CFA Gathering in Huntsville - announcement

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Don't miss out on all the fun, there will be Clouds from all parts of the nation gathering in Huntsville for our annual get together.

Plenty of great fellowship, interesting discussion groups, Cloud data exchange and just a great get together.

July 14-16, 2000
Huntsville, Alabama
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The Huntsville Hilton Hotel
401 Williams Ave
Huntsville, AL 35801
Meeting Site:   Downtown Huntsville
on Big Spring Lagoon
across from Von Braun Center

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Friday 7/14/2000   There will be informal gatherings and visits to local sites of interest on Friday. During the afternoon a hospitality room (vonBraun Room) and registration desk will be set up in the hotel for the convenience of attendees. This is a good time to greet old friends and long-lost cousins, meet members of various Cloud families, and enjoy the fellowship and enlightenment available.
  We will gather in the Milltown Room (next door to the vonBraun Room) on Friday evening for our family introductions, words of wisdom from our officers (including Historian Jan Cloud), and presentations by one or more of our other members. The exact schedule of presentations for the Friday and Saturday sessions is still being developed. Presentations during Friday and Saturday sessions will include:  

1. An brief overview presentation by Kenny Cloud of a CD that contains Cloud Family Journals of the past 23 years. (He will be available later to show it to individuals and small groups as interest dictates.)

2. A historical presentation by Tom King, Sr. (CFA member from Escondido, CA),  whose Cloud ancestors migrated to Madison County (AL) shortly after 1800.

3. An overview presentation by Raymond Shirley of his findings in Tennessee records as compiled by WPA crews.

4. A briefing by Annewhite Fuller, Manager of the Heritage Room of the Huntsville-Madison-County Library, on resources available in Huntsville.

The Cloud Family Association records as well as the back issues of the Journal will be available in the VonBraun Room during the entire weekend.

Annual Meeting on Saturday   The Annual CFA business meeting  on Saturday will start at 9:00 a.m. in the Milltown Room and be followed by a seminar.
Morning Session
  We will continue presentations and discussions from Friday evening.
  The morning session will be followed by the annual luncheon in the Heritage Ballroom.

The Luncheon will cost $20.00 for adults. A special plate ("chicken fingers" lunch) will be available for children, ages  5-12, at $8.00.

Saturday's luncheon speaker will be Robert S. Davis, Jr., Director of the Family & Regional History Program at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL.  He had much experience in the Georgia State Archives before being recruited by Wallace State. He is the author of at least 14 books published on history and genealogy. Much of his attention has been focused on the Revolutionary War period in the southeastern states.

  We will continue in the Milltown Room with historical presentations and discussions started in the earlier sessions.

Mr. Davis will stay with us and be the featured speaker in this session.

  On Saturday evening we have a genealogical research workshop led by Jan Cloud (tentative, could shift to another time slot) in the Milltown Room. The vonBraun Room will continue to be available for smaller conferences.
Sunday Tour
(Cost: $15 for adults and $11 for children 3-12)
  We have scheduled a bus tour of Old Huntsville, Cloud Town (New Hope, AL), Cloud's Cove, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Redstone Arsenal), the Cummins Research Park, UAH, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. We will be able to see Space Station hardware at MSFC. An IMAX movie, lunch facilities, a world class (possibly the world's finest) space and rocketry exhibit, simulators, and some thrill rides at the Space and Rocket Center, which is open until 5:00 p.m. The bus is scheduled to return to the Hilton at 1:30 p.m. to accommodate those with travel plans, but other arrangement can be made.

We have reservations for the IMAX movie "To Be An Astronaut" at 12:10, but "Destiny in Space" (1:50 or 4:20) or "Michael Jordan to the Max" (12:50 or 5:10) can be substituted with advanced notice. 

Lunch will be available at the Food Court, which features salads (Chef's Salad is recommended), sandwiches, pizza, etc. Typical lunch cost is $5 to $8 (not included in tour price).  

We will pass the Earlyworks Museum, and Constitution Hall Village on the bus tour, but touring these facilities should be scheduled for later Sunday or another day. The Burritt Historic Park and Museum should also be scheduled separately (opens at noon on Sundays). 

The same prices apply to individual admissions without benefit of the special Cloud tour.

Monday   The annual AIAA International Propulsion meeting will be held in Huntsville during the week of 7/17/2000.

For those in the aerospace/defense industry, this is a good opportunity to enjoy the Cloud Family Gathering on a business trip (expense account, save the company money on airfare with a Saturday stay, or at least make it a tax deductable trip). The Hilton is a headquarters hotel, with major gatherings at the VBC accross the street.

For those not in the aerospace/defense industry, this suggests that extra time be spent in Huntsville before the Gathering rather than afterwards, when trips to Montgomery, Birmingham or Nashville might be of interest to some.

In Huntsville

  We have a special rate of $65. (The standard rates today are $99-$109.) This applies to rooms occupied as early as 7/12/00. It would also apply to rooms occupied through 7/18/00, but we understand that none are available at any price 7/16/00 through 7/20/00.

The Hilton Hotel phone number is (256) 533-1400.
Reservations can also be made with 1-800-445-8667 through 14 June; but, these folks (500 different operators) are not familiar with local circumstances are not as likely to get you what you want. It's worth a try, but don't be discouraged it this doesn't work; call 256-533-1400 to resolve problems. Our contact is Jennifer Copeland, and she will handle complaints. She says that non-smoking rooms will be provided to the extent possible on check-in although the reservations computer may not now show that these can be guaranteed. Advice: book whatever is said to be available for the discounted rate and request "non smoking" even if not guaranteed. 

Other Things To Do in Huntsville
    The Hilton is well situated in downtown Huntsville with plenty of parking for guests. It's on the Big Spring Lagoon; next door to the Hunstville Madison County Public Library (very good historical/genealogical holdings in Heritage Room); two blocks from Madison County Courthouse (with Cloud property since about 1806), Constitution Hall Village (where Alabama's statehood was initiated), and Early Works Museum (hands on displays of 19th century technology); near Huntsville Depot Museum (serving the Memphis & Charleston in 1860; now filled with model trains, robotic staffers, video presentations, and tours of historic relics), next door to new Art Museum (world class exhibitions on occasions), and accross street from VonBraun Center. The Burritt Museum (includes pioneer village), Cloud's Cove (not an attraction for typical visitors), and the Space and Rocket Center are attractions a short drive out.
Tours, Shopping,
and Public Transportation
  The City of Huntsville operates the Huntsville Shuttle bus system. There are ten city routes plus a Tourist Loop. The Von Braun Center (across the street from the Hilton) is a major stop on the Tourist Loop. The Tourist Loop serves the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Botanical Garden, and the city's largest shopping mall. All routes connect at the Huntsville Depot Museum, except one that connects with three others at another shopping center. Busses run 6:40 a.m. until 6:40 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:40 until 7:10 on Saturday. (They do not run on Sunday.)
Shopping   The city's largest shopping mall is Madison Square Mall, on University Drive at Rideout Rd. in the western part of the city (at intersection of US-72 and AL-265). The closest outlet mall is at Boaz, 50 miles south on US431. The most unusual shopping in the area is at Unclaimed Freight in Scottsboro, 40 miles east on US-72.
Library Holdings   As time approaches, researchers may want to determine what books of particular interest may be in the library here. These can be searched at:

Hours of operation of the Main Library (including the Heritage Room) are:
Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
Friday & Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Courthouse   The Madison County Courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. This is a short walk from the Hilton. (Much of the historical information contained here is also available in the Heritage Room of the Public Library, even closer to the Hilton.)

Getting Here

Access by Air   Nonstop flights to Huntsville &
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By Air (number of nonstop inbound jet flights per day):

  • from Atlanta - Delta - nine (9)
  • from Charlotte - USAir - four ( 3 + 1*)
  • from Chicago - American  - two* (2)
  • from Cincinnati - Delta - three* (3)
  • from Dallas - American - four (4)
  • from Memphis - NW - three* (3)
  • from Houston - Continental - four* (4)
  • from Washington-Nat'l - USAir - three* (3)

* indicates regional jet aircraft

The Hilton provides a courtesy shuttle to and from the airport. Call in advance or on arrival.

Driving from the airport: take eastbound I-565 to exit 19A, stay in "Clinton Ave" lanes through cloverleaf, turn right/east on Clinton, go about three blocks to Monroe, turn right on Monroe in front of the VonBraun Center (civic center), go to next traffic light at Williams, turn left on Williams, Hilton will be on right. (Open parking, but access will be limited to hotel guests and diners if there is an event at the civic center.)

Access by Highway   From Birmingham (98 miles): take I-65 to I-565 at milemarker 340, proceed east on I-565 to exit 19A, stay in "Clinton Ave" lane through the cloverleaf, turn right/east on Clinton, go about three blocks to Monroe, turn right on Monroe in front of VonBraun Center, go to next traffic light at Williams, turn left on Williams, Hilton will be on right.

From Nashville (139 miles): take I-65 to I-565 and follow directions above. (Or, 14 miles shorter via two-lane AL-53 from TN state line to AL265, then AL265 to I-565 and follow directions above.)

From Memphis: take Alt. US-72 to I-565 and follow directions above.

From Chattanooga (105 miles of fast four-lane): take I-24 to US-72 and then US-72 to Huntsville. Take I-565 (toward downtown and "airport"), take second exit (Washington St.), turn left onto Jefferson St. (for one long block), turn right on Monroe St. (for several blocks), pass VonBraun Center and Big Spring Lagoon, turn left on Williams Ave., and see Hilton on right.



From Atlanta there are several decent routes, but the really good one (160 miles along the Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta interstate) is still on the drawing boards. No one route is favored by a majority of those who travel Atlanta to Huntsville. Here are several to consider:

1. From Atlanta by best marked route (193 miles of four-lane highway):  take I-20 west to US431, north on US431 to Huntsville. Right on Monroe (just before reaching US231), two blocks on Monroe to Williams, right on Williams to Hilton in first block on right. (This route is favored by many who occasionally go to Atlanta, particularly the south side, and can avoid rush hours in Anniston,  Gadsden, and Boaz in AL.)

2. From Atlanta north side (180 miles): take I-75 north to GA-20, west on GA-20 to US-41 and then US411, south on US411 to AL68, west on AL 68 to AL75, left/west on AL75 to US431, north on US431 to Huntsville. Right on Monroe (just before reaching US231), two blocks on Monroe to Williams, right on Williams to Hilton in first block on right.

3. From Atlanta north side (about 175 miles): take I-75 north to GA-140 at Adairsville, west on GA-140 to US-27, US-27 to Summerville, west on GA-48 to Cloudland; west on AL-117 to Al-40, west on AL-40 to Al-35, west on AL-35/40 to US-72 at Scottsboro, west on US-72 to Huntsville, Take I-565 (toward downtown and "airport"), take second exit (Washington St.), turn left onto Jefferson St. (for one long block), turn right on Monroe St. (for several blocks), pass VonBraun Center and Big Spring Lagoon, turn left on Williams Ave., and see Hilton on right. (This is claimed to be fastest route: combining fast four-lane, decent two-lane, scenic/winding two-lane, and few traffic lights; but, inconsistent route markings.)

4. From Atlanta by fast four-lane highway: take I-75 to I-24 near Chattanooga, west on I-24 to US-72 at Kimball (TN), west on US-72 to Huntsville. Take I-565 (toward downtown and "airport"), take second exit (Washington St.), turn left onto Jefferson St. (for one long block), turn right on Monroe St. (for several blocks), pass VonBraun Center and Big Spring Lagoon, turn left on Williams Ave., and see Hilton on right. (Total mileage is 220 miles - route recommended by some & avoided by others.)  

5. From Atlanta by interstate: take I-20 to Birmingham and follow directions from there. (Total distance is 246 miles - good if you are interested in Birmingham or just must have interstate highway.)

Other Information

Contact   Any questions about the weekend can be forwarded to Cecil Stokes.
Register   Please return the registration form and payment for the luncheon to Linda Boose 508 Crestwood, Eastland, TX 76448. Make checks payable to: Cloud Family Association.
Who will be there?   The gathering usually consists of regular attendees, sometime attendees, and first-timers in about even numbers. Interest can substitute for CFA membership, but joining CFA is certainly easy.

There will be some CFA members here who have been getting together over a period of over 20 years. Some of these are clearly related, some have searched in vain for 20 years without finding kinship, and some don't care.


How will we benefit?   Everyone meets new people, everyone shares at least one interest, everyone has a chance to talk with folks who can tell them something new about one Cloud family or another,  and most everyone comes away with new knowledge of Cloud family histories and resources for learning more.

There will be journals and other literature to review and possibly copy, maps to inspect, possibly a book or two to buy, Internet sites and addresses to note, and possibly disks to copy. Buying stuff has never been a big part of these meetings, but the Cloud Family Journal CD to be introduced this year could change that by popular demand.

How will they dress?   There will probably be someone to show up in a tie, and he will probably be introduced as a guest speaker. Everyone else will be dressed comfortably for a leisurely summer weekend. (See photos.)
Invitation   "Ya'all Come!!!"
--- Cecil Stokes, CFA 2ndVP and host for this gathering


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Posted 7/18/99; Last Updated 6/11/00

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