1305 Greensboro Ave Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
The Jemison Van De Graaff Mansion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a prime example of Greek Revival architecture, built in 1859 by businessman and politician Robert Jemison Jr. The mansion, which features ornate plasterwork, marble mantels, crystal chandeliers, and a grand staircase, offers tours of its 19 rooms across three floors, including a ballroom and library, and is situated on six acres of land with restored 19th-century gardens.
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The Jemison Van De Graaff Mansion, located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture. It was built in 1859 by Robert Jemison Jr., a wealthy Tuscaloosa businessman and politician, and was later purchased by the Van De Graaff family, who owned it until 1955. The mansion has since been restored and is now open for tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Old South.
The mansion features 10,000 square feet of living space, with 19 rooms spread over three floors. The interior is decorated with ornate plasterwork, marble mantels, and crystal chandeliers, all of which showcase the opulence of the period. The mansion also boasts a grand staircase, a ballroom, and a library, which are all open to the public.
One of the most interesting features of the mansion is its connection to the Civil War. During the war, the mansion served as headquarters for both Confederate and Union armies at different times. It was also the site of a skirmish in 1865, during which Union soldiers tried to capture Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had taken refuge in the mansion.
In addition to its historical significance, the Jemison Van De Graaff Mansion is also known for its beautiful gardens. The mansion sits on six acres of land, which include formal gardens, fountains, and a reflecting pool. The gardens have been restored to their original 19th-century design, and visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the grounds to admire the flora and fauna.
The mansion has had several owners since the Van De Graaff family sold it in 1955, and it fell into disrepair over the years. In 2007, however, a group of concerned citizens formed the Jemison Van De Graaff Mansion Foundation to restore the mansion to its former glory. After a multi-million dollar renovation, the mansion was reopened to the public in 2010.
Today, visitors can take guided tours of the mansion and learn about the history of Tuscaloosa and the role that the Jemison and Van De Graaff families played in shaping the community. The mansion also hosts special events throughout the year, such as holiday tours and garden parties, which are popular with locals and tourists alike.
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Jemison Van De Graaff Mansion is also a popular destination for ghost hunters. The mansion is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who died in the house during the 19th century. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps, doors opening and closing, and even seeing the apparition of a woman in a white dress.
Overall, the Jemison Van De Graaff Mansion is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in history, architecture, or the supernatural. Its grandeur, beauty, and rich history make it one of the most iconic landmarks in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the area, a visit to the mansion is sure to be a memorable experience.
Must see Museums around the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area:
- Alabama Museum of Natural History: located on the University of Alabama campus, this museum features exhibits on the natural history of Alabama, including displays of fossils, rocks, minerals, and wildlife.
- Paul W. Bryant Museum: dedicated to the legendary University of Alabama football coach, this museum houses exhibits on the history of Alabama football, including trophies, memorabilia, and interactive displays.
- Tuscaloosa Museum of Art: located in downtown Tuscaloosa, this museum features a collection of over 1,500 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photography.
- Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa: designed for children ages 1-12, this museum features interactive exhibits that encourage hands-on learning and exploration.
- Murphy African American Museum: located in downtown Tuscaloosa, this museum highlights the contributions of African Americans to the history and culture of Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area.
- Gorgas House Museum: located on the University of Alabama campus, this museum is housed in the oldest building on campus and features exhibits on the history of the university and the Gorgas family, who once lived in the house.
- Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum: located in downtown Tuscaloosa, this museum showcases the history of transportation in Tuscaloosa, including displays of antique cars, trucks, and bicycles.
- Alabama Firefighter Memorial and Museum: located in Tuscaloosa, this museum honors the sacrifices of Alabama firefighters and features exhibits on the history of firefighting in the state.
These are just a few of the many museums that can be found in and around Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or science, there’s sure to be a museum that will pique your interest.