Cahawba served as Alabama’s state capital from 1819 to 1826. During which time it was a thriving antebellum river town. A town conceived by William Wyatt Bibb, first governor of Alabama, once featured large mansions, the finest hotels, numerous stores, a theater, state bank, and two ferries. However devastation was eminent: the 1819 economic panic then two years of yellow fever led critics to call for moving the capitol to a new location. December 13, 1825, the governing body voted to relocate the capital to Tuscaloosa; there in turn bring hard times upon the city. Within months the population dropped to near 300. In 1866, the state legislature moved the count set to nearby Selma, with businesses and families soon following. Many packed their houses, board by board, and moved to the surrounding communities and towns. Today, only handful of ruins remain. Visitors can walk or bike the abandoned streets, cemeteries and grassy ruins of the former prominent southern town.