Vivir en Huntsville, AlabamaIyna Bort Caruso
Huntsville, Alabama, is known as the Rocket City, but it’s not because of its soaring population. In the post World War II era, it became a high tech hub for the space and defense industries. In the 1950s, a team of scientists and engineers, led by rocket developer Wernher von Braun, was transferred to the Redstone Arsenal, the army’s center tasked with advancing the nation’s missile and rocket program, which continues to operate to this day. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is also headquartered here. Not surprisingly, Huntsville’s population is well-educated--and well-rounded. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked it among the top 10 places to live in the United States.
Locals take advantage of dozens of parks, golf courses and enjoy its long-established theater and music scene. Festivals take place year-round including the highly anticipated Panoply Arts Festival and the Big Spring Jam. The city’s location in northern Alabama at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains means trails for hiking and biking are easily accessible.
With the birth of the space program and Huntsville’s population boom, the area started to see its share of tear-downs. Older homes were replaced by apartment buildings. Historic designation was a move to protect the area from further demotion. Today, the city has three historic districts, Five Points, Old Town and Twickenham. Five Points was Huntsville’s first suburb, coming of age with the advent of the streetcar. Its historic significance lies in the neighborhood’s showcase of 20th century middle class housing, from modest Victorians and bungalows to cape cods and ranches.
Residences in the Old Town district are on the National Register of Historic Places. Many are one or two-story Victorians dating from the 1820s to the early 20th century.
The oldest historic district is Twickenham, located just south of downtown and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Twickenham has the highest concentration of pre-Civil War homes in the state.