The City of Arab is a progressive community that provides a high level of attraction for a supportive family atmosphere through a wholesome, safe, and secure environment. Arab offers a quality learning environment for all ages, and opportunities are provided to citizens for life-long rewarding employment, recreation, historical, and cultural experiences.
Arab is conveniently located 20 minutes south of Redstone Arsenal, one hour north of Birmingham, 2.5 hours south of Nashville, and 3.5 hours from Atlanta.
Historic Downtown Arab and 1883 Methodist Cemetery
Arab’s unique downtown provides shops and several interesting places to dine. L’Rancho Café, known for years as the Poke Salat Headquarters, is where you can get your fill during the city’s spring festival, named for and featuring the famous green. Still boasting many of the items once used in the original business, the Farmer’s Exchange building is now known as the Flower Exchange, which displays a wide array of plants, flowers, decorative garden items, and a variety of exceptional gift items. The original building was built around 1939 and provided farmers a one-stop shop where they could buy anything from chickens to milk. It also served as the social hub of the town, and you could find folks sitting in the rockers on the front “porch,” trading stories and resting from the long trek into town. Across from the old Farmer’s Exchange is Tuttle Thompson Park, where a statue of Stephen Tuttle Thompson, founder of Arab, welcomes you to the historic downtown area.
In 1934, the infamous duo, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, visited Peoples Drugstore, which was located across from the historic Bank of Arab, shortly before they engaged in their last crime spree that would take their lives. Noticing the building across the street, Clyde asked if the bank had any money. Being suspicious, the clerk told him that because of the Great Depression, the bank had been busted for years. The criminals left empty-handed and without drawing their guns.
Downtown recently underwent a complete “facelift” and features new sidewalks, planters, benches, and even charging stations for electronic devices. To complement the improvements, several new restaurants and businesses have opened, offering a wide assortment of exciting, different treasures to be found in the remaining historic buildings.
Also located in the downtown area is the historic 1883 Northern Methodist Cemetery. A half-dozen or so Confederate soldiers and one Union captain are buried in the small churchyard. One woman buried there was born during the War of 1812 and lived to see 21 presidents. There are many interesting and unusual facts to discover about others buried there. It is the only cemetery in Marshall County to be included in the Alabama Historic Register.
The Arab Historic Village has become one of the most widely-toured historic destinations in the Southeast. Development of the village began in 1991 as a centennial project to honor and pay tribute to the pioneer-spirited settlers who built the area into the prosperous, community-minded city it is today. Nestled just behind the Arab City Park, the complex showcases 10 historic buildings that portray a North Central Alabama rural community of that time. All have been preserved with authentic furnishings and décor that date back to the 1880s to 1940s.
The Arab Historical Society invites you to grab some friends to take a tour of the Arab Historic Village. It’s also the ideal learning experience for school field trips. Students will learn firsthand what life was like in the 1880s to 1940s, including going to school in a one-room schoolhouse. The current cost for a field trip is $5 per student, which includes a snack. Covered pavilions are a few steps away at Arab City Park, so feel free to bring a sack lunch and make a day of it.
In cooperation with the City of Arab and the Arab Parks and Recreation Department, the Arab Historical Society continues to develop the Arab Historic Village and seeks grant funding to help with future development costs.
Other Events of Note
Several other festivals occur throughout the year. The most notable is SugarFest, a one-day festival on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. It is organized by a group of community leaders who are dedicated to promoting culture and community for the city and surrounding area. The event features a 5K “Sugar Rush” run; Miss SugarFest pageant; “Sweetie Pie” kids area with carnival-themed rides, games, rock climbing, obstacle course, swimming, and a newly opened Splash Pad; and a marketplace brimming with a juried arts and crafts show and food trucks offering a delicious variety of food and drinks. The “Sweet Rides” cruise-in brings cars from all over the region. There is even an air-conditioned football lounge to accommodate and acknowledge the kick-off of the College Football season.
After dark, SugarFest features a headliner concert that brings music lovers from near and far. The night is capped off with a spectacular grand-finale fireworks show that is both thrilling and entertaining for all ages. There are all kinds of other events throughout the day and night, making this one of the most awaited occasions of the year. There is truly something for everyone, so bring a lawn chair, stay awhile, and enjoy the family-friendly day of activities.Community Website, Facebook,
740 North Main Street, Arab, AL 35016 | 256-586-3544