Days Gone By - stories from the past

The Old Tavern in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was saved! [pictures and film]

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.RIVER BANK WARRIOR COAL


 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.cityoftuskaloosa00tusc_0046

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. Forest 1887 cityoftuskaloosa00tusc_0018 (1)


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.


Faith and Courage: A Novel of Colonial America Inspired by real people and actual events, the family saga of colonial America continues with Ambrose Dixon’s family. Faith and Courage presents the religious persecution of Quakers in Pre-Revolutionary War days of America intertwined with a love story.

See books by Donna R Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. I was born in Tarrant City, AL on March 21, 1930 and have lived in a number of places in Alabama until I moved to Fort Walton Beach, FL in 1984 and retired from U S Government service in 1993. I enjoy all your writings and musings and I found you through Val Moreland from Facebook. I majored in History and what is now UNA but in 1949 It was FSTC

  2. Don’t miss this Bama fans. RTR Be sure to watch the video. I remember when the Old Tavern was on Broad Street close to the Copeland’s home.

  3. I have a painting of the Old Tavern..

  4. […] filling up the place. The effort to move up the road met with very strong opposition. The old tavern at the river struggled hard to hold its supremacy. But it would not do, the town would go up the […]

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