Tuscumbia, AL Part II: Pillows and Parks
Tuscumbia, AL - Events of Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011
Our next sightseeing outing was motivated partly by fun and partly by necessity. Paul has been complaining lately that, although his pillow isn't that old, it seems to be getting a lot harder. We figured we would look for a Bed, Bath and Beyond once we got to our next stop so Paul could check out a new pillow. Then Margery noticed a write-up in a tourist magazine we got at the campground office for the Pillow Factory Outlet Store about 10 minutes away in Muscle Shoals. Not only did the Pillow Factory Outlet sell pillows, they made them on the premesis, and their website said they also had factory tours.
Muscle Shoals is named for the shoals along the Tennessee River in that area. Shoal is another name for shallow water. There are several theories about where the "muscle" part of the name came from, but the one that seems most logical is it a mis-spelling on the part of early settlers of the word "mussel" referring to the large numbers of fresh-water mussels that live in the shallow waters.
The Pillow Factory seems to specialize in supplying pillows to high-end hotels and motels, but they also sell pillows, comforters, and other bedding to the public in their online store and at their factory outlet.
The Pillow Factory uses European down, feathers, Comforel hypo-allergenic polyester, or a combination of those fill materials to make their pillows. The best part is they will customize your pillow at no charge while you wait. If you want a softer, flatter pillow, they will open the pillow up and take fill out. If you want a plumper, firmer pillow, they will add fill.
Paul was interested in a Comforel pillow because of his allergies and because they are more affordable than down. Pure down pillows can run over $100, whereas polyester-filled pillows cost much less. Unlike some polyester pillows that contain a wad of continuous fiber, Comforel is made up of small clusters of chopped polyester fibers that make the pillow feel more like it is filled with down. Comforel won't last as long as a good down pillow, but the price is much more affordable.
We were greeted by a very friendly and helpful lady who turned out to be the owner. She showed Paul samples of all their pillows and explained the virtues of each. Paul chose a Comforel pillow, but he thought it was a little too high and firm. No problem. The pillow went back into the shop to have some of the filling removed. We asked if we could tag along to watch the process.
It is a pretty small operation. We saw only two employees besides the owner. One worker was filling pillows. Down is drawn from the storage bin located in the small building next door and is fluffed by air flow in the large, blue bin behind the worker in the next photo. He places a pillow case over the small, round nozzle that is by his elbow to the right, and filling is blown into the pillow case. He is checking the weight to make sure the pillow has the proper amount of fill.
The other worker sews the pillows and adds the "Do Not Remove" tag. By the way, it is legal for the purchaser to remove the tag. The worker is shown below sewing up Paul's pillow after removing several handsfull of Comforel.
Next, the worker places the pillows into a plastic bag, which she then places into a machine that flattens the pillow to only about an inch thick to force out most of the air to save space for shipping. The machine then seals the bag. We obviously weren't going to have Paul's pillow shipped, but they offered to demonstrate the machine for us. When the bag is opened, the pillow pops back to its original fluffiness.
Margery got a water-filled pillow years ago from our chiropractor. It has a vinyl chamber for water on the bottom and polyester fill material on the top for comfort. The height of the pillow can be adjusted by changing the amount of water in the chamber. The water pillow really helped relieve Margery's neck pain. The Pillow Factory sells a few types of pillows that they don't make such as those made from memory foam and also water-filled pillows. Since Margery's water pillow is old and the padding is getting pretty hard, so she decided to get a new one. The next photo shows Paul and the owner holding up Margery's new pillow.
On our way back to the motor home, we made a stop in Tuscumbia at Spring Park. Spring Park is located right near the downtown business district. The park features a spring-fed lake that supplies the city's drinking water, picnic and playground areas, a small number of amusement rides, and the world's largest man-made, natural-stone waterfall. Cold Water Falls, which is shown in the photo below, is 48 feet high and 80 feet wide and has a flow of over 4 million gallons of water a day.
The lake has a memorial fountain dedicated to Princess Im-Mi-Ah-Key, who was the wife of Chief Tuscumbia for whom the town is named. On weekends, there is a water show where the 51 water jets and lights are timed to music.
Tuscumbia was located along the Trail of Tears, which was the route followed by Native Americans (Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw and Chocktaw) during their relocation from the southeastern United States to the western states. The Indian Removal Act was signed into law in 1830 by Andrew Jackson. We learned a little about the Indian Removal Act when we visited Andrew Jackson's home recently when we were in Nashville. Click here to read our post about Andrew Jackson's home.
Tuscumbia was sympathetic to the plight of the Indians, and many townspeople provided for the needs of the Indians as they traveled through the area by giving them clothing and food. A sculpture called Sacred Tears stands in the park to commemorate the Indians' suffering.
There is also a chainsaw carving of an Indian brave that stands about 20 feet tall.
We had a pleasant walk partway around the lake, then headed back to the motor home.
The weather was cool when we arrived, but the daytime temperatures had finally risen into the 70s. However, nights were still cool, and the forecast was calling for another cooling trend so it was time to head south again. We'll tell you where we went in our next post.