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Welcome to beautiful Guntersville, Alabama! Nestled between breathtaking mountains, the rolling Tennessee River, and sparking lakes, Guntersville is a true Alabama paradise. Considered one of America’s most desirable towns, Guntersville welcomes visitors and new residents alike with open arms. Residents enjoy a high quality of life, access to an excellent ranking school system, a thriving arts community, plenty of fine dining and fantastic shopping experiences, numerous recreational activities and programs, and endless attractions to choose from. Guntersville has been recognized by Where to Retire, Southern Living, Relocate America , and Field & Stream magazines as one of the top 100 places to live in America, one of the top 10 places to fish in America, and home to the best lake in Alabama. Whether you’re looking for a place to retire or a place to start a family, Guntersville welcomes you and invites you to be apart of their fantastic community. For more information, please contact us or visit their official website at: http://www.guntersvilleal.org/home/index.php
The area that would one day become known as Guntersville began as a crossroads early habitation, settlement, and trade by Paleo-Indians approximately 12,000 years ago. These first inhabitants were followed by a variety of tribes of Native Americans, including the Cherokee, Alabama, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, and Mobile. DeSoto arrived in there area in 1540, marking him as one of the earliest European visitors. Around the late 1700s, the Cherokees began referring to this specific area as Kusa-Nunnahi, meaning Creek Path.
In 1785, the man whom Guntersville would earn its name from and the first permanent white settler arrived to the area. John Gunter came from the Carolinas just ten years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence to trade with the Indians. Eventually, he married the daughter of the local Cherokee chief and was given land to raise a family. By the time John Gunter passed away in 1835, he left behind him a large family and a fortune in land, money, and slaves. His children and grandchildren became prominent figures in both the Indian Territory and the land that was then a part of the State of Georgia. Probably the most well known of his descendents is John Gunter’s grandson, the noted humorist Will Rogers.
In 1813, General Andrew Jackson passed through the area in order to recruit Cherokees to help him fight the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Between 1818 and 1820, John Gunter’s son, Edward, established a ferry across the river. As the small village grew, it became known as Gunter’s Landing. John Gunter owned the first painted house in the new county, and incidentally the first house in Gunter's landing. The first educational facility in Gunter’s Landing was a mission school built by the Presbyterians for the Indians called “Old Missionary”. In late 1830, Gunter’s Landing became involved with the tragic removal of Indians. By 1838, the John Benge Detachment of more than 1,000 Cherokees crossed the river in Guntersville on their way to the Oklahoma Territory on the Trail of Tears.
In 1836, Guntersville received its newest resident Louis Wyeth, a young lawyer from Pennsylvania. Louis Wyeth would be responsible for developing the town and establishing the county seat. Additionally, he was a renowned author and surgeon and founded one of New York City’s largest hospitals before going to become the president of the American Medical Association. It was through Wyeth’s efforts that Guntersville was incorporated by State Legislature in August of 1847. During this period, settlers slowly arrived migrating south from the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky. These settlers were primarily of Scotch, Irish and English descent looking for work.
When the Civil War broke out, Guntersville was hit hard. Guntersville was practically destroyed by Union raids and cannon bombardments. One building to survive was the home of Colonel Montgomery Gilbreath, which remains a historic attraction to this day. After the Civil War was over, Guntersville began to grow as a river town. In the early 1890s, Guntersville grew even further with the arrival of the much sought-after railroad, making the town into a major port practically overnight. Guntersville was mainly used for commercial and passenger steamboats traveling between Knoxville and Decatur.
In 1939, a large group of people were brought in to build the Tennessee Valley Authority Dam nine miles below Guntersville. With the completion of the Guntersville Dam, the water surrounded Guntersville, making it into a peninsula city.
In 1940, Guntersville’s population was at 4,398, but by 1950 it had grown to 5,253. By 1960, Guntersville was home to 6,592. Today, Guntersville is now an inland port city on the Louisville & Nashville Railway, with US Highway 431 running through the city. Guntersville is served by the Huntsville and Gadsden airports. To find out more about Guntersville’s rich history, please visit: http://www.lakeguntersville.org/pages.asp?p=4.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation Department
1500 Sunset Drive
Guntersville , AL 35976
Guntersville’s Parks and Recreation Department is dedicated to providing all residents with quality programs, services, and facilities. Guntersville’s Parks and Recreation Department works to enrich residents’ lives through providing ample means to become physically fit through athletic and fitness programs, as well as offering social, emotional, and education growth through programs and services including classes, seminars, and support groups. The City of Guntersville maintains six miles of shoreline, 175 acres of park land and open spaces, and The Guntersville Recreational Center. To find out more, please visit their official website at: http://www.guntersvilleal.org/city_services/REC_parks_recreation.php
Attractions and Activities
In addition to Guntersville’s excellent Parks and Recreation Department, Guntersville offers a vast array of quality recreational activities for you and your family to enjoy. Located on Alabama’s largest lake with a 950 mile shoreline, Guntersville offers exceptional bass fishing, annual fishing tournaments, water skiing, boating, jet skiing, sailing, swimming and more! Lake Guntersville State Park is home to an 18 hole championship golf course, 322 site campground and a deluxe Lodge-Convention center. Guntersville’s multi-purpose center is perfect for senior citizens with daily nutrition programs, educational activities, weekly recreation programs, health screening, arts and crafts and transportation. Guntersville also boasts four private campgrounds, a bowling center, putt-putt golf course, and three public golf courses.
If you’re looking to head indoors, why not check out Guntersville’s rich array of Native American and Civil War history exhibits at the Guntersville Museum and Cultural Center? If you’re just feeling like curling up with a good book, the Guntersville Public Library offers a full range of opportunities for the most inquisitive minds. Residents also enjoy Guntersville’s local theatre group, The Whole Backstage, who put on a musical production each summer and a season of plays throughout the year.
The City of Guntersville is home to a variety of fun events throughout the year, always offering you and your family something new and exciting to experience! From holiday events to farmers markets and community gatherings, there’s something for people of all ages and interests. Please visit Guntersville’s official event calendars to discover just a few of these family-friendly events and activities that await you in the upcoming months.
City of Guntersville Event Calendar
Chamber of Commerce Event Calendar