlonega at Trail Fest two years ago.

    2. Robert Duncan

      Tom Lamb Wow! What they do is amazing, but not quite the same as hiking.

  20. Calvin Elliott

    Actually they end at the last set of shoals in Centreville. You can view the change from the Appalachian mountains to the gulf coastal plain from the bridges by the the high school.

  21. Dennis Reeves Sr

    I just wonder how one part of the earth can be older than another when the entire earth was created at the same time, and how does this person know about the erosion. Land that has forests growing on the land soil does not erode when it is covered with vegetation. I greew up in that area back in the late 1940’s through the mid 1960’s so I know that area. McCalla is just Southwest of Bessemer Al.

    1. Tracey Bagwell

      You need to go back to school and pay attention this time as to how mountains are formed.

    2. Dennis Reeves Sr

      Tracey Bagwell you are the one that needs to study a book that really tells you how the mountains were formed. It is called the BIBLE. It plainly states that God created the heavens and the earth.What I would realy like for you to9 explain top me is who was around back then to measure the height of the mountains and what instruments did they use to measure them

    3. Tracey Bagwell

      Well sir after thousands of years of different plates smashing together the plates had to go somewhere so they went up, thus therefore forming sorry sir that you’ll weren’t as educated in the 40 thru the mid 60s, but never stop educating yourself and you’ll have a lot less questions.try shutting your mouth and opening your ears.

    4. Tracey Bagwell

      As for the erosion after you get so high there are no trees.and if there’s rain there’s erosion vegetation or not

  22. Max Jolley

    Sign is on the road going into Tannihill State park.

  23. Carol Johnson Brooks

    The rock formations and flora continue all the way down the Black Warrior River to Tuscaloosa…

    1. When I was a student at the University of Alabama, my geology professor said the southern end of the Appalachian Plateau was along Rice Mine Road.

  24. Tim Kendrick

    The North American portion ends in Maine but the Appalachian chain continues in Scotland… the two continents separated after the formation of the chain of mountains.

  25. Donald Johnson

    Love them mountains from south eastern kentucky

  26. Debra Coker Summers

    I never knew that. Very interesting.

  27. Michael Gilbreath

    I’ve been to McCalla a lot of times, mostly hills , not much in the way of a mountain! lol

  28. Pretty sure the hill in my backyard in Mobile, AL is the terminus of the Appalachians. Just sayin’. Enjoyed the article though.

  29. The article on Appalachian mountains was really informative. I have studied about it in my geography class. Nice information!

  30. Went to Newfoundland this past summer. The mountains were incredible
    Most beautiful place that I have ever seen.

  31. Joshua Wade Owenby

    Hmmm I was always told and read that Flagg mountain in Coosa county was the southern most point of the Appalachia’s

    1. Steve Casey

      Richard Haynes, that is the trail. The mountains themselves run down well into central Alabama, gradually making way to the flat agricultural area heading south towards the Gulf. There has been talk of lengthening the AT into Alabama but not sure where it stands now.

  32. Tiffany Conti

    I believe I’ve seen this sign at Tannehill State Park which is in McCalla.

  33. Buster Joe Baker

    Yeah but, do they have a sign?

  34. Sandra Stickler

    Melanie Stickler Falconer

  35. Sandra Stickler

    Jennifer Stickler Riddle

  36. Harold Banks

    Springer Mountain is the Southern terminus of the AT trail but not the end of the Appalachians. Flagg Mountain in Coosa County is the southernmost 1,000 plus foot peak in the Appalachian chain, but lesser peaks extend even turther south. The only thing McCalla has is a sign with a dubious claim.

  37. Blake Davis

    I missed it, and walked all the way to Vicksburg!

  38. Dave Jones

    On the entrance road at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

  39. Susan McCorquodale

    I have always thought the last foothill is in Tuscaloosa where Woods and Water is.

    1. Keith McKee

      Susan McCorquodale it is

  40. Keith McKee

    There a sign on top of lookout Mt it says the gateway to the Appalachian Mts fort Payne Alabama

  41. Keith McKee

    I have all way heard red mountain in Birmingham was the most southern point of the Appalachian mts

  42. Larry Moon

    I saw a sign on way to a job that said this is the end of it.

  43. Thomas A. Mann

    McCalla is not the end of the trail. It claims to be the southern most part of the Appalachian mountains.

  44. Danny Evans

    Charlene Sharp I wondered if Rick was aware of this.

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