Alabama Music Office.com goes to Horse Pens 40 to attend Jam For Duane 2012 near Steele, Alabama. This is an annual event that honors Duane Allman.
Horse pens 40 is a historic outdoor nature park, a natural wonderland of unique rock formations nestled atop Chandler Mountain in the foothills of the Appalachians. Located on top of the third highest mountain in Alabama at 1500' above sea level, it is blessed with a moderate climate that allows everyone to enjoy it's beauty year-round. The stone formations here are said to be among the oldest naturally exposed stones in the world, dating from 600 million to 1.3 billion years old.
There are over 60 rare, threatened, protected, or endangered species in the park, and because of this, our goal is to protect all native species here as if they are an endangered species.
NOTE: Due to it's very fragile ecosystem, HP40 is a "LEAVE NO TRACE" nature park and all guests are expected to do no damage to anything while they are here. No level of damage to any plant, creature, or natural feature here is acceptable or willingly tolerated.
There has been over 15,000 years of human habitation in the natural rock shelters located in the park. Humans have used this area as a place of sanctuary and spiritual renewal for many thousands of years, and continue to do so to this day. The park also contains ancient Indian burial grounds dating from the earliest inhabitants of this area, all the way up to the time of the Cherokee removal known as the "Trail of Tears". The Creek and Cherokee tribes at various times used the natural rock formations to trap and corral horses, as a natural fortress in times of war, and as a shelter and ceremonial area in times of peace. (The only Peace Treaty ever signed between the Creek and Cherokee nations was signed here at Horse Pens 40).
During the War of Northern Aggression, the folks from the lowlands brought their children, horses, possessions, and valuables here to hide them from both the Yankee invaders and the Confederate recruiters and 'Bushwhackers'. Discovered by the Confederates, it was then used for storage of supplies to be distributed to Confederate troops as they passed nearby. These rocks also contain several outlaw hideouts which were used for many years. The famous Alabama outlaw Rube Burrow had a hideout here, complete with a stable, hidden passages, and a secret stone door to allow for escape if necessary.
In the 1880's, the area was settled by a young couple named Hyatt, who had come here from Georgia. The original deed refers to "the home 40, the farming 40, and the horse pens 40", each tract consisting of 40 acres of land. This is how Horse Pens 40 got it's name. Descendants of the original Hyatt family still occupy nearby areas of the mountain, and we consider ourselves blessed to have them as neighbors and friends.
Around 1958, a newspaperman from Huntsville named Warren Musgrove discovered the acoustic quality of the natural amphitheater and developed the park as a venue for Bluegrass and Southern Gospel Music concerts, as well as local arts and crafts fairs, and other activities. In the early 1960's, Emmylou Harris made her first public appearance here, standing barefoot on a wooden door propped up on the rocks. (She was reportedly paid with a bowl of fruit for this performance).
Since then, many have gotten their start here, such as Three on a String, Marty Stewart, and others. There have been many famous people to appear here, such as Charley Daniels, Ricky Scaggs, Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, "Doc" Watson, Norman Blake, Deacon Dan Crary, Ace Weems and the Fat Meat Boys, The Osbourne Brothers, Sam McGee, Red Clay Ramblers, and many more. During this period, the park was designated by the Alabama State Legislature as "The Home of the South's Bluegrass Music" (Ala. HJR177). It has since become known as one of the top bouldering destinations in the United States. After some hard times brought on by the mismanagement of past owners, the Schultz family bought the park in order to restore it to its former place as a natural and historical park, a world class bouldering site, and as a premere venue for various special events, concerts, and bouldering competitions.
We look forward to welcoming you to historic Horse Pens 40 and will do everything we can to make your stay a pleasant and memorable one. Hope to see you soon!
Come and enjoy the astounding rock formations, the rare plants and animals, and the serenity and clean air atop the mountain at Horse Pens 40!
The Schultz family and the Staff and Friends of Horse Pens 40 cordially invite you to come and enjoy the beauty of Nature and the great outdoors with us. Everyone is welcome to come walk the beautiful trails among the unique and amazing rock formations that gave Horse Pens 40 it's worldwide fame, while listening to the birds and enjoying the solitude and inner peace that can only be found up here on the mountain in the special place known as Horse Pens 40. Bring your picnic lunch or dine in our Country Restaurant which is open Friday thru Sunday. Both RV and primitive camping is available, with bathhouses, hot water showers, huge 50' x 120' covered pavilion, water and elec. hookups, and Country Store and Restaurant on site.