Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion, Tuscaloosa

4.2
#4 of 6 in Museums in Tuscaloosa
The Jemison–Van de Graaff Mansion, also known as the Jemison–Van de Graaf–Burchfield House, is a historic house in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States. The structure remained a private residence until 1955, when it served first as a library, then publishing house offices, and lastly as a historic house museum. The mansion was added to National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 1972, due to its architectural significance.
The 26-room Italianate mansion was designed by architect John Stewart for Robert Jemison, Jr., a local planter, politician, and businessman. Stewart was with the Philadelphia architectural firm of Sloan and Stewart at the time, partnered with Samuel Sloan. Construction began in 1859, as the nearby Alabama State Hospital for the Insane, designed by Sloan, neared completion. Stewart was in Tuscaloosa supervising the construction of the hospital. Jemison had been a significant political force in getting the Alabama Legislature to locate the proposed Alabama Insane Hospital in Tuscaloosa, since the state capital had been relocated to Montgomery in 1846.
Construction on the mansion continued into the early years of the American Civil War, being primarily completed in 1862. Although some items were never completed as planned due to the war and the resulting Union blockade of the South, the house made use of the latest technology. This included an elaborate plumbing system which featured running water, flush toilets, a hot water boiler, and a copper bathtub. This was some of the earliest modern plumbing in the state. The property also had its own coal gas plant, which provided the mansion with gas lighting and fueled a kitchen stove.
Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our international travel planner, Tuscaloosa Edition.
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Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
22 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We were in Tuscaloosa just stopping over on our way to Louisiana. We were wondering around about 7:00 p.m. and stumbled upon this mansion. Would have loved to have gone in it but they were closed for ...  more »
  • We just walked in off the street and very immediately taken on a tour just for us. The house is amazing and the stories about it are great. Highly recommend!!  more »
Google
  • William, Camille, and Brandon did an amazing job giving us a snapshot of life at the Jemison, Battle-Freidmen, and old tavern. Thank you so much for all you do to preserve Tuscaloosa's history.
  • Great place to visit. Wonderful history

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