Fragments of a once-grand rotunda and shattered columns stand within a picturesque park. They’re all that’s left of Alabama’s old State Capitol.
From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as the state capital. Its once-beautiful capitol building was completed in 1829, three years after Tuscaloosa was designated as the capital. It was an impressive sight; an architectural jewel that stood tall and proud for anyone passing by to admire.
But the building only acted as a seat of power for a couple of decades: the government decided to head elsewhere in 1846, and the former capitol building was then leased to the Alabama Central Female College. The college had a 99-year lease on the land, but their time within the building was sadly cut short.
In 1923, the building caught fire while a construction worker was doing routine repairs. The flames spread quickly, engulfing the structure and sending it to its fiery demise.
People salvaged what they could from the ruins. Bricks were plucked from the ashes and used to construct homes around the city. Other more decorative scraps were used to adorn people’s yards, but fortunately, bits of the building remained in their original spot. It’s now a public park that offers a peaceful respite from city life. As a bonus, the ruins also make a fantastic backdrop for photos.
Visit Alabama with Atlas Obscura Trips
Smokestacks and Iron: Night Photography at Alabama's Sloss Furnaces
Join us, August 28–September 1, for a deep dive into composition, exposure, and black and white photography as we explore the imposing industrial remains of the historic Sloss Furnaces after dark, camera in hand.