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THE ALABAMA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

Historical Marker Program

Tuscaloosa County

Alabama Corps of Cadets Defends Tuscaloosa

Early on the morning of 4 April 1865, Union Gen John T. Croxton's Cavalry Brigade of 1500 veteran troopers entered the town after fighting the home guard and capturing the covered bridge connecting Northport and Tuscaloosa across the Warrior River. While a detachment of Federals proceeded to capture two pieces of artillery stored at the Broad St. livery stable, Pat Kehoe of the Alabama Insane Hospital hurried to the University of Alabama to warn of the soldiers' approach. University president Landon C. Garland ordered the guardhouse drummers to "beat the long roll" to awaken the 300 sleeping cadets. Quickly forming into ranks, the three companies began their march from campus into town. A platoon from Co. C, under Capt John H. Murfee, formed as skirmishers and forged ahead to the corner of Greensboro Ave. and Broad St. (University Blvd.) where they encountered the enemy from the 6th Ky Cav Regt. In the ensuing firefight, Capt Murfee was wounded along with three cadets, W.R. May, Aaron T. Kendrick and William M. King. The Union pickets then retreated down the hill back toward the bridge.

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Alabama Corps of Cadets Defends Tuscaloosa
The bloodied cadet platoon rejoined the main body of the Corps which had advanced at the sound of fighting. Together they proceeded one block north to the brow of River Hill and took up positions, firing several volleys down on the Union enemy by the river. Learning from a Confederate officer who had been captured and temporarily released by Croxton that the Yankee force included 1500 arms and the two captured cannons, President Garland and Commandant of Cadets Colonel James T. Murfee decided that an attack with teen-aged boys would be a useless sacrifice. The Corps marched the 1˝ miles back to the campus, fortified themselves with what provisions were available, and continued east on Huntsville Rd. Crossing Hurricane Creek some eight miles from town, they unplanked the bridge and entrenched themselves on the east bank. Croxton did not pursue, instead exploding the University's ammunition supplies and setting the campus ablaze. After witnessing the destruction from afar, the cadets marched east, then south to Marion. There, the Corps disbanded with orders to re-form in one month's time; the war ended in the interval.
[2007: University Blvd., Tuscaloosa]

 

Alpha Delta Pi
Organized May 15, 1851
Eta Chapter March 21, 1907

Alpha Delta Pi, the first college secret sisterhood, was organized at Wesleyan Female College, Macon, Georgia, the first women's college to grant academic degrees. Originally identified as Adelpheans, the group had three thousand alumnae and sixty active members in 1905 when it changed its name to Alpha Delta Phi (Pi in 1913) and began to expand nationally. Eta Chapter at the University of Alabama was the first chapter established in the state. Pi Kappa Kappa, the first local sorority at the University, had organized February 6, 1904 and became affiliated with Alpha Delta Phi (Pi) as the Eta Chapter on March 21,1907. Installation ceremonies were held in the rooms of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Eta Chapter went into inactive status in 1909-10 because of the scarcity of eligible women students. Reactivation followed on February 14, 1931.
[1996: University of Alabama campus]

 

Bethany Baptist Church

Constituted 28 Dec. 1832 by Elders Thomas Baines (ancestor of President Lyndon B. Johnson), Holland W. Middleton and Medey White, first Pastor. First Deacons were Henry Fox, Thomas Fox, and David Denton. One of 13 churches organizing Tuscaloosa Baptists Asso. in 1834. Bethabera Church was organized as a mission in 1843. Rev. Basil Manley, Second President of the University of Ala., often filled the pulpit. He donated a Bible and a set of hymn books in 1851. First two buildings were of log, on land donated by Jesse Hughes in 1838. Present site acquired 1883. Present building constructed 1953.

 

Bethel Baptist Church

Organized May 10, 1834, as Buck Creek Baptist Church. Presiding Clergy: Robert Marsh, Medey White, Thomas Norris and Job Wilson. Building erected in 1836 and renamed Bethel Baptist Church. Larger structure erected 1907. Destroyed by lightning and rebuilt in 1877. In 1890 Mary Jane Thornton from Bethel was the first Baptist missionary from Tuscaloosa County. Served with Lottie Moon in the China Mission. Gov. Lurleen Burns Wallace, as a youth, attended Bethel Church. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Morgan Burns, are buried in the Bethel Cemetery. Marker unveiled April 29, 1984.
[1984]

 

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

Organized in 1881 with Rev. Delaware Jackson first pastor.
Building at Fifth St., now University Boulevard, near Sixth Ave., East. Another site purchased August 1, 1903, and building erected on Sixth Ave., East, at Eleventh St. during pastorate of Rev. McDaniel.
In 1948-49 church was rebuilt of brick in same Castle Hill area. In January, 1965, church moved to present site.
During church's first 100 years, Bro. Jefferson Davis Jackson served as Sunday School Superintendent for 35 years and Rev. O. S. Harvey served as pastor for 43 years.

 

Bethel Presbyterian Church

Originally organized (1818) as Bethel Baptist Church by three ministers-Nathan Roberts, James Baines and Thomas Baines-at home of Jeremiah Jeffery near falls of Black Warrior River. Log building erected at this site (1822) as first church house. Later moved to present site and frame building erected. Church discontinued (1870) because of membership loss.
Bethel Presbyterian Church established on same site (1901) by evangelist D. N. Yarbro. Present structure erected 1948; educational building added 1958.

 

Big Creek Cemetery

William Prude, 15 October 1774-8 January 1833, was the earliest marked burial. Nancy George, died March 26, 1834, was the earliest female burial. Nancy Doughty, March 14, 1747- November 15, 1834, had the earliest marked birth date in the cemetery and probably of all females buried in the county. 24 persons with markers were buried before 1852. 253 persons were buried with markers and 47 unmarked graves as of March 16, 1995. The "Alabama Stone" was found at the mouth of Big Creek 3 miles from this site in 1817, a 204-lb. sandstone rock with carved inscription "HISPAN AT IND REX 1232," presently at AL Dept. of Achieves and History.

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Big Creek Cemetery

Cemetery of Big Creek Baptist Church, the county's third oldest Baptist Church. Organized in 1820. First meeting house at this site adjacent to Bluff Branch School on land donated by James Hendricks. July 1861, "Tuscaloosa Plough-boys" Co. (later Co. "G" 38th Tenn. Regt.), under command of James J. Mayfield (father of AL Supreme Court justice of the same name), met, received uniforms, and entered service here. 10 Civil War, 1 Spanish-American War veterans buried here. Final resting place for many noble men and virtuous women of God. Dedication of markers in July 1995 commemorates 175th Anniversary of this hallowed ground.
[1995: Camp Oliver Rd., Adger]

 

Big Hurricane Missionary Baptist Church

Church meetings were first held on this site sometime between 1827 and 1832, and oral tradition holds that meetings began in 1831. Named for nearby Big Hurricane Creek, the church was officially constituted in September 1838 by 24 members of the Sardis Baptist Church. The church was admitted to the Tuscaloosa County Baptist Association in 1839 and joined the Pleasant Grove Baptist Association in 1941. Through its history, the church has built several buildings in this vicinity to serve the Lord and people of the Brookwood community. Current sanctuary dedicated September 15, 2002
[2006: Brookwood]

 

The Black Warrior River

Plied for thousands of years by Indians, then by early explorers and American settlers, this river extends 169 miles from the Sipsey and Mulberry Forks near Birmingham to its confluence with the Tombigbee at Demopolis. It drains 6228 square miles of one of the world's most ancient watersheds and has 130 species of fish and many rare plants and animals. Part of a navigable waterway system, this point is 339 river miles above Mobile. About 5 billion gallons of water flow past here each day. In the past it was designated as two rivers, the "Black Warrior" upstream and the "Warrior" downstream since Federal funds were appropriated on a per river basis. In the Choctaw language "Tuscaloosa" means Black Warrior.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Black Warrior's Town

One-half mile north was the Creek Indian village known as Black Warrior's Town, of which Oce-Oche-Motla was chief. After Tecumseh's visit in 1811, these Indians became hostile to white settlers. In 1812 Little Warrior brought Mrs. Martha C. Crawley of Tennessee to this Indian Village as a captive. She was rescued by Tandy Walker, a blacksmith, and taken to St. Stephens. This was one of the incidents which led to the Creek War. The village was destroyed in October 1813 by Colonel John Coffee and his Tennessee Volunteers, one of whom was Davy Crockett.
[1974]

 

Bridging the Black Warrior River

On this site in 1834, John Godwin and Horace King built the first river bridge utilizing a wooden lattice truss designed by Ithiel Town. It was damaged by a tornado in 1842, rebuilt in 1852, and destroyed by Union troops in 1865. Horace King built a new wooden bridge in 1872 that was replaced with a 3-span iron bridge in 1882. A higher bridge with a swing span was built in 1895 to allow river traffic. A drawbridge was built in 1922. All of these bridges were approximately 600-feet long and utilized the original 1834 brick piers. In 1974 the Hugh Thomas Bridge was built slightly downstream.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church

Oldest existing Black Presbyterian Church in Alabama. Organized by Dr. Charles A. Stillman as Salem Church in December, 1880. First church building erected 9th Street and 30th Avenue in 1882. First pastors were Reverend B. M. Wilkinson (1889-90) and Reverend I. C. H. Champney (1894-98). In 1915 relocated at 11th Street and 25th Avenue. In 1931 moved to present site. Name changed to Brown Memorial (1932) honoring Dr. R. A. Brown, Superintendent of Home Mission Work, PCUS. Present sanctuary built 1959 under leadership of Reverend Charles H. Williams. Earlier structure converted to Educational Building in 1961.

 

Bryce Hospital

Alabama State hospitals inspired by Dorothea Dix in 1849. Opened 1861. Peter Bryce, J. T. Searcy, and W. D. Partlow were the superintendents during the next 87 years.
[Before 1965: Tuscaloosa]

 

Burns' Shoal

The remains of Burns' Shoals now lie nearly 40 feet underwater. This rock outcropping was the first of the shoals known as the "Falls of Tuscaloosa" and represents the "Fall Line" or contact point of the Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Plateau, which extends nearly 2000 miles to Canada. From here upstream the riverbed is primarily rock while downstream it is sand, silt and gravel. It was head of navigation on the river and thus a primary reason for the founding of Tuscaloosa. It was used as an early ford and bathing site, and later provided a solid foundation for a succession of bridges. During construction of Old Locks One, Two and Three (1888-1895), it was channelized to allow the passage of river traffic.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Byler Road

One-half mile east is a portion of the original Byler Road. Legislation authorizing construction signed into law December 1819, by Alabama's first governor, William Wyatt Bibb. Built by John Byler, it was Alabama's first public road. Opened November 1822, operated as a toll road until 1834. Twelve feet wide, it connected Northwest Alabama and the Tennessee River to the Warrior River at Northport.
Used by early settlers and military forces during War Between the States, it was a factor in the development of many Alabama communities.

Calvary Baptist Church

Organized January 1, 1911, 77 of its 79 charter members came from the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa.  The church was originally named Sage A. Monnish Memorial Baptist Church in memory of the son of charter member F.W. Monnish, who donated the lot and first building adjacent to the northwest corner of the Evergreen Cemetery.  A new building was begun in 1925 just west of the old church on lots given by Mrs. F.W. Monnish, who asked that the church be renamed Calvary Baptist.  Nearly completed, the new structure burned on December 5, 1925, along with most of the old church.  A new, rebuilt sanctuary was dedicated exactly one year later.  The church had strong outreach to university students and experienced unprecedented growth under the leadership of Dr. Horace G. Williams (1933-1960) and Dr. Allan R. Watson (1960-1984).  First Fellowship of Christian Athletes for Alabama organized at Calvary in 1964.  Calvary sponsored missions which became churches in the area: South Highlands, 1953; Skyland, 1967, and Lakewood, 1986.

Centennial 2011

[2011: Paul Bryant Drive, Tuscaloosa]

 

Canaan Baptist Church

Jefferson County's oldest Baptist Church-Organized September 5, 1818 in home of Isaac Brown 3 miles west of Elyton. Met in homes and schoolhouse near Old Jonesboro until 1824. First building erected on site now the 14th Street entrance to Cedar Hill Cemetery. Canaan Association (now Birmingham Baptist Association) was organized there in 1833. Hosea Holcombe, pioneer preacher and historian, was pastor 1822-41. The congregation has worshiped at this present location since 1856.

 

Captain Benjamin F. Eddins

Born in South Carolina in 1813, Benjamin Farrar Eddins raised and led a company of volunteers that served in the 41st Alabama Infantry Regiment. Retired due to ill health, he returned to lead the Home Guards, a militia made up of old men and young boys. While trying to render the covered bridge impassable to Federal troops on the night of April 3, 1865, he and 15-year-old John Carson were wounded in a skirmish with Croxton's Raiders. Later that evening, Mayor Obediah Berry and Catholic priest William McDonough surrendered the city on this site. Carson was disabled for life. On April 10, 1865, Capt. Eddins became the only local citizen to die defending the city. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]


Chabannes - Sealy House

The Chabannes - Sealy House was built in 1847 by Hollis C. Kidder. The house passed through several owners until it was sold in 1920 to Julia Nuzon Morris. Her daughter, Julia Morris, married Norbert Chabannes. That family lived here until the house was sold in 2003. Restored in 2005, the house exemplifies the Creole cottage style rarely seen as far north in Alabama as Tuscaloosa. It is distinguished by its gable roof sloping in an unbroken plane from front to back to accommodate a full-length gallery inset into the main body of the house.

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Chabannes - Sealy House

The roof shelters an attic story. This house has the subtle changes that characterized inland examples of the Creole cottage where the roof pitch is less pronounced than in such cottages on the Gulf Coast. When Tuscaloosa fell to Federal troops under General John Croxton in April 1865, horses were quartered in the front hall while soldiers searched the town for food and for Confederate Senator Robert Jemison, who eluded capture. Mounted in the front yard is a cast iron bell forty inches in diameter manufactured by the C.S. Bell Company in Ohio. For decades the bell remained buried upside down in the side yard, with only the bottom rim of the bell visible. The dates of its manufacture and its burial are unknown.
[2007: Tuscaloosa]

 

Castle Hill-Daly Bottom Community

In 1883 the Castle Hill Real Estate and Manufacturing Company began the first eastern expansion of the original 1821 Tuscaloosa city limits. Hoping to stimulate development in the area, the company created a popular amusement park centered around an artificial lake. Portions of this property had belonged to Delaware Jackson, a freed slave who had been given the land for courage and loyalty. In 1881 Jackson organized the Bethel Baptist Church and, in 1917, he donated nearby land for the Baptist Academy, a community school. The name was changed to the Tuscaloosa County Training School for Negroes and later to the Castle Hill Elementary School. "Daly Bottom," the area at the base of the hill closest to the University of Alabama was named for landowner Rafe A. Daly. The Castle Hill/Daly Bottom neighborhood gave birth to Bethel Baptist, Tenth Street Baptist, and two Methodist churches including Tabernacle AME Zion. Many of its residents later distinguished themselves in many walks of life.
[1998: Tuscaloosa]

 

Christ Episcopal Church
Organized January 7, 1828

The second oldest Episcopal Church in Alabama. Construction begun 1829, completed 1830 at cost of $1700. Enlarged and remodeled in 1880 from original Greek Revival design to present Gothic lines. First pews sold to highest bidder; made free in 1849.
Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, first Episcopal Bishop of Alabama, served as rector, 1846-1851. Church bell installed 1830, is still used. A Rectory built 1844, was located where Chapel now stands.
Charter ceremonies for University of Alabama held in this church and Reverend Alva Woods installed as first President, University of Alabama, April 12, 1831.

 

Christian Home
Erected in 1840's

Built by James Shirley, early Tuscaloosa County builder who in the 1850's erected first brick commercial buildings in Northport. Home of William L. Christian (1824-1899), Confederate soldier and local merchant, George W. and Lula Rice Christian, community and church leaders. Federal raised cottage of handmade brick, hand hewn beams and wooden pegs, it is listed in National Register of Historic Places.

 

Coker Baptist Church

Constituted as Big Creek Baptist Church on July 22, 1820 by Daniel Brown and Thomas Baines (ancestor of President Lyndon B. Johnson) with Phillip May as first pastor, Joseph Barrett and Charles Pate as first deacons. As the third oldest church in the county, it was one of the 13 organizing the Tuscaloosa Baptist Association in 1834. Prior to 1864 church records show 148 slaves as members. First located adjacent to Bluff Branch School and Meetinghouse, next to Big Creek Cemetery; moved to its present site in 1944. The name changed to Coker Baptist in 1956. Setting of the marker in July 1995 commemorates the 175th Anniversary of the Church.
[1995: Romulus Rd., Coker]

 

Delta Kappa Epsilon

Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity first Greek letter fraternity at the University of Alabama. Organized by Louis J. DuPré, chapter installed June 20, 1847. First members initiated at Indian Queen Hotel by Charles Foote of Phi Chapter at Yale College.
D.K.E. house built 1916. Because of its location is known as "The Mansion on the Hill."

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Delta Kappa Epsilon

Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity installed at The University of Alabama June 20, 1847. The charer members were: Edward G. Baptist, James I. Bonner, Louis DuPré, Charles F. Henry, Edward L. Jones, John H. Lee, Richard B. Owen, Charles A. Pegues, Thaddeus H. Perry, George W. F. Price, Peyton W. Reynolds, Milford F. Woodruff.

 

Denny Chimes

This tower which has been a symbol for The University of Alabama was built to honor longtime University President George H. Denny who served as president from 1911 to 1936 and again briefly in 1942.
Funds for this project were provided through a student subscription program chartered by a student, Jerry Britchey. The tower was constructed by Skinner, Maxwell and Co. and dedicated May 27, 1929. Governor Bibb Graves presided. This marker was provided by Delta Chi Fraternity in commemorating the 50th year of Denny Chimes.
[1979: University of Alabama campus]

 

Druid City Hospital School of Nursing

Constructed in 1923 through gift of J. T. Horne, this building occupied by Druid City School of Nursing from 1923 to 1947. Used by University of Alabama from 1951 to 1954 to house first state supported collegiate school of nursing in Alabama.

 

First African Baptist Church
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Organized November 1866, with 144 members. The Reverend Prince Murrell, first pastor, served until 1885. A church building located at corner of 4th Street and 24th Avenue was purchased and became place of worship during pastorate of the Rev. James Maston, 1885-1891.
Resolution passed in this church 1873 resulted in establishment of Selma University, Selma, Ala.
Present structure erected 1907 under leadership of the Rev. J. H. Smith. Church annex completed and adjoining property purchased during pastorate of the Rev. W. B. Shealey, 1952-1957. Education building and new parsonage constructed during term of the Rev. T. Y. Rogers Jr., 1963-1971.

 

First Baptist Church

Organized 1818, oldest church in Tuscaloosa County.
First building was of logs. A brick structure completed 1830 and larger one at this site 1884. Educational building erected 1924 and present sanctuary 1958. Sunday School organized here 1830. Influenced by the leadership of the first two presidents University of Alabama: Dr. Alva Wood, 1831; Dr. Basil Manly, 1837, who often filled pulpit. A resolution from this church, 1844, resulted in formation of Northern and Southern Baptist Conventions. Sponsored other churches: Hopewell, 1830; Southside, 1889; Holt, 1903; Calvary, 1910; Westend, 1910; Forest Lake, 1936; and Circlewood, 1948.

 

First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa

Organized 1820. Moved to this site 1830. Present structure erected 1921. Under the leadership of Dr. Charles A. Stillman, minister 1869-1895, it sponsored the founding of Stillman College in 1876. Its bell was the subject of a poem by Samuel Minturn Peck, poet laureate of Alabama.

 

Friedman Home

Battle-Friedman Home
Friedman Civic and Agricultural Center
Built 1835 by Alfred Battle; purchased 1875 by Bernard Friedman; willed to City of Tuscaloosa 1965 by Hugo Friedman.
Traditionally a social and cultural center in Tuscaloosa, it was the residence of Virginia Tunstall Clay-Clopton, author of "Belle of the Fifties" and of the poet Robert Loveman.

 

Geological Survey of Alabama

Established by legislative mandate in 1848, the Geological Survey of Alabama is the oldest scientific agency of the State. In fulfillment of its mission to evaluate the State's mineral, energy, water, and biological resources, the scientists and staff of the Survey document the distribution, abundance, and importance of these resources for the people of Alabama.

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State Geologists of Alabama

Seven geologists have served Alabama as State Geologist during the Survery's 150-year history. Michael Tuorney [1805-1857] served from 1848 to 1857; Eugene Allen Smith [1841-1927], 1873 to 1927; Walter Bryan Jones [1895-1977], 1927 to 1961; Philip E. LaMoreaux, 1961 to 1976; Thomas J. Joiner, 1977 to 1981; Ernest A. Mancini, 1982 to 1996; and Donald F. Oltz, 1996 to present. Beginning in 1939 with Walter B. Jones, all State Geologists served concurrently as Oil and Gas Supervisor for the State Oil and Gas Board.
[1999]

 

Gorgas House

Built 1829 as University dining hall-Remodeled as a residence in 1840-Occupied by Gorgas family 1879-1953.
Gorgas House-Preserved as memorial to: General Josiah Gorgas (1818-1883) Chief of Ordnance Confederacy 1861-1865. President of University 1878-1879. Mrs. Amelia Gayle Gorgas (1826-1913)-University Librarian 1879-1906.
General William Crawford Gorgas (1854-1920) Surgeon General of U.S. Army-Sanitary Engineer whose work assured Panama Canal construction through elimination of Yellow Fever. (Located in Tuscaloosa at Gorgas House)

 

Gorgas-Manly Historic District

Twelve acres of the campus on the University of Alabama including eight buildings designated in the National Register of Historic Places as the Gorgas-Manly District.
The Gorgas-Manly Historic District includes: The Gorgas House (1829), first structure built on the original campus; The Round House (1860), used by cadets on guard duty, another of the four buildings to survive the fires set by Federal troops in 1865; Woods Hall (1868), first building constructed after the Civil War and serving for the next sixteen years as the University; Manly (1886), Clark (1886), Garland (1888) Halls, built as the state began to recover from the Reconstruction Era; Toumey and Barnard Halls (1888), which completed the nineteenth-century University of Alabama campus.

 

Grant's Creek Baptist Church
Fosters, Alabama

Grant's Creek Baptist Church was constituted April 5, 1828, with Rev. Medey White and Robert Marsh (the first pastor) as presbytery. Lewis Stovall was first Church clerk, and James Foster was ordained as the first deacon. The Grant's Creek Sunday School Union was organized Dec. 1827, as the oldest Sunday school in Alabama. In 1832, a building was constructed by member John W. Bealle for $500 which served the Church until 1968, when the present building replaced it. In August 1833, the Baptist State Convention met here and took action leading to the founding of Howard (now Samford) and Judson Colleges.
Four sons of Col. John and Elizabeth Savidge Foster-James, Hardy, Robert S., and John L.S.-settled here beginning in 1818, with their mother and sisters Martha and Elizabeth following. Their families formed the nucleus of a model community in the new state, nurtured and influenced primarily by this church. John Collier Foster was pastor from 1845 to his 1892 death. Martha Foster Crawford (1830-1909) was a missionary to China for 50 years.
[1997]

 

Home Guard Defended Covered Bridge

3 April 1865 - Brig Gen John T. Croxton's Cavalry Brigade departed camp at Johnson's Ferry (Old Lock 17 area) to the Watermelon Road ending in Northport. As the Union troops entered Northport, the Methodist Church bell was rung as a prearranged warning alarm. Armed with 7-shot carbines, 150 troopers of the 2nd Michigan Cav Regt rushed the covered bridge which was defended by about a dozen old men and young boys led by 53-year-old Capt Benjamin F. Eddins. This Home Guard removed 30 feet of the bridge's flooring in a delaying action as they retreated, returning fire with their single-shot weapons. Capt Eddins was seriously wounded and died a week later; 15-year-old John Carson was crippled for life by a bullet. Union casualties of the 2nd Mich Cav Regt numbered 23.
4 April - Croxton's raiders skirmished with the Alabama Corps of Cadets near Greensboro Ave and University Blvd and the brow of River Hill. After the mayor, accompanied by a Catholic priest, surrendered the town, the Union troops burned the main buildings of the State University, the foundry, factories, warehouses and over 2,000 bales of cotton. 5 April - Burning the covered bridge and destroying two captured cannon, Croxton's cavalry departed Tuscaloosa and Northport by way of the Columbus Road (old Highway 82 W).

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Bridging the Black Warrior River

At this junction for all roads converging from the north, east, and west, seven bridges in succession have connected Northport and Tuscaloosa across the Black Warrior River. The first was built in 1834 by then-slave Horace King. Damaged by a tornado in 1842, it was replaced in 1852 by a second bridge - the one defended by the Tuscaloosa Home Guard before its destruction in April 1865. In 1872 a new wooden span was erected, again engineered by King, who had been freed in 1846 and who had become famous as a bridge builder in Alabama and Georgia. A 3-span iron bridge was built in 1882, then replaced in 1895 with a swing-span type to allow the passage of river traffic. A drawbridge was constructed in 1922, standing until the Hugh Thomas Bridge was built slightly downstream in 1974.
[2002: Tuscaloosa]

 

Home of Hudson & Therese Strode

Dr. Hudson Strode (1892-1976)-author, scholar, teacher, and world traveler-and his beloved wife, Therese (1900-1986) lived here from 1941 until their deaths. Professor of English at the University of Alabama (1916-1961): he was renowned for his courses in Shakespeare and Creative Writing, his students publishing 59 novels and innumerable short stories; his authoring of 13 books including a 3-volume biography of Jefferson Davis and editing a volume of Mr. Davis' letters.
Dr. Strode received numerous honors and awards including being knighted by King Gustav VI of Sweden. Famous for their hospitality, the Strodes entertained students, friends and world figures in this house which they bequeathed with its gardens and a generous educational endowment to the University which they loved and served so faithfully.

 

Hopewell Baptist Church

Constituted October 22, 1830 under leadership of Thomas Baines, Medley White and Robert Marsh of Ebenezer (First) Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa. Robert Marsh served as first pastor 1830-1833. John Meek was first minister ordained December 23, 1838. First met at Liberty in log meeting house on this site. Wooden structure built in 1860. Replaced by present building in 1960. Tuscaloosa Baptist Association organized here March 28, 1834.

 

Horace King

Born a slave in South Carolina in 1807, Horace King became a master bridge builder while working with John Godwin. With the aid of Tuscaloosan Robert Jemison, King was freed by act of the Alabama legislature in 1846. He went on to build many bridges and other structures across the South. Revered and respected for his organizational abilities, building skills and personal integrity, he formed the King Brothers Bridge Company with his family after the Civil War. After serving two terms in the Alabama legislature during Reconstruction, he died at LaGrange, GA in 1885. John Godwin and Horace King built the first bridge across the Black Warrior River on this site in 1834.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Hunter's Chapel
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Organized 1866, the first Black Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa. First house of worship, a rented building, was located where Denny Stadium now stands. First structure built by the church completed 1878. Present structure erected 1881, exterior brick added 1910. This church, often called the "father" of Negro education in Tuscaloosa, included a school for children of freed slaves during Reconstruction Era of 1870's. Church named for Rev. E. H. Hunter, who served with distinction as pastor during 1880's. Rev. Felix Sylvester Anderson, pastor, 1933-1936, elected 1960, to office of Bishop, A M E Zion Churches of America and served until retirement, 1972.

 

"The Indian Fires Are Going Out"

The Trail of Tears led thousands of Creek Indians through Tuscaloosa, capital of Alabama in 1836. Chief Eufaula addressed the legislature with these words:
I come here, brothers, to see the great house of Alabama and the men who make laws and to say farewell in brotherly kindness before I go to the far west, where my people are now going. In time gone by I have thought that the white men wanted to bring burden and ache of heart among my people in driving them from their homes and yoking them with laws they do not understand. But I have now become satisfied that they are not unfriendly toward us, but that they wish us well. In these lands of Alabama, which have belonged to my forefathers and where their bones lie buried, I see that the Indian fires are going out. Soon they will be cold. New fires are lighting in the west for us, they say, and we will go there. I do not believe our great Father means to harm his red children, but that he wishes us well. We leave behind our good will to the people of Alabama who build the great houses and to the men who make the laws. This is all I have to say.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Jennings Chapel United Methodist Church

Organized 1847 as first and only Methodist Protestant Church established in Tuscaloosa Co. On this site were first two structures used by Jennings Chapel. The first, a log house built circa 1850 and a clapboard building erected November 1890. Brick structure completed 1956.
John H. Harper, Sr. organized this church, serving as its first pastor for over 30 years. Named for Dr. Samuel K. Jennings, a physician and minister of national note, in early years of Methodist Protestant Church. First trustees were: Dr. Samuel K. Jennings, John H. Harper, Sr., John C. Hamner, Turner P. Hamner, and Richard H. Hamner.

 

Kappa Delta

Zeta Chapter of Kappa Delta first national Greek letter sorority at the University of Alabama. Chapter installed March 12, 1904. First members initiated in the Sigma Nu Hall by Katherine Lovejoy of Theta Chapter at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. First sorority to have Chapter in State of Alabama. Now oldest continuous Kappa Delta Chapter.
First national Greek letter sorority at the University of Alabama. Zeta Chapter installed March 12, 1904. Charter members were: Alice Ashley, Pear Bogles, Mary Cockrell, Louise Crawford, Nell Hopkins, Elta Lamont, Bessie Leach, Eleanor McCorvey, Myrtle Merill, Anna Moody, Mary Moody, Katherine Nickolls, and Mary Parker.

 

The M & O Railroad Trestle

This wooden and steel truss bridge was constructed for the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in 1898 by civil engineer Benjamin Hardaway, an 1887 graduate of The University of Alabama and former Tuscaloosa City Engineer. Originally 135-feet high with a 110-foot clearance, it was once considered by many to be the country's longest trestle at 3600 feet. This bridge, along with Old Locks One, Two and Three, greatly improved transportation in West Alabama and heralded an era of economic development in the early 20th century. In later years the M&O Railroad became successively the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio; the Illinois Central Gulf; and the Kansas City Southern.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Marr's Spring

Located on original land grant to the State of Alabama 1819 to establish a University of Alabama. Named for William M. Marr, Marr's Spring was the water supply for the University for over 75 years.
Restored in 1972 by Chi Omega Sorority, in association with the University of Alabama.

Marr’s Spring

Part of Marr’s Field, on farmland owned by William Marr, this spring was a major factor in the selection of this site for the University of Alabama campus in 1827.  From its opening in 1831 well into the 20th century, the institution relied upon Marr’s Spring as its principal water source.  Water flowing from hillside crevices was collected in these brick cisterns and hauled in buckets to the rooms of students and throughout the campus.  A dam for a swimming pond and bathhouse was constructed, supported by the spring and cisterns.  By the mid-1880s, as the cisterns began to deteriorate, the University considered repairs until deciding, as the 1889 trustees’ minutes recorded, “it has always been considered doubtful whether the plunging and swimming in the very cold water so directly from the spring is conducive to health.”  A 1955 survey found that Marr’s Spring yielded 100 gallons of good, clear odorless water per minute.  The cisterns were renovated in 2010 in an effort to restore the original beauty of this University of Alabama historical landmark.

[2011: University of Alabama]

 

Navigation and Shipbuilding On the Black Warrior River

Navigation improvements to the Black Warrior River (1888-1895) spurred marine commerce throughout the 20th century. Local shipbuilders included the Perkins Brothers, Herman & Son, Corps of Engineers Boatyard, and Baker Towboat. Vessel types included barges, government workboats and towboats. Some of the boats built here were the Black Warrior, Dixie, Gold Bug, Mary, Nelma and R.G. Parker. Numerous navigation companies served the area, six had terminals on the river between Tuscaloosa and Holt in the 1930s. Companies based here included Findlay Towing, Perkins Towboat and Parker Towing.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Northport Baptist Church

Organized 1838 with 41 charter members. The first minister was the Rev. A. K. Atkins. First deacons were J. S. Reynolds, A. R. Pool, and N. Lloyd. Originally named North Tuscaloosa Baptist, changed 1854, to Northport Baptist. A wooden structure erected at this site 1858, the present brick building 1923 and education annex 1969.
Ministers serving this church have been: A. K. Atkins, Robert Adams, Reuben Dodson, T. M. Barbour, John T. Yerby, John Brown, J. H. Foster, J. H. Curry, F. D. Hale, A. J. Battle, A. A. Spiller, H. G. Smith, Samuel H. Henderson, W. M. Blackwelder, W. L. White, J. R. Magill, A. T. Camp, H. D. Wilson, A. H. Mahaffery, J. H. Wallace, B. F. Atkins, James L. Knight, Dr. John P. Oakes, J. Stanley Kelley, Clinton N. Wood.

 

Northport First United Methodist Church

Organized 1837, moved to present location, 1849, where churches have been rebuilt in 1855 and 1913. The bell of this church sounded the tocsin at the approach of Gen. John T. Croxton's Union Troops in their raid in Tuscaloosa, April 3, 1865.

 

Northport School
(1901-1922)

Northport's first public school located on the site one-half block west. Original structure of wood, built in cruciform shape in 1901 by Arthur Laycock. Served grades 1-11 until 1922 when two-story brick school erected three blocks north. Original school property and building purchased by Dr. Sam Cooper in 1922 and converted into two residences. The Snider House at 2309 Ninth St. is part of original structure.

 

Old Lock One

The remains of Old Lock One are now submerged. Authorized by Congress in 1884, the Army Corps of Engineers began work on one of Alabama's first locks in 1888. It was built upon Peg Leg Shoals, second of the "Falls of Tuscaloosa," using local sandstone at a cost of $233,234. It was part of a 1.2-mile, 3-lock system that allowed passage over a series of shoals or waterfalls The opening of Old Lock One allowed access to the Warrior coalfields and shipment of coal, stone, iron, steel, lumber, cotton, and other products to distant markets. Also it was the site of a government boatyard. In later years it was renamed Lock Ten and remained in service until replaced by Oliver Lock and Dam in 1939.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Old Tavern

Built in 1827 three blocks east on Broad Street. Stage stop and inn frequented by many political leaders while Tuscaloosa was State Capital. Moved to Capitol Park, 1966.

 

Partlow State School and Hospital

Established 1919 as the Alabama Home for Mental Deficients; opened 1923; renamed the Partlow School for Mental Deficients, 1927, to honor the institution's founder Dr. William Dempsey Partlow (1877-1953) head of all mental facilities in Alabama from 1919 to 1949.

 

Running Skirmish at Romulus

5 April 1865 - Croxton's brigade left Northport by way of the (old) Columbus Road to Coker, then camped for the night on the old Eutaw Road toward Romulus. Confederate Gen. Wirt Adams's 1500-man cavalry brigade, traveling from Columbus Miss to reinforce Gen. Forrest at Marion Ala, learned of Croxton's presence in the area.
6 April - Croxton's brigade traveled southward across the swollen Sipsey River toward Lanier's Mill near Pleasant Ridge. After looting and burning the mill, they reversed direction to move back toward Northport, stopping along the way to feed horses and eat provisions taken at Lanier's Mill. As the brigade resumed its march near noon, Adams's brigade launched a vigorous assault on the Federals' rear guard, the 6th Ky. Cav. Regt. A running skirmish began as the 6th Ky. Cav. broke until reinforced by 4 companies of the better-armed 2nd Mich. Cav. The brisk engagement continued through a heavy rain until complete darkness overtook the combatants. Both sides then encamped near Romulus, some 13 miles from Northport. Gen. Croxton reported 34 casualties and the loss of a number of horses and ambulance wagons (one of which carried his personal papers). Confederate losses were not reported.

----------------------Reverse---------------------

Running Skirmish at Romulus

7 April 1865 - Adams's Confederates returned westward toward Columbus Miss in the belief that Croxton was headed that way. Croxton continued on to Northport.
8 April - Croxton, determined to rendezvous with the main Union force sweeping from Selma towards Ga, departed Northport. He followed a route to the northeast dictated by flooded creeks and the Black Warrior, traveling 23 miles north on the old Byler Rd. (US 43N).
9 - 11 April - While encamped in the area, Federal foraging parties stripped the countryside of provisions and its citizens of valuables. War of 1812-veteran John Prewett lost $26,000 in gold when one of these bands forced his slave to reveal its whereabouts in a nearby cave.
12 April - Traveling via Crabbe Rd. (old Jasper Rd.) to Windham Springs, the brigade departed Tuscaloosa County into the area of Wolf Creek in Walker County. Croxton's "Lost Brigade" eventually rejoined Gen. Wilson's Cavalry Corps on May 1 in Macon Ga, some 3 weeks after Gen. Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
[2002]

 

Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church

Erected 1845, tower and bell added 1888-1900. The first meeting of Catholics in Tuscaloosa was held in 1819. The first parochial school was opened in 1863. St. Paul's Church, Birmingham, dedicated 1872, and churches in Selma, Blocton and Reform began as missions of this church; also originating from this church: St. Francis Chapel and Holy Spirit Church and School.

 

Shirley Bridge

James Shirley, 1835, built the first wooden covered bridge at this site. Bridges here were part of first road connecting Columbus, Miss. and Northport. A Tuscaloosa Co. company of Confederate Army, "The Plow Boys," en route to Columbus, July 1861, crossed bridge here. Union Gen. John T. Croxton, April 1865, after capturing Tuscaloosa, crossed bridge here.
Republican Legislator, M. T. Crossland, on way to capitol at Montgomery, Nov. 1868 was assassinated near the bridge. A section of the 1882 steel, single span bridge once used for crossing Black Warrior River at Tuscaloosa was re-erected here in 1922.

 

Sigma Alpha Epsilon-First Chapter, Alabama Mu and DeVotie Memorial

Founded in Tuscaloosa on the campus of the University of Alabama on March 9, 1856. Its chapter designation, Alabama Mu, identified it as the mother chapter of the national collegiate fraternity. Founding members: Noble Leslie DeVotie, Wade H. Foster, John Barratt Rudulph, Thomas Chappel Cook, John Webb Kerr, Samuel Marion Dennis, Nathan Elams Cockrell, Abner Edwin Patton. (Located on University of Alabama campus at Tuscaloosa)

 

Site of Alabama State Capitol 1826-1846

Tuscaloosa designated as State Capital by Legislature at Cahaba December 6, 1825. Building designed by State Architect, William Nichols, in the form of a Grecian Cross, employing both Grecian and Roman architecture in the interior. Construction began 1827. Governor John Murphy convened first session of State Legislature in this building December 13, 1829. Property deeded to University of Alabama in 1852; leased to Baptist Convention of Alabama, which operated Alabama Female College. Destroyed by fire, April 1923.

 

Site of Franklin Hall
(The Mound)

Franklin Hall, an early University dormitory designed by Capt. William Nichols, was erected on this site in 1835. Was one of the buildings destroyed by the Union raid on April 4, 1865.
After Civil War the remains of structure were shaped into present mound. By early 20th century this mound had become traditional site for honorary tappings by The University.
Marker donated by Phi Mu Sorority in commemoration of its 50th anniversary at the University of Alabama.

 

Site of Queen City Park Softball Field
1936-1967

Built on this site in 1936, Queen City Park Softball Field served as the cornerstone for the first successful community effort to promote the organized play of amateur softball in Tuscaloosa County. Its construction followed nationwide efforts to organize softball in 1933. Soon thereafter, Tuscaloosa men's and women's softball teams emerged as state and national powers, and the sport itself gained recognition as true wholesome family recreation.
[1998: Tuscaloosa, 33.21567N 87.5625066W]

 

Stillman College

Founded as Tuscaloosa Institute 1876 by Presbyterian Church U.S. under leadership of Dr. Charles Allan Stillman pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Tuscaloosa, to train Black ministers. Renamed Stillman Institute 1894 for Dr. Stillman, first superintendent. Became coeducational 1899. Past programs included seminary, high school, vocational school, junior college, school of nursing and hospital services for Blacks. Four year program begun, renamed Stillman College 1948. Accredited senior college 1953.

 

The Jemison Home

Built by Robert Jemison, Jr. Completed 1862, the 26 room Italian Villa style mansion is distinguished by its octagonal cupola and delicate carved fretwork. Jemison, a member of Alabama Legislature for 20 years (1840-1863), Secession Convention 1861 (he voted against secession), Confederate States Senate (1863-65), helped establish Alabama Insane Hospital.
Boyhood home Robert Jemison Van de Graff, inventor of generator used in splitting the atom and of William "Bully" Van de Graff, first All-American Athlete from University of Alabama. Hugo Friedman in 1955 acquired this mansion for Tuscaloosa County as a library.

 

The Mildred Warner House

Residence of many prominent Alabama families. Originally built by James Jenkins in 1822 as a two-room "cabin." David Scott, prominent merchant and church leader, purchased the property in 1832 and added the four-story brick structure. Occupied by the Burwell Boykin Lewis family in 1886. Rose Garland Lewis was daughter of the president of the University of Alabama and the window of a U.S. Congressman who was the first alumnus of the University to become its president. Noted historian of Tuscaloosa, Dr. George Little lived here with his family at the turn of the century.
The Washington Moodys came into possession in 1919. Mrs. Moody lived in the house, after her husband's death in 1924, until 1960. Listed in the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1934, the first Tuscaloosa home to be so honored. Purchased and restored in 1976 by The David Warner Foundation under the direction of Jack W. Warner and named for his mother, Mildred Westervelt Warner.
[1992: 30th Ave. East, Tuscaloosa]

 

The University of Alabama

Endowed by Congress 1819. Ordained by State Constitution 1819 and established by General Assembly 1820. Instruction begun 1831. Unofficial training school for Confederate officers 1861-65. Destroyed by Federal Army April 5, 1865. Rebuilding began 1867 and reopened 1868.
[Original marker before 1965; replacement marker donated by Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity 1981]

 

Tuscaloosa City Hall

Constructed in 1909 as U.S. Post Office. First occupied April 1910 with Mrs. Maggie Miller as Postmistress. Federal courtroom, now City Council Chamber, with magnificent design and detail, on second floor, 1910-1968. Thomas A. Jones, first Federal presiding judge.
Acquired by City of Tuscaloosa in 1968 and renovated as City Hall with George M. Van Tassel, Mayor, C. Snow Hinton and George K. Ryan, Commissioners.

 

Tuscaloosa First United Methodist Church

Organized 1818 by Ebenezer Hearn. First building on this site erected in 1834, including a church bell molded in Boston by coppersmiths Paul Revere and Sons. Present structure with marble Ionic columns was constructed 1922; Education Annex in 1953; Chitwood Hall in 1964. Edward Sims, a member and prominent local leader, in 1926 built and donated to this church, Tuscaloosa Female College. William W. Brandon, Alabama governor (1923-1927) was a member. Served by outstanding ministers; four becoming Methodist bishops; Robert Paine, John C. Keener, James H. McCoy, and Clare Purcell. This church has and continues faithfully to proclaim the compassion of Christ.

 

Tuscaloosa Landing

Tuscaloosa's first port developed on the south side of the river just downstream of the present bridge. In 1816 John Click brought goods upriver to this landing while Isaac Cannon made a 36-day trip to Mobile in a 40-foot dugout canoe. Commercial barges built by Col. Gabriel Penn in 1817 made trips to St. Stephens, the territorial capital. In 1818 Hiram Cochrane began building keelboats. In 1821 the "Cotton Plant" was the first steamboat arrival. A number of early industries including a tannery, cotton factories and a foundry were located in the general area. These pioneers laid a foundation for the development of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. Construction of Oliver Lock and Dam flooded this landing in 1939.
[2002: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk]

 

Skirmish at Trion

On 31 March 1865, Union Brig. Gen. John T. Croxton's Cavalry of some 1500 troops entered Tuscaloosa County with orders to destroy the State University (military school) and anything else of value to the rebel cause. Near Bucksville they destroyed Saunders Iron Works and William's Tannery (now Tannehill State Park). Learning that Confederate cavalry units under Gen. Nathan B. Forrest and Brig. Gen. W.H. (Red) Jackson were traveling near Trion, some 10-miles distant, Croxton's Brigade rode to intercept. The Union forces camped that night on the farm of Squire John White, and were attacked by Jackson's Cavalry Division as they broke camp at daybreak, 1 April. The skirmish, the first in Tuscaloosa County, occurred about a half-mile south of present-day Vance.
Union losses were heavy in the running fight: some 30 killed or wounded, another 30 captured, and 150 horses lost. Croxton was forced away from his original line of march, retreating to the northeast before turning west towards the Black Warrior River some 40 miles above Tuscaloosa. Crossing to the west bank at Johnson's Ferry or Black Rock Shoals (near old Lock 17 area), the Union raiders resumed their advance on Northport and Tuscaloosa on 3 April. Jackson's Confederate forces suffered several casualties in the skirmish. One soldier from Tennessee, who died several days later in the Squire John White home, was buried nearby by Trion-area citizens.
[2002]

 

University Club

Built 1834 by James Dearling. Purchased by Arthur P. Bagby who occupied the house 1837-41 while Governor of Alabama and since known as the Governor's Mansion. Presented to the University of Alabama 1944 by Herbert David Warner and Mildred Westervelt Warner.

 

The Warrior-Tombigbe Waterway

From 1887-1915, seventeen locks and dams were constructed on the Warrior-Tombigbee Rivers. The first 3 were built on the fall line in Tuscaloosa. This was the site of #3, later #12.
The Warrior-Tombigbee Development Association, founded in Tuscaloosa 1950 by leaders from Birmingham, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa, led the effort to modernize the waterway. Six modern locks and dams, replacing the original 17, have been built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between Mobile and Port Birmingham, providing efficient navigation, flood control, recreation and hydropower. As a result of the Association's efforts barge tow travel time was cut in half and the size of payloads tripled.
Erected May 19, 2000, as the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association celebrated its 50th anniversary.
[2000]

Zeta Tau Alpha
Nu Chapter

Nu chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha was installed as the second sorority at the University of Alabama.  On April 11, 1910 the chapter’s first nine women were initiated in the Sigma Nu hall.  In 1925, Zeta Tau Alpha built the first sorority house on the campus.  The original house had only three rooms and was located on Thomas Street, just off University Boulevard.  This house was erected in 1962, preserving the large columns from the original house on Thomas Street.  Nu chapter celebrated its Centennial Anniversary on April 11, 2010. [2012: 912 Magnolia Drive, Tuscaloosa]

 


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Updated: January 7, 2013