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Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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City of Tuscaloosa[1]
—  City  —
Greensboro Avenue intersects University Boulevard (historically Broad Street) in downtown Tuscaloosa
Nickname(s): T-Town, The Druid City, The Queen City
Map of Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa
Coordinates: 33°12′24″N 87°32′5″W / 33.20667°N 87.53472°W / 33.20667; -87.53472
Country United States
State Alabama
County Tuscaloosa
Incorporated December 13, 1819
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Walt Maddox
 - Council President Harrison Taylor
 - City 66.7 sq mi (172.8 km2)
 - Land 56.2 sq mi (145.6 km2)
 - Water 10.5 sq mi (27.2 km2)
Elevation 223 ft (68 m)
Population (2008)[2]
 - City 90,221
 - Density 1,605.4/sq mi (619.8/km2)
 - Metro 206,765
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 35401-35407, 35485-35487
Area code(s) 205
FIPS code 01-77256
GNIS feature ID 0153742
Website www.tuscaloosa.com

Tuscaloosa is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the U.S. state of Alabama.[3] Located on the Black Warrior River, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 90,221 in 2008.[2] Tuscaloosa is named after the Choctaw chieftain Tuskaloosa who battled and was defeated by Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila.

Tuscaloosa is the home of the University of Alabama. It is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for West Alabama. Tuscaloosa attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County. The University remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city.

Tuscaloosa is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Greene, and Hale counties.


The area at the Fall Line shoals of what would later be known as the Black Warrior River had long been well known to the various Indian tribes whose shifting fortunes brought them to West Alabama. The river shoals at Tuscaloosa represented the southernmost site on the river which could be forded under most conditions. A network of Indian trails converged upon the place, the same network that, in the first years of the 19th century, was followed by a few intrepid white frontiersmen to the area.

The pace of white settlement increased greatly after the War of 1812. A small assortment of log cabins soon arose near the large Creek village at the fall line of the river, which the new settlers named in honor of the legendary Chief Tuskaloosa of a Muskogean-speaking tribe. In 1817, Alabama became a territory, and on December 13, 1819, the territorial legislature incorporated the town of Tuscaloosa, one day before Congress admitted Alabama to the Union as a state.

From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa was the capital of Alabama. During this period, in 1831, the University of Alabama was established. The town's population and economy grew rapidly until the departure of the capital to Montgomery caused a rapid decline in population. Establishment of the Bryce State Hospital for the Insane in Tuscaloosa in the 1850s helped restore the city's fortunes.

During the Civil War following Alabama's secession from the Union, several thousand men from Tuscaloosa fought in the Confederate armies. During the last weeks of the War, a brigade of Union troops raiding the city burned the campus of the university. The larger town was also damaged in the battle and shared fully in the South's economic sufferings which followed the defeat.

In the 1890s the construction of a system of locks and dams on the Black Warrior River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened up an inexpensive link to the Gulf seaport of Mobile, stimulating especially the mining and metallurgical industries of the region. By the advent of the 20th century, the growth of the University of Alabama and the mental health-care facilities in the city, along with a strong national economy fueled a steady growth in Tuscaloosa which continued unabated for 100 years. Manufacturing plants of large firms such as Michelin and JVC located in town during the latter half of the 20th century. However, it was the announcement of the addition of the Mercedes facility in 1993 that best personified the new era of economic prosperity for Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa is known as the "Druid City" because of the numerous Water oaks planted in its downtown streets since the 1840s.[4]

Geography and climate

Tuscaloosa is located at 33°12′24″N 87°32′5″W / 33.20667°N 87.53472°W / 33.20667; -87.53472 (33.206540, -87.534607).[5]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tuscaloosa has a total area of 66.7 square miles (172.8 km²), of which, 56.2 square miles (145.7 km²) of it is land and 10.5 square miles (27.1 km²) of it (15.68%) is water. Most of water within the city limits is in Lake Tuscaloosa, which is entirely in the city limits, and the Black Warrior River.

Tuscaloosa is situated on the Black Warrior River approximately 60 miles southwest of Birmingham. The city occupies a unique location of fall line of the Black Warrior River on the boundary between the Appalachian Highland and the Gulf Coastal Plain approximately 311 km (120 mi.) upriver from the river's confluence with the Tombigbee River in Demopolis. Consequently, the geography of the area around Tuscaloosa is quite diverse, being hilly and forested to the northeast and low-lying and marshy to the southwest.


File:Snow in tuscaloosa.jpg
A rare snowstorm paints a winter scene near Lake Tuscaloosa.

The area experiences a typical Southern subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. The Gulf of Mexico heavily influences the climate by supplying the region with warm, moist air. During the fall, winter, and spring seasons, the interaction of this warm, moist air with cooler, drier air from the North along fronts create precipitation. These fronts usually move from west to east as they track along the jet stream. Notable exceptions occur during hurricane season where storms may move from due south to due north or even from east to west during land-falling hurricanes. The interaction between low- and high-pressure air masses is most pronounced during the severe weather seasons in the spring and fall. During the summer, the jet streams flows well to the north of the southeastern U.S., and most precipitation is consequently convectional, that is, caused by the warm surface heating the air above. Severe thunderstorms can bring damaging winds, large hail and occasionally tornadoes. A destructive F4 tornado struck Tuscaloosa County in December 2000, killing eleven people. Tuscaloosa City was struck by an F2 Tornado in January 1997 which resulted in the death of one person.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high
°F (°C)
Average low
°F (°C)
52 (11.1)
Average rainfall: inches/mm 5 /
50.3 /

Source: weatherbase.com

Winter lasts from mid-December to late-February; temperatures range from the mid-20s to the mid-50s. On average, the low temperature falls at freezing or below about 50 days a year. While rain is abundant (an average 5.09 in. per month from Dec.-Feb.), measurable snowfall is rare; the average annual snowfall is about 0.6 inches. Spring usually lasts from late-February to mid-May; temperatures range from the mid-50s to the low-80s and monthly rainfall amounts average about 5.05 in. (128 mm) per month. Summers last from mid-May to mid-September; temperatures range from the upper-60s to the mid-90s, with temperatures above 100°F (37.8°C) not uncommon, and average rainfall dip slightly to 3.97 in. (101 mm) per month. Autumn, which spans from mid-September to early-December, tends to be similar to Spring terms of temperature and precipitation.[6]

The highest temperature to have been recorded at the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport was 107.0°F (41.7°C) on July 29, 1952 & August 10, 2007, while the lowest recorded temperature was -1.0°F (-18.3°C) on January 21, 1985.[7]


Two major areas of Tuscaloosa are West Tuscaloosa and Alberta City.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
Est. 200890,22115.8%

As of the census[8] of 2000 there were 77,906 people, 31,381 households, and 16,945 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,385.2 people per square mile (534.8/km²). There were 34,857 housing units at an average density of 619.8/sq mi (239.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 54.09% White, 42.73% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 1.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. 1.40% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 31,381 households out of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.0% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 24.5% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,731, and the median income for a family was $41,753. Males had a median income of $31,614 versus $24,507 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,129. About 14.2% of families and 23.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.3% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.


Tuscaloosa has a strong-mayor variant mayor-council form of government, led by a mayor and a seven-member city council. The mayor and council members are elected concurrently for four-year terms. The mayor is elected by the city at-large while council members are elected to single-member districts. Neither the mayor nor the members of the city council is term-limited. All elected offices are nonpartisan. Elections take place on the fourth Tuesday of August in years following presidential election years, with run-off elections taking place six weeks later if necessary. Terms begin immediately after election. The most recent municipal elections were held in 2009.

Current City Council Members
District Representative Serving Since
1 Bobby E. Howard 2005
2 Harrison Taylor 1993
3 Cynthia Lee Almond 2005
4 Lee Garrison 1997
5 Kip Tyner 1997
6 Bob Lundell 2005
7 William Tinker, III 2005

The mayor is the chief executive and administrative officer of the city. His main duty is to oversee the day-to-day operation of city departments pursuant to executing policy enacted by the city council or, in the absence of any council policy, his own discretion. His other duties include preparing an operating budget each year for approval by the city council and acting as ambassador of the city. The mayor also presides over city council meetings but votes only in case of ties. The current Mayor of Tuscaloosa is Walter Maddox, who was elected to office in September 2005. Prior to Maddox, Alvin A. DuPont had served as mayor for 24 years.

The city council act as the legislative body of the city. It is powered by state law to consider policy and enact law and to make appoints to city boards. The council also considers the budget proposed by the mayor for approval. The majority of work in the council is done by committee. These committees usually consisting three council members, one of whom will be chairman, and relevant non-voting city employees.

File:Tuscaloosa Court House.jpg
Tuscaloosa County courthouse in downtown Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa, as the largest county seat in western Alabama, serves a hub of state and federal government agencies. In addition to the customary offices associated with the county courthouse, namely two District Court Judges, six Circuit Court Judges, the District Attorney and the Public Defender, several Alabama state government agencies have regional offices in Tuscaloosa, such as the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama State Troopers (the state police).

Tuscaloosa is in the federal jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. There is courthouse in Tuscaloosa simply called the Federal Courthouse. Several federal agencies operate bureaus out of the courthouse.

Tuscaloosa is located partially in both the 6th and 7th Congressional Districts, which are represented by Spencer Bachus (R) and Artur Davis (D), respectively. In addition, Alabama's senior senator, Richard Shelby (R), is a resident of Tuscaloosa.

On the state level, the city is split among the 5th, 21st, and 24th Senate districts and 62nd, 63rd, and 70th House districts in the Alabama State Legislature.


File:Tuscaloosa black warrior river.jpg
The Black Warrior River is vital to Tuscaloosa's economic health.

Despite its image as a college town, Tuscaloosa boasts a diversified economy based on all sectors of manufacturing and service. Twenty-five percent of the labor force in the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area is employed by the federal, state, and local government agencies. 16.7% is employed in manufacturing; 16.4% in retail trade and transportation; 11.6% in finance, information, and private enterprise; 10.3% in mining and construction; and 9.2% in hospitality. Education and healthcare account for only 7.2% of the area workforce with the remainder employed in other services.[9]

Tuscaloosa was ranked in the November 2009 issue of Fortune Small Business as one of the "50 Best Places to Launch a Small Business" (ranked #11 among metro areas with populations of 250,000 or less).[10]

The city's industrial and manufacturing base includes BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing, GAF Materials Corporation, Hunt Refining Company, JVC America, Nucor Steel and Phifer Wire among numerous other operations.

Another significant contributor to the manufacturing segment of the city's economy is the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International assembly plant located on a site in Tuscaloosa County located near Vance approximately 20 miles east of downtown. The plant began assembling the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in 1997 and the R-Class Grand Sport Tourer in 2005 and just recently began production with the GL-Class. Plants that supply components to Mercedes-Benz also make their home in Tuscaloosa and add to the economic strength of the city.

The Westervelt Company, a land resources and wildlife management company has its headquarters in Tuscaloosa. The company was formerly the Gulf State Paper Corporation, with headquarters in Tuscaloosa from 1927 until 2005 when it sold its pulp and paperboard operations to the Rock-Tenn Company of Norcross, Georgia. Gulf States then restructured to form Westervelt.

Health-care and education serve as the cornerstone of Tuscaloosa's service sector, which includes the University of Alabama, DCH Regional Medical Center, Bryce Hospital, the William D. Partlow Developmental Center, and the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center.


Tuscaloosa is home to two regional malls, University Mall and McFarland Mall, and a lifestyle center, Midtown Village, which is anchored by Barnes and Noble and Best Buy.

University Mall and Midtown Village, which are located along McFarland Boulevard, anchor the core retail area of the city. Other retail properties in this area include McFarland Plaza (formerly known as Bama Mall), an open-air mall anchored by Stein Mart and Toys R Us, and many other free standing store and restaurant, most notably SuperTarget and Home Depot, which are located on former east campus of the Shelton State Community College.

Other large retail areas in the city are located around the intersection of Skyland Boulevard and Alabama Highway 69/Interstate 359 (Lowe's, Academy Sports and Outdoors, K-Mart, Cobb Theatres) and around the intersection of McFarland Boulevard and Skyland Boulevard (McFarland Mall, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Sam's Club).

As in many cities across the US, the downtown area used to be the main retail area of Tuscaloosa until the opening of McFarland and University malls in what was then the suburbs. While efforts to restore the entertainment and cultural offerings in downtown in recent years have paid off dividends, a revival of the retail offering has been less successful.


File:UA Denny Chimes.jpg
Denny Chimes on the University of Alabama campus

Education is a vital component of the city as Tuscaloosa is home to several colleges and schools. The University of Alabama is the dominant institution of higher learning. Enrolling approximately 27,000 students, UA has been a part of Tuscaloosa's identity since it opened its doors in 1831. Stillman College, which opened in 1875, is a historically Black liberal arts college that has approximately 1,200 students.

Additionally, Shelton State Community College, one of the largest in Alabama, is located in the city. The school enrolls around 8,000 students from all backgrounds and income levels. The majority of Shelton State students are "traditional" students. They are usually either first-time college students earning associate degrees for transfer to four-year institutions after graduation, or UA and Stillman students enrolled in entry-level classes that they cannot or do not want to take at their home institutions.

The Tuscaloosa City School System serves the city. It is overseen by the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education, which is composed of eight members elected by district and a chairman elected by a citywide vote. The Board appoints a Superintendent to manage the day-to-day operations of the system. Operating with a $100 million budget, the system enrolls approximately 10,300 students. The system consists of 19 schools: 12 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools (Paul W. Bryant High School, Central High School and Northridge High School), and 2 specialty schools (the Tuscaloosa Center for Technology, a vocational school, and Oak Hill School for special needs students). In 2002, the system spent $6,313 per pupil, the 19th highest amount of the 120 school systems in the state.[11]

Tuscaloosa is also served by several private schools, both secular and religious, including Tuscaloosa Academy, American Christian Academy, Holy Spirit Catholic High School, Open Door Christian School, the Capitol School, and Tuscaloosa Christian School (in neighboring Cottondale).

Since 1923, the state-run William D. Partlow Developmental Center has served the mentally retarded, offering these citizens a public education as well as seeing to their other needs.

Culture and Recreation

Tuscaloosa is home to a variety of cultural sites and events reflective of its historical and modern role in Alabama and the Southeast in general. Many of these cultural events are sponsored by the University of Alabama. Numerous performing arts groups and facilities, historical sites, and museums dedicated to subjects as varying as American art and collegiate football dot the city.

Libraries and museums

Tuscaloosa Public Library main branch on Jack Warner Parkway

The Tuscaloosa Public Library is a joint city-county agency with nearly 200,000 items on catalog. A total of 46,857 registered patrons use the library on a regular basis — roughly 28% of the population of the county. There are currently two branches in the city, the Main branch on Jack Warner Parkway and the Weaver-Bolden branch in western Tuscaloosa, and a third branch in suburban Taylorville (Brown branch).

Additionally, the University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College have campus libraries that are open for use to the public.

Museums in Tuscaloosa are located all over town, but are primarily concentrated in the downtown area or on the campus of UA. Museums that are downtown include CHOM: the Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa and the Murphy African-American Museum. The Alabama Museum of Natural History and the Paul W. Bryant Museum are located on the UA campus. The Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art is located on the grounds of NorthRiver Yacht Club in northern Tuscaloosa. Additional museums and galleries are found across the river in Northport. The Jones Archaeological Museum is located 15 miles south of Tuscaloosa at the Moundville Archaeological Park in Moundville.

Performing arts

Numerous performing arts organizations are active in the Tuscaloosa area. The Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa County is an association of various performing arts organizations in the Tuscaloosa area. Many are affiliated with UA or Shelton State Community college, but several are independent organizations. A few of the performing arts groups active in Tuscaloosa include (a full list of Arts Council members can be found here):

  • String Quartet Society of Tuscaloosa
  • Theatre Tuscaloosa
  • Tuscaloosa Winds
  • Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre
  • Tuscaloosa Community Dancers
  • Prentice Concert Chorale (formerly Tuscaloosa Community Singers)
  • Dance Alabama!
  • Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre
  • UA Theatre and Dance
  • UA Opera Theatre

The Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, which had its twenty-fifth season in 2006-2007, is based at the Moody Music Building. Korean maestro Shinik Hahm has been music director since the 2001-2002 season, but will step down at end of the 2009-2010 season.


The Frank Moody Music Building on the UA campus holds a 1000-seat Concert Hall and a 140-seat Recital Hall. The Concert Hall features a three-story-tall, 5,000-pipe Holtkamp organ. The Recital Hall features a Schlicker organ. Also on the UA campus, Rowand-Johnson Hall, holds the Marian Gallaway Theatre, a 305-seat proscenium theater and the Allen Bales Theatre, a 170-seat thrust theatre. Finally, Morgan Hall features a 600-seat auditorium.

The Sandra Hall-Ray Fine Arts Centre on the Shelton State campus holds the Bean-Brown Theatre, a 450-seat proscenium theater, and the 100-seat Alabama Power Foundation Recital Hall.

The Bama Theatre is a 1094-seat proscenium theater located in downtown Tuscaloosa and is operated by The Arts and Humanities Council.[12] The Bama Theatre was built between 1937 and 1938 under the New Deal-era Public Works Administration as a movie palace. At the time of its construction in 1938, it was the only air-conditioned building in Tuscaloosa. The theatre was renovated as a performing arts center in 1976 and housed the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and Theatre Tuscaloosa troupe until those groups moved into their own facilities.

Today, the Bama Theatre is the residence of the Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre Company and the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers.[13] Additionally, its hosts the Arts Council's Cinema Nouveau movie series, which screens foreign and independent films. The Bama Theatre hosts a Jewish Film Festival in the spring, as well as several traveling film festivals. Additionally, the Bama Theatre has recently been serving as a concert venue, hosting recent performances by Joan Baez, Aimee Mann, the Drive-By Truckers, Umphrey's Mcgee, Ryan Adams, Chuck Leavell and many other performing artists.


A nightlife is offered by venues such as The Red Shed, Jupiter Bar and Grill, Copper Top, The Houndstooth and Egans. During football season the strip, an area of a few blocks on either side of University Boulevard (toward downtown from campus) pulsates with students, alumni, locals and visitors.

Eateries in Tuscaloosa range from the upscale Cypress Inn to a shabby steak house, Nick's in the Sticks. Downtown offers Italian cuisine at Venice Italian Fusion or Depalma's; biscuits and grits are served at the Waysider, a landmark filled with Crimson Tide paraphernalia, or across the river at Northport's City Cafe or Northport Diner. Ribs are available at various locations, most famously Dreamland There are numerous other less-famous BBQ locations—including Archibald's, Woodrow's, and Mike and Eds.


Prior to each football game is a massive gathering at the UA Quad, where people gather starting on Friday for tailgating and the University of Alabama holds pep rallies on the Gorgas library steps. The Quad has hosted ESPN's Gameday several times and also is a place to meet Alabama football legends on game day and perform the "Elephant Stomp" to Bryant-Denny Stadium with the Alabama mascot "Big Al" and the Million Dollar Band.

On the first Thursday of each month, the Tuscaloosa art galleries open their doors for "Art and Soul" — highlighting local artists. There is a shuttle service that runs between this event and Northport's "Art Night."

Parks and Recreations

The Tuscaloosa County Parks and Reacreation Authority (a county agency that receives a large amount of its funding from the city) operates several parks and activity centers within the city. Additional public recreational sites are owned and maintained by the University of Alabama and federal agencies such as Corp of Engineers.

The University of Alabama Arboretum is located on 60 acres (243,000 m2) of land at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Pelham Loop Road, adjacent to the VA Hosptial. The arboretum's primary emphasis is on Alabama's native flora and fauna. It includes 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of walking trails through native piney woods and oak-hickory climax forest, a wildflower garden containing more than 250 species, ornamental plants, an experimental garden, a bog garden, an open-air pavilion, and a children's garden. Two greenhouses contain collections of orchids, cacti, and tropical plants.


Tuscaloosa is known for its collegiate athletics - particularly the University of Alabama football team. The Crimson Tide is one of the most storied programs in the history of college football. In the 1925 football season, an underrated University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team played in the first of many Rose Bowls, defeating Washington 20 - 19 and giving the Tide the first of 12 national championships. The Tide's 12 national titles are the most recognized by any university in college football history. The Crimson Tide also has the most SEC championships, the most bowl appearances and the most bowl wins of any team in college football.

The University of Alabama also currently fields championship–caliber teams in baseball, men's basketball, women's gymnastics, and women's softball. These teams play in athletics facilities on the university campus, including Bryant-Denny Stadium (capacity of 92,000+), Coleman Coliseum (formerly Memorial Coliseum), Sewell-Thomas Baseball Stadium, Alabama Softball Complex, and the Ol' Colony Golf Complex.

Stillman College fields teams in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball, among other sports. In the past decade, Stillman has gone through a renaissance of renovations, including a new football stadium, Stillman Stadium.

Tuscaloosa is also the birthplace of Otis Davis, 400-meter track world record holder and gold medalist at the Rome 1960 Summer Olympics.

In 2006, a World Basketball Association team, the Druid City Dragons, was unveiled but eventually folded after one season.


Tuscaloosa is part of the Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston television market, which is the 40th largest in the nation.[14] All major networks have a presence in the market. WCFT 33 is the ABC affiliate, WIAT 42 is the CBS affiliate, WBRC 6 is the Fox affiliate, WVTM 13 is the NBC affiliate, WBIQ 10 is the PBS affiliate, WTTO 21 is the CW affiliate, and WABM 68 is the MyNetworkTV affiliate. Additionally, WVUA 7, an independent station, is operated by the University of Alabama. The Tuscaloosa City School system is home to a student television production program: Bryant-Central-Northridge Television (BCN-TV)

Tuscaloosa is the 234th largest radio market in the nation.[15] In January 2007, of the top-ten-rated radio stations, two were urban, three were country, two were contemporary, and one each was gospel, oldies, and talk radio.[16]

Tuscaloosa serves as home base to Alabama Public Radio, the state's largest public radio network. APR's main studios are housed at the University of Alabama, and the flagship signal, WUAL-FM, originates from a transmitter south of town. WUAL serves Tuscaloosa, portions of the Birmingham metro area and several counties of west-central Alabama.

The Tuscaloosa News is the major daily newspaper serving the city. The Tuscaloosa News also publishes Tuscaloosa Magazine. Its offices are located west of downtown on a bluff overlooking the Black Warrior River. The Planet Weekly is an alternative weekly newspapers while The Crimson White is the independent, student-run newspaper of the University of Alabama. The prestigious literary magazine Black Warrior Review was founded by graduate students of the University's Creative Writing program in 1974, and is edited and published by students in the English program. Several other smaller magazines and newsletters are published and distributed locally, such as Destination Tuscaloosa magazine.


Health and medicine

DCH Regional Medical Center is the main medical facility in Tuscaloosa. Operated by the publicly-controlled DCH Healthcare Authority, the 610-bed hospital opened in 1916 as the Druid City Infirmary.[17] The emergency department at DCH operates a trauma center (it is not certified as an official trauma center by the American College of Surgeons, however) that serves all of west central Alabama and is one of the busiest in the state.[18] The DCH Healthcare authority also operates Northport Medical Center in neighboring Northport.

Other major medical centers in Tuscaloosa include the 702-bed Veterans Affairs Medical Center-Tuscaloosa and the 422-bed Bryce Hospital.


File:Alabama 215 in Alberta City.jpg
University Boulevard (Alabama State Route 215) heading east through Alberta City. Decades ago, this was the main road to Birmingham.

Tuscaloosa is connected to other parts of the country and the world via air, rail, road and sea. The city lies at the intersection of several highway-grade roadways, including three federal highways (US 11, US 43, and US 82), three Alabama state highways (AL 69, AL 215, and AL 216) and two duplexed (conjoined) Interstates (I-20 and I-59). Interstate 359 spurs off from I-20/I-59 and heads northward, ending in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Greyhound Bus Lines provides passenger bus service to Tuscaloosa. Its station is located at 2520 Stillman Blvd in downtown Tuscaloosa. The Tuscaloosa Transit Authority operates the Tuscaloosa Trolley System. The Tuscaloosa Trolley provides local public bus transportation with four fixed routes that operate Monday through Friday from 5:00AM to 6:00PM. The trolley's paint job is an illusion; it is a El Dorado Transmark RE bus, painted to look like a trolley.[19]

The Tuscaloosa Regional Airport, on the north side of the Black Warrior River west of downtown Northport, is equipped with two lighted runways (6499' and 4001') and provides full facilities for the general aviation which the airport mainly serves. The airport also supports private jetcraft, but passengers of commercial aircraft from Tuscaloosa embark at either the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, located 53 miles away on the east side of downtown Birmingham, or the much larger and busier Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, located 210 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia.

File:Tuscaloosa Alabama Amtrak Station.jpg
The Tuscaloosa Amtrak Station, one mile south of downtown
Amtrak provides passenger rail service to Tuscaloosa though the Crescent line, which connects the area to major cities along the east coast from New York to New Orleans. The Amtrak station is situated at 2105 Greensboro Avenue, one mile south of downtown. Norfolk Southern Railway and Alabama Southern Railroad provide freight services to the area. KCS previously provided service to the area before leasing its lines to Watco in July 2005.[20]

The Army Corps of Engineers has maintained a system of locks and dams along the Black Warrior River for over a century to allow navigability all the way up to Birmingham. Barge traffic thus routinely runs through Tuscaloosa to the Alabama State Docks at Mobile, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Via the Tenn-Tom Waterway, the city is connected to the Ohio River valley and beyond.

Points of interest

Notable residents

Arts and entertainment




Notes and references

  1. Code of Alabama 1975, Title 11, Chapter 40, Section 11-40-1
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Alabama" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2009. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2008-04-01.csv. Retrieved July 1, 2009.  file in Excel format
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. Hubbs, Guy (Spring 2009). "Tuscaloosa on My Mind", Alabama Historical Association newsletter. Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 4-5.
  5. "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. Tuscaloosa Area Climate. University of Alabama - Department of Mathematics. Accessed December 03, 2005.
  7. Records and Averages - Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa Weather Forecasts on Yahoo! Weather. Accessed December 03, 2005.
  8. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. Percentages calculated using data from Table of Employment Statistics. Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. Accessed December 06, 2005.
  10. "Best Places to Launch a Small Business". Fortunte Small Business. November 2009. http://money.cnn.com/smallbusiness/best_places_launch/2009/. 
  11. About Us: Students. Tuscaloosa City School System. Accessed November 24, 2005.
  12. Bama Theatre. Arts Council of Tuscaloosa.
  13. About Us. Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre
  14. "Nielsen Media Research Local Universe Estimates (US)" (pdf). Nielson Media Research. http://en-us.nielsen.com/etc/content/nielsen_dotcom/en_us/home/measurement/tv_research.mbt.39577.RelatedLinks.13293.MediaPath.pdf. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  15. Arbitron Radio Market Rankings: Spring 2007 Arbitron. Accessed July 24, 2007.
  16. Tuscaloosa, AL, Ratings. RadioandRecords.com Accessed July 24, 2007.
  17. The Licensed Bed figures were taken from data from the Hospital Directory of the Alabama Hospital Association. The DCH Health System website lists the numbers of Licensed Beds at DCH Regional Medical Center to be 583.
  18. Directory of Services: Trama Center. DCH Health System. Accessed November 26, 2005.
  19. http://www.uatrolley.org/door/
  20. Kansas City Southern Railway leases five of its branch lines, | Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City) | Find Articles at BNET
  21. http://www.chuckleavell.com/
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Reichler, Joseph L., ed (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th edition ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. Template:Citation/identifier. 

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