Days Gone By - stories from the past

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

FROM OUR PATRON MEMBER ARCHIVES – this story is now visible to the general public  – Click to Become a Patron and see stories like this FIRST!

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

Start researching your family genealogy research in minutes for FREE! This Ebook has simple instructions on where to start. Download  WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources



WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources (Kindle Edition)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

List Price: $7.97
New From: $7.97 In Stock
buy now

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

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!


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

  2. 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. Lorrianne Curtis Sparkman

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

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

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

  12. Donna and David did you know about this?

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

  14. Drake Carroll info for you

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

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

  18. 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. Elaine Holloway Strickland

    1. What a cool story! Thanks for sharing!

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

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

  22. Elke May Sandra Sullivan Matt Sellers

  23. 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.

  24. The freshwater jellyfish can be found in
    Lake Martin.

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

  26. 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. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.