10 Historic Places to See in Tuscaloosa

Everyone knows Tuscaloosa as home to the University of Alabama but not many realize all the historically significant

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It should be no secret that Tuscaloosa is full of historic locations! Here are the 10 that we don’t think you should miss on your next visit to Tuscaloosa!

 Moundville Archaeological Park and Museum near Visit Tuscaloosa is a Mississippian culture archeological site on the banks of the Black Warrior River.  Extensive research by archeologists all over the country have determined that the site was the political and ceremonial center of a regionally organized Mississippian culture between the 11th and 16th centuries. Today, the park encompasses 185 acres and 29 mounds.

Moundville Archaelogical Park and Museum display

 Denny Chimes: The idea of erecting a bell tower on the University of Alabama campus was initially suggested in 1919. It was envisioned as a war memorial for those who fought in World War. Due to a lack of funding for its construction, the project never materialized. In the late 1920s, university students were finally successful in collecting the necessary funding to construct a tower, although not as a war memorial. It was done to dedicate the structure to university president George Denny, after learning of a rumor that he was looking to leave the university. The tower was built at a final cost of $40,000. It was dedicated on May 27, 1929, with Governor Bibb Graves in attendance. Today, it serves as one of the most focal points on campus. 

Denny Chimes and historic marker that tells the history

   Paul Bryant Museum: Located on the campus of the University of Alabama, the museum opened its doors to the public on October 8, 1988. It exhibits artifacts and memorabilia that trace the long history of University of Alabama football. State-of-the-art displays enhanced by videos highlighting great players, plays, and games are produced from the museum’s archives.

A glimpse in the Paul Bryant Museum on the campus of the University of Alabama

   Battle-Friedman House:  The Battle-Friedman House and Gardens is a stunning property in Visit Tuscaloosa that has stood the test of time and war to become a tourist attraction and a wedding venue. Built in 1835 by Alfred Battle, the home was built because Battle wanted to be closer to the city. The Battle Family owned the property until Reconstruction. The Friedman Family purchased the home and proceeded to raise their three children here throughout the 1900s. The Friedman family owned the house until 1965 when it was willed by Bernard’s youngest son, Hugo Friedman to the City of Tuscaloosa. The house is available for touring every Tuesday-Saturday at 2:30 pm. Group and school tours are also available by calling the Preservation Society at 205-758-2238 or emailing them at info@historictuscaloosa.org. Love the look and feel of the Battle-Friedman House? You can also rent our space for private parties, meetings, and events!

Exterior look at the Battle-Friedman House

   Jemison Van De Graff Mansion was built in Tuscaloosa by Alabama state senator Robert Jemison, Jr. between 1859-1863. The Italianate style home was spared no expense in its construction which included running water, flush toilets, and a copper bathtub. Two other famous names in Tuscaloosa called the house home. William Van de Graaff was Alabama’s first All-American football player and his brother, Robert Van de Graaff was a brilliant physicist most well-known for his invention of the Van de Graaff Generator. Robert’s accomplishments led to him being known as the Father of Modern Physics. The Mansion is available for touring every Tuesday-Saturday at 3:30pm. Group and school tours are also available by calling Historic Tuscaloosa at 205-758-2238 or emailing them at info@historictuscaloosa.org.

Split level interior photo from the Jemison Van De Graff Mansion

  Foster Auditorium: Located at the spot where Governor George Wallace tried to prevent Vivian Malone and James Hood from entering and registering for classes at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963, leading to one of the most iconic moments in Civil Rights history.

Historic marker seen outside the Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama

   Civil Rights Tour: with 18 stops across the city, including a major focus on Bloody Tuesday, this tour is a must for all visitors and residents of Tuscaloosa. You will find out of the lost history to the city. 

The flier used to advertise the Civil Rights Trail in Tuscaloosa

   Capitol Park: This park was the site of the Alabama Capitol when Tuscaloosa was the seat of state government from 1826-1846. In 1847 the capitol was moved to Montgomery, and the building became the home of the Alabama Central Female College. A visible reminder of the old capitol building that burned in 1923 is the stone foundation and two small columns.

Capitol Park in Tuscaloosa

   Old Tavern: Built by Innkeeper William Dunton in 1827 just three blocks from where the home sits now, the home serves as a tavern and hotel on the stagecoach route. So many people passed through these days, and we can only imagine what they would say if these old walls could talk. Legislators, soldiers, and politicians rested their weary heads here while from 1831-1835 it served as the temporary home of Governor John Gayle. The Tavern is available for touring every Tuesday-Saturday at 1:30 pm. Group and school tours are also available by calling Historic Tuscaloosa at 205-758-2238 or emailing them at info@historictuscaloosa.org.

The from of the Old Tavern. Behind it is Capitol Park

   Evergreen Cemetery began as family plots for. Tuscaloosa citizens in the mid-nineteenth century. An 1857 letter to the editor in the Tuscaloosa Independent Monitor described citizens’ growing frustration with the maintenance of Greenwood Cemetery, leading many to “remove the remains of their friends to the new cemetery, Evergreen. Evergreen was still referred to as the New Cemetery over 30 years later in an article from the Tuscaloosa times.

Evergreen Cemetery historic marker in the shadows of Bryant-Denny Stadium


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