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Older Tuscaloosa buildings

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Keeping in mind that nearby Birmingham wasn't founded until 1871, Tuscaloosa was one of the more important places in this part of Alabama in the 1800s ...

Many of the following photos come from

University of Alabama President's mansion (one of 4 buildings on campus spared by Union forces):


Gorgas Home (first building on UofA campus, 1829):


Some of the old homes downtown :



Drish House, 1837:


Battle-Friedman House Museum (1835):


The first part of the following was built in 1822 :


1835 :


"University Club" was Alabama governor's mansion in the 1840s & is in the process of $2.5 million in renovations to comply with American With Disabilities Act:


Capitol Park ruins (old state capitol building until 1846, burned in 1923):


Also at Capitol Park is the Old Tavern, which was a stagecoach inn in the 1820s:


DePalma's restaurant is in the ground floor of the old First National Bank building, built in 1871:


Across the street from DePalma's is the Mellow Mushroom. I don't remember that far back, but it used to be a Belk-Hudson department store (called "Belly Hudson" by some of the old-timers, for some reason):


The Civil War-era Jemison-VandeGraaff mansion is currently the home of the visitor bureau. The Jemison family was the most prominent in Tuscaloosa at the time of the Civil War, and VandeGraaff was best known for the particle accelerator:


Currently, the following old building is the home of a local construction company's offices, and has a 6-foot inflatable elephant on the balcony :


The old Tuscaloosa High School downtown (where my mother went to school) was built in the 1920s, and now serves as the home of the city school administration:



1800s jail:


The building on the right is the Bama Theatre, built in 1938. Classic and independent films sometimes show there now. Adjoining it is the old city hall, with the words "city hall" still inscribed in the concrete.


After the Civil War, some of the first new buildings at the university were in an area called Woods Quad, and have gothic influences :



UofA Denny Chimes bell tower, built in 1929:


UofA sorority row:


Murphy Home (now African-American Museum) downtown was built in the 1920s, and includes some salvaged bricks and such from the old state capitol :


Shirley Place, 1840, downtown Northport:


Old Tannehill Ironworks, located halfway between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham :


Though poor and rural in nature, Hale and Greene counties are officially considered part of metro Tuscaloosa, and had rather well-to-do plantation economies in the 1800s.

Greene County :

There are over 50 antebellum structures around the poor town of Eutaw, about 35 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa.

Rosemount "most grandly conceived mansion in Alabama":


1821 mansion owned by a brother of a signer of the Declaration of Independence:


1860 Kirkwood Plantation (Part of "Jaws of Satan" filmed there):


Bed & breakfast built in 1908:


Forkland is at the southern end of Greene County:


I couldn't find any good photos of historic buildings in Hale County, which was originally part of Greene County. The town of Greensboro is similar to Eutaw, in that it is so small and poor and pitiful now, but digging a little deeper, one can find lots of old architecture and history. Greensboro has over 35 antebellum structures, probably the best known of which is Magnolia Grove. The University of Alabama is trying to assist Greensboro, by helping the community restore its decades-shuttered opera house, and by establishing the Hale County African-American "Safe House" Museum, where MLK stayed.

Downtown Greensboro (featured in Depression-Era book :"Let Us Now Praise Famous Men"), 30-35 miles south of Tuscaloosa:


Moundville is on the Hale County-Tuscaloosa County line. Most of the town is on the Hale side, but the archaelogical park is in Tuscaloosa County.

Here's a look at what the moundbuilding community (900-1500AD) looked like :


Much like today's "gated communities," only the better off lived inside the gates, with the poorer classes living in outlying areas to farm. At its height, there were about 1,000 people in the community, with 10,000 in surrounding areas.

Even though it's 800 years later, the town of Moundville still has just about 1,000 residents, and people in outlying areas still farm.

The Bevill Visitors Center is the visitor center for the Tenn-Tom Waterway System.

Despite the "historic" look, it's a modern structure located in Pickensville, a small town 50 miles or so west of Tuscaloosa in Pickens County, which is not part of metro Tuscaloosa, but missed very narrowly (24% of Pickens County workers commute to Tuscaloosa County):


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Mobile; founded 1711.


Actually, Mobile was founded in 1702, after Dauphin Island was settled in 1699.

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