Florence, Alabama, the seat of Lauderdale County. It is in the Muscle Shoals area, 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Birmingham. Florence is the largest of the “Tri-Cities” (Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia), which lie on the Tennessee River near Wilson Dam, operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Major plants produce aluminum and other primary metals, steel, chemicals, and rubber. The city has rail and air service. It is the seat of the University of North Alabama and is the birthplace of W. C. Handy, “Father of the Blues.” Florence was incorporated in 1826.