The information and illustrations below are excerpts from a book written in 1887 as a prospectus for future investors in Tuscaloosa.
Tuskaloosa (Tuscaloosa) is located on a plateau above the Warrior River
Tuskaloosa is situated upon a high, level and is well-drained plateau at the head of navigation on the Warrior River. It has an abundant supply of the purest water, and the healthfulness of the locality is proverbial.
To the south stretches the broad alluvial bottoms of the Warrior River, whose fertile acres yield the finest crops of corn, hay and cotton, while to the north lies the great Warrior coal field, which is now just on the eve of a mighty development.
Greatest thickness of coal measures in the known world
In fact, the city itself, to use the strong language of Prof. Henry McCalley, Assistant State Geologist of Alabama, in his report upon the Warrior coal field, ” Stands on the greatest thickness of coal measures in the known world, and in thickness of coal second only to that of West Virginia.”
Inside of the corporate limits of Tuskaloosa and its immediate suburbs (including the town of Northport, which is immediately across the Warrior River, and is connected with the city by an iron bridge), is a population of at least six thousand souls.
Best Equipped female Colleges in the South
A recent school census shows that this population is on a steady increase, and even without any marked industrial awakening it would continue to grow, on account of its fine agricultural surroundings, large commercial territory, and superior educational and social advantages
It has two of the largest and best equipped female colleges in the South: the “Alabama Central Female College,” and the ” Tuskaloosa Female College.” The University High School for boys, in addition to its local patronage, draws a large number of boarders from other points in the State, while as the seat of the great University of Alabama, Tuskaloosa offers unrivaled facilities to the young men of this and other States. And the graded public schools of this city stand deservedly among the first schools of the Nation.
Broad Street is now University Avenue
Cotton, rope and yarn mills and cotton-seed oil Industries
But it is not alone as an educational centre that Tuskaloosa stands already among the most prominent towns of Alabama; for it already has here and in the near vicinity, two large cotton mills, a rope and yarn mill, and a cotton-seed oil mill in successful operation; and its receipts of cotton range from twelve to seventeen thousand bales per annum ; and the erection of a compress here (which is a matter of the near future), will largely increase the amount of cotton handled. There are a number of other industries now in successful operation in Tuskaloosa, such as foundry, sash and blind factory, large brick and tile works, etc., etc.
Political capital of Alabama before 1846
The fact that Tuskaloosa was once the political capital of Alabama — before the removal of the State government to Montgomery, in 1846 — and that it has been since the earliest history of the Commonwealth the educational centre of the State, has drawn to its citizenship men of means and culture, and their taste is seen in the many elegant homes that adorn the city.
Many of the most handsome residences are surrounded by spacious grounds carefully laid out and ornamented with great variety of trees and shrubbery. The streets are broad (avenues rather than streets), and most of them shaded by triple rows of the magnificent water-oaks, which have given the place the name of the Druid City.
The principal streets are well graded, and the natural drainage of the city is perfect. Tuskaloosa has two newspapers the Times and the Gazette ; and, in a word, the place has all the elements of agreeable, healthful, cultivated living, with all the undeveloped advantages and possibilities of a frontier-booming town — a condition of affairs not often met with.
Tuskaloosa (Tuscaloosa) challenged the world for a rival location
Her healthfulness and beauty of location and excellent agricultural surroundings, purest free-stone spring and well water, perfect natural drainage into a navigable river running through the corporation, combined with immediate proximity to best quality cooking coal and fire clay (underlying the city), iron ore (in five miles), lime-stone (less than twelve miles), building-stone (less than five miles), and virgin forests of long-leaf yellow pine, oak, poplar, ash, cyprus, cedar, etc., etc., will challenge the world for a rival.