Whether you live in Tuscaloosa or are just passing through, it is worth the time to stop and check out some of the local historical properties. The Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society was founded in 1966, and members work hard to maintain the historical properties in the area. The following are definitely worth a visit.
The Battle-Friedman House
This historical property was built in around 1835 by North Carolina native Alfred Battle, who had moved to Tuscaloosa back in 1821. At the time, the home and its outbuildings took up a full city block. At first, it had two front parlors, the above rooms, and a central hallway. Before the Civil War, the rear rooms and the columned porch were added. Bernard Friedman, a Hungarian immigrant and local merchant, bought the building in 1875. His descendant, Hugo Friedman, willed it to the city in 1965. The exterior is charming with stucco over brick that resembles red marble, while the front porch features square columns in the Tuscaloosa style. Inside, you will find elaborate plasterwork.
Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion
This mansion was built by Sen. Robert Jemison Jr. between 1859 and 1862, and it was incomplete at the end of the Civil War. The house was technologically ahead of its time. It was the first in the city of Tuscaloosa to feature full plumbing in the bathroom. It also had a private gas plant for gas illumination. Most of the building’s materials were from Jemison’s plantations, with slaves doing most of the work. The main floor was restored to the original appearance from the 1860s.
2601 Bryant Drive, or the Murphy-Collins House, was built during the early 1920s by Will J. Murphy, the first licensed black mortician in Tuscaloosa. The property even features salvaged materials from the burnt-down state capitol several blocks away. Today, the house is the Murphy African American Museum, which examines the lifestyle of affluent black Americans in the early 1900s.
The Old Tavern
The Old Tavern was built in 1827 by innkeeper William Dunton, originally three blocks from the current location. It is one of the few 19th century inns still in the state, showing off early commercial architecture. After temporarily housing numerous people, both famous and not, as an inn, it was a private residence between 1882 and 1964. In 1964, the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society relocated the building and restored the property.