Day 3 of Mayleen and Mable’s Southern Sojourn found us touring antebellum homes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
As I said in the last post, we left the Great Smoky Mountains before the sun even came up. By the time we made it into Alabama, the day was overcast and dreary.
My sister, the U.S. history major, had been looking forward to our arrival in Tuscaloosa. Even though she was born and raised in Philadelphia, she likes to fancy herself a proper Southern Belle. She was super psyched to be touring antebellum homes in Tuscaloosa!
An antebellum home refers to the large Southern mansion/plantation homes that were built before the U.S. Civil War. It refers to a time period rather than a style. The home’s particular style depended on whoever lived on the land and where they were from.
Our first tour was through the Battle-Friedman House and Gardens.
This home was built in 1835 by Alfred Battle. In 1875, it was bought by a Hungarian merchant, Bernard Friedman, and remained in the family until it was willed to the city of Tuscaloosa in 1965. It’s now a historical site available for tours and events.
The second we were inside the door, my sister began talking to the kind woman sitting inside. That conversation continued during our entire trip there. They discussed the war, the society, and everything in between. I listened in, but couldn’t really contribute. The only thing I know about the civil war was what I learned in history class – and that there’s a whole darker history that a lot of people don’t talk about enough.
No, what I focused on during my trip was the architecture. I love old homes. I took a lot of photos and took a few moments in each room to breathe it all in.
Next, we decided to grab some lunch at The Local Catch. Fish tacos and beer -contented sigh-. This place was absolutely delicious!
Our next tour was through the Jamison Van De Graff Mansion.
It was built between 1859-1862 by skilled slaves and designed by a Philadelphia architect (what, whaaat). It wasn’t finished by the time the Civil War started and a lot of finishing touches were left undone. They do rent out offices in the building (I believe I remember a photographer working in one of the rooms upstairs), but the first floor was fully restored in 1860’s fashion.
This home is gorgeous.
We spent a little more time shopping the thrift stores in town, but then we had to get back on the road. That night, we were headed for New Orleans.
Tuscaloosa is a gorgeous small town. Everyone that we met was super friendly. I highly recommend checking out these homes and talking to the tour guides – they’re so incredibly knowledgeable. Even just going to check out the architecture is completely worth it.
Thanks for reading!
Planning a trip through Alabama? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to all things Alabama road trip: