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Historical Record of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1819-1969, Sesquicentennial Souvenir Program

Identifier: MSS-4031

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a copy of the souvenir booklet for the Sesquicentennial celebrations during April 1969 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The booklet (56 pages) is heavily illustrated with photographs of Tuscaloosa buildings, streets and citizens through the years.

There is also an October 1970 issue of ALA-WEST monthly magazine.


  • 1969 April 15-26

Biographical / Historical

The city of Tuscaloosa lies on the "Fall Line" of the Black Warrior River in west central Alabama. The early white settlers named the place Tuscaloosa (from the Choctaw words "tushka" meaning warrior and "lusa" meaning black), in honor of the legendary chief "Black Warrior". In 1817, Alabama became a territory, and on December 13, 1819, the territorial legislature incorporated the town, one day before the United States Congress admitted Alabama to the Union as the 22th state.

Tuscaloosa served as the state capital from 1826 to 1846. It was during this time that the University of Alabama was established (1831). The town's population, which was around 4,200 by 1845, dropped when the capital was moved to Montgomery to around 2,000 by 1850. Bryce Hospital for the Insane was established in Tuscaloosa in the 1850s and helped to restore the city's fortunes.

During the Civil War, the county (including the University) provided about 3,500 men to the Confederate armies. So many of the Confederate officers were graduates of the University, that it was known as the "West Point of the South." Consequently, toward the end of the War, Union forces, under orders "to destroy the bridge, factories, mills, university, and whatever else may be of benefit to the rebel cause," captured the city and burned a large part of its industrial facilities and warehouses, as well as a majority of the University, including the library, one of the largest in the country at that time.

After Reconstruction, Tuscaloosa began to grow once more. Part of the growth can be linked to the construction of a series of locks and dams on the Black Warrior River by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1890s. These helped to provide a navigable waterway to the Gulf for the mining and metallurgical industries of central Alabama. The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have seen the city becoming a manufacturing center with the establishment of several multi-national corporations in the area, including Michelin tires, JVC electronics, and Mercedes-Benz plants.


0.05 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Souvenir booklet commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Tuscaloosa, Alabama




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Processed by

Martha Bace, 2014
Guide to the Historical Record of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1819-1969, Sesquicentennial Souvenir Program
September 2014
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266