Visit this historic Tuscaloosa house to admire its Italianate architecture and learn about the life of a well-known businessman and politician.
The Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is an historic and pioneering 19th-century house. Visit the house to admire its elegant and well-preserved architecture, to discover artifacts relating to its residents and learn about Tuscaloosa’s prosperity during the 1800s.
Built in the mid-1800s as a town house for local senator and businessman Robert Jemison Jr. and his family, the 26-bedroom mansion was known for its pioneering innovations. It was one of the first houses in Tuscaloosa to benefit from running water, a flushing toilet and a bathtub while also being the first house in the city to possess gaslights and a conservatory warmed by central heating. Architecture enthusiasts will also appreciate the mansion’s Italianate style.
Taking pride of place in the mansion’s foyer are portraits of Robert Jemison Jr.’s family, including his wife Priscila Cherokee Jemison and her mother Elizabeth Taylor. Look for displays of a gold necklace and brooch, which are the exact same ones depicted in the portraits of Jemison Jr.’s wife and mother-in-law. Other exhibits display more Jemison family memorabilia, such as bracelets, earrings, mirrors, silverware and a chest of drawers. You’ll also get the chance to sit in the family’s original antique chairs.
Visitors interested in paranormal activity might be interested in the story of Jemison Jr.’s daughter, Cherokee Jemison, and her husband Andrew Coleman Hargrove. Hargrove shot himself in the mansion’s library in 1895 and along with Cherokee Jemison is said to haunt the house.
You’ll find the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion situated a short walk south from downtown Tuscaloosa. There is ample free parking adjacent to the house. After visiting the house you might want to visit nearby attractions, including the Battle-Friedman House and Gardens and the free Murphy African American Museum.
The house is open to visitors from Monday to Friday and admission is free. Free guided tours are available upon request. Find further details on official website of the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society.