Educate and Celebrate

Tuscaloosa History with G. Ward Hubbs

The Tuscaloosa Bicentennial was a year to remember! We spent a year celebrating the once-in-a-lifetime commemoration of 200 years of history, progress, and future promise. A lively and inclusive 12-month calendar of events entertained, educated, and engaged people of all ages.


Founded December 13, 1819, Tuscaloosa was named for Chief Tuskaloosa, the chieftain of a Muskogean-speaking people. Tuscaloosa was Alabama’s capital from 1826 to 1846, and W.M. Nichols designed the Capitol building, where the inaugural session of the Alabama Legislature was convened in 1829. The University of Alabama was established in 1831.


Known as the Druid City because of the stately water oaks planted in the 1840s along downtown streets, Tuscaloosa quickly became a dynamic hub of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education. The construction of locks and dams on the Black Warrior River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1890s opened an inexpensive link to the Gulf, stimulating the mining and metallurgical industries.  The growth of The University of Alabama and the successful recruitment of global industries have continually fueled our robust economy. 


With hundreds of restaurants, landmarks, museums, parks, and recreation facilities, Tuscaloosa is one of Alabama’s most progressive cities. Visitors savor the unique atmosphere, historic ambiance, and bustling nightlife that are hallmarks of the Tuscaloosa experience. Our city’s distinguished history and bright future were honored and recognized in world-class fashion as we marked the 200th anniversary.


The University of Alabama produced a video to commemorate Tuscaloosa's Bicentennial. 

"It's where music rocks & the Tide rolls. Known for a towering chief and an unbeatable Bear. Along the river's edge where higher education meets innovation and history awaits at every turn. THIS is Tuscaloosa."

Follow along in this video as you are guided through Tuscaloosa's 200-year history.

The City of Tuscaloosa was incorporated on December 13, 1819, one day before Alabama was officially declared a state. Thus, 2019 marks Alabama’s 200th year together with the bicentennial year of Tuscaloosa and a span of Tuscaloosa history, from the time of settlement to present day, that is among the most significant in the story of our state. This video traces that history while

showcasing Tuscaloosa’s natural assets and highlighting a local planning project that seeks to balance the City’s new growth with environmental protection and other quality-of-life considerations.

The second video produced by The University of Alabama to commemorate Tuscaloosa's Bicentennial features the two sculptures that were gifted to the citizens of Tuscaloosa from the University. 

Caleb O'Connor and Craig Wedderspoon were approached by Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Committee to create and design a sculpture in celebration of the bicentennial year.

Using the seal of the Unversity and the Black Warrior River, these two artists created an enduring legacy for Tuscaloosa.