Old Alabama State Capitol Ruins - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
N 33° 12.486 W 087° 34.481
16S E 446441 N 3674504
Quick Description: As the centerpiece of Tuscaloosa, AL's Capitol Park, these reconstructed achitectural ruins are all that remains of Alabama's old capitol building that served the state government from 1826 to 1845.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 2/28/2009 9:29:33 AM
Waymark Code: WM5Y2Y
DURING THE afternoon of August 22, 1923, fire completely destroyed the old Alabama capitol in Tuscaloosa, a building that had long been used as the Alabama Central Female College. Smoke rising from the building could be seen as far away as Greensboro.
Painters, who had been at work renovating the interior of the building at the time of the blaze, blamed the fire on faulty electrical wiring. Within a matter of hours all that was left of this historic structure were sections of tottering, smoke-blackened walls, broken columns, and mountains of ash and debris.
In the following months, townspeople salvaged material from the ruins. Will Murphy, Tuscaloosa's first black undertaker, used some of the bricks to build his home, which is now a museum. Other citizens hauled away truckloads of carved ashlar and flagstones to build garden walls and terraces. Carl Carmer, author of Stars Fell on Alabama, ornamented his backyard with several large architectural fragments, including a handsome Ionic capital from the building's façade. Even after the site was scavenged by locals, tons of debris and some sections of the lower-story sandstone walls remained above ground.
During the 1930s, however, a Works Progress Administration project provided funds to clean up the site and landscape it. At that time most of the remaining ruins were leveled and the debris was pushed down the ravine to the west of the site. Only a section of the walls of the north wing, rising three or four feet from the ground, remained. They were infilled with rubble and sodded to create a low rectangular mound. Thousands of bits of broken sandstone ashlar and architectural fragments were used to create a low perimeter wall that surrounded what had become known as Capitol Park.
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Original photographs showing additional views of the Ruin/Remnant or even just its current condition are encouraged. Please describe your visit, especially if no additional photos are available. Did you like the Ruin or Remnant? What prompted you to see the Ruin or Remnant?