Days Gone By - stories from the past

The Tuscaloosa, Alabama Amphitheatre sits on top of a lake that once had fresh water jellyfish

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Can you believe that jellyfish were discovered in Central Alabama in Stallworth Lake in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the 1930s?  I bet that was something to see. At the time, Stallworth Lake was a popular resort in Alabama, but it is now the location of the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.

Stallworth Lake, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Stallworth lake, Tuscsloosa, Alabama

The Lake was built in 1918 by damming 4 acres of marshy land.

Stallworth Lake Advertisement


Boardwalks surrounded the lake and an slide was on the north end with a tiny island in the middle. Admission in 1930 was 15 cents for adults and 10 cents for children. Fed by springs, the lake was always warm. “In the summer the surface could reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit due to the slow turnover of the water.”

Stallworth Lake 1925

stallworth lake 1925

An interesting article about fresh-water medusae (jellyfish) being found in Stallworth lake by Professor William E. White appeared in the Biological Bulletin   Vol. 59, No. 2, Oct., 1930.

I wonder if this helped cause the demise of the lake. Who wants to swim in a lake filled with jellyfish?

Today, Stallworth Lake is the location of Tuscaloosa’s new Amphitheater.


  1. Cobb, Mark Hughes, The Tuscaloosa News July 4, 2011

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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. Jeff Burgess

    I know of several old mining lakes that have freshwater jellyfish in them now.

  2. Donna Hale

    I love the history you can learn from this site that was never taught in school in Alabama

  3. In the late fall, I often see a tiny almost translucent white outlined jelly fish in the waters of Lake Martin in central Alabama. I see them while fishing on overcast calm days in the Kowaliga region of the lake. I bet they are everywhere, but the waters are so clear in this portion of the lake. This clarity makes them more visible. I usually see them in late November or early December. Fisheries biologist from Auburn University tell me these jelly fish are quite common.

  4. Kerry Wood

    Lorrianne Curtis Sparkman

  5. JamesandZoe Breugem

    I heard my dad speak of this lake. Very popular then.

  6. Rebecca Wright-Hyde

    I remember seeing what appeared to be jellyfish in the Warrior River when I was a child around 1960. I have never forgotten and have always wondered what it was that I saw. I thought it was my own little X-file. When I learned about water bears, I thought they were the answer, but found out that they were far too small. Thank you so much for this post.

  7. Rebecca Wright-Hyde

    Oops! Two-celled medusa. My mystery remains unsolved.

  8. Tiffany McCluskey

    Dennis McCluskey

  9. My mother told me about swimming at this place when she was little.
    She never mentioned jellyfish though. She spoke about riding the trolley.
    I did not know there were trolleys in Tuscaloosa way back then.

    1. They were discovered late in its history I believe.

    2. Mass transportation in Tuscaloosa amounted to street cars which were electric powered and traveled on railroad rails. I remember them.

  10. Greg Creech

    Where is the lake? What happened to the lake?

    1. It is gone. It was probably filled in.

      1. The lake was filled in and turned into a garbage dump site by the city of Tuscaloosa then it was later cleaned and turned into a baseball complex where we played baseball when I was a kid. The YMCA had aquired the rights to the land for several years. Then when the baseball fell away to the other leagues and the YMCA could no longer maintain adequate players of children the city took the rights back and closed their park. Only to be torn down and rebuilt as the Amp.

    2. After a woman drowned herself and her children in this lake it was drained and became the city dump so it was filled in.

  11. Angel M Smith

    This is why we can’t have nice things, someone always covers them up.

  12. Angel M Smith

    Donna and David did you know about this?

  13. Donna Verdi Owen

    Exactly!!! I think Ms K told me about this, all the good things are gone.

  14. Jane Laminack Johnson
  15. Billy Carter

    I’ve caught fresh water jelly fish in Smith Lake and the Old Rock Quary near the old peanut hut on the old 78 highway near Saragossa. They are always the same size (About the size of a quarter) and clear with white veins.

  16. David Owen

    I think I heard something about this when I was a child.

  17. Kathy Fetters

    I thought the lake was on the side of River Hill … A little higher up … What do y’all think.

  18. Marty Herring

    Stallworth Lake was Closed then it was a landfill for DCH and The City of Tuscaloosa. When The Amp was Built we was not Supposed to Hit The Old Landfill but we did miss calculated grade was the cause not enough fill was hauled in before construction.

  19. Keith Keplinger

    Elaine Holloway Strickland

    1. Elaine Holloway Strickland

      What a cool story! Thanks for sharing!

  20. John C Prophitt

    Hey Mandy Plowman Bricken did you know about this old lake.

  21. Zack Magnusson

    I’ve also seen freshwater jellyfish in the rock quarry in Madison, Alabama. They’re tiny.

  22. Skip Ayers

    The tiny critters that look like jellyfish are the medusa phase of a fresh water hydra. I’ve seen them in quarries as well.

  23. Julie Sullivan

    Elke May Sandra Sullivan Matt Sellers

  24. Gay Torbert Oswalt

    That is amazing information!! I had no idea where our Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre sits now that there was a lake! That is right on the edge of downtown Tuscaloosa. I will have to research a little more this information.

  25. Donna M Thomas

    The freshwater jellyfish can be found in
    Lake Martin.

  26. Marion Steele Wood

    Meredith Harrell I want to check this out the next time we are in Tuscaloosa…when can we go ??? Morgan will take me if you can’t…lol

    1. Marion Steele Wood

      Morgan Harrell please read this…really interesting…let’s go see it…

  27. H Bryan Wallace

    Barry Newman, did you know this? Wow.

    1. Yes Bryan, I have read about Stallworth Lake. The construction of Queen City swimming pool along with a not so pleasant waters of the Lake were the reasons for its demise. There is a really nice photo of the Lake taken from atop the big bank building downtown. It is a black-and-white photo taken on December 22, 1929 on a day when the city was blanketed in snow.

    2. Barry Newman

      Yes Bryan. I’ve read about Stallworth Lake. There is a really good photo of the Lake taken from atop the bank building on December 22, 1929 when the city was blanketed in snow. The construction of Queen City swimming pool marked the end of Stallworth Lake.

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