Both the county's name and the name of the river that runs through it can be traced back to the mid-1500s.It was during this time that the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto, forging his way north from the Gulf Coast, met and battled the Choctaw Creek Indians living in the area.
One of the Indian chiefs was Tuskaloosa. The word “tuska” means warrior and the word “lusa” means black. Over time, the county and its major city became Tuscaloosa. The river was named the Black Warrior.
It was nearly 400 years later, in the early 1800’s, that the area was really settled by whites. Just eight years later, an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature created Tuscaloosa, and the city was incorporated on December 13, 1819—one day before the State of Alabama was admitted to the Union. From 1826 to 1845, Tuscaloosa served as the capitol city of Alabama.
Northport, the county’s second largest city, was first settled in 1813 and was known as “Canetuck”. It wasn’t until 1871 that Northport was incorporated.
Up toward Birmingham, the community of Vance, the story goes, was once a campsite for Davy Crockett. After 170 years of existence, Vance was finally incorporated in 1972.
Nearby Brookwood, then and now a hotbed for coal mining, was incorporated in 1977.
Three other communities—Lakeview, Coaling, and Coker—were incorporated in the later 1990’s.
225 feet above sea level
City of Tuscaloosa – 56.06 square miles
City of Northport – 11.4 square miles
Tuscaloosa County – 1,340 square miles
Central Standard, November – March
Central Daylight, April – October
Tuscaloosa County 208,911
City of Tuscaloosa 100,287
City of Northport 25,094
Mean annual temp - 64.9° F
Lowest mean temp. (Jan.) - 53.6°F
Highest mean temp. (Jul.) - 76.3° F
Average rainfall - 54.91 inches
Tuscaloosa County is efficiently served by I-59/20, which connects to Atlanta via Birmingham in about three hours and to New Orleans in about five hours. U.S. Highway 82 provides the area with an excellent east/west connector, and U.S. Highway 43 offers north/south access. Tuscaloosa's central business districts are connected by I-359.
The Tuscaloosa County Transit Authority provides bus service for several intercity routes. The City of Tuscaloosa provides the Tuscaloosa Trolley, also a scheduled, intercity bus service. Greyhound Lines provides bus service to the city and charter buses are available, as well. Several taxi services have fleets operating daily.
Alabama Power Company
Water service is provided according to the area in which the service is needed. Below are telephone numbers for the City of Tuscaloosa and the City of Northport, however, there are several other companies providing service to rural areas throughout the County.
City of Tuscaloosa
City of Northport
Tuscaloosa County Clean Community Commission
New residents should obtain an Alabama license within 30 days after establishing residency. Newcomers with a valid out-of-state driver's license do not have to take the driving or written test but are required to take the vision exam. All fees for testing must be paid in cash. New licenses and permits are issued at:
The Alabama State Trooper's Office
2645 Skyland Boulevard East
Alabama driver's licenses may be renewed at
The Tuscaloosa County Courthouse Annex
2501 7th St. Ste. 100
(205) 349-3870, ext. 239
New Alabama residents must apply for an Alabama Certificate of Title and purchase an Alabama license plate within 30 days of establishing residency in the state.
When moving into Tuscaloosa County from another County within Alabama the tag will be good until expiration then must be replaced with a Tuscaloosa County tag.
For more information contact:
The License Commissioner's Office
Tuscaloosa County Courthouse Annex
2501 7th St.
(205) 349-3876 ext. 233-234
Alabama Traffic Laws
A book containing Alabama traffic laws is available at the Alabama State Trooper's office and at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.
Responsive, well-managed governments are a hallmark of life in Tuscaloosa County.
The Tuscaloosa County Commission has four members who are elected by districts, and the Commission is chaired by a probate judge who is elected at large. Besides its oversight of a large road and bridges program throughout the county, county government provides many other services - including a circuit court system and jail, property valuation and tax collection, and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department.
City of Tuscaloosa
City of Northport
Town of Brookwood
Town of Coaling
Town of Coker
Town of Lake View
Town of Vance
To vote in local, state and national elections you must be a citizen, at least 18 years of age, mentally competent and not under conviction of a felony.
You may register at any time, however, to vote in an election you must have been registered at least 10 days (30 days for municipal elections) prior to that election.
For more information on registering and instruction concerning physically challenged, absentee ballots, precincts and polling places, call:
The Board of Registrars Office
Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
714 Greensboro Avenue
Both Tuscaloosa and Northport have the same sales tax structure that comes to a total of 9%.
Property tax in the State of Alabama is the lowest in the entire U.S. All non-exempt property in Alabama is classified and assessed for taxation at the following percentages of fair market value:
Tax Collectors Office
Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
714 Greensboro Avenue
Members of the Tuscaloosa City Council and the Northport City Council are elected by districts, while the mayors in each city are elected at large. The towns of Vance, Brookwood, Coaling, Coker, and Lakeview have mayor-council forms of government.
Tuscaloosa County is the home of a longtime U.S. Senator, and the community (primarily through The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama) has established good relationships with other U.S. Senator and with the state's Congressional delegation.
The Tuscaloosa County delegation to the Alabama State Legislature is an effective group that works with local citizens on local and statewide issues.
DCH Regional Medical Center
Northport Medical Center
Veteran's Administration Medical Center
A list of Physicians in the Tuscaloosa area is available upon request from The Chamber office.
Partlow Developmental School
Indian Rivers Mental Health Facility
There are many quality childcare facilities in the Tuscaloosa area. Contact The Chamber for a listing of providers.
Elementary / Secondary Schools
Newcomers to the area will need the following information to register their children for school:
For information on registering new students contact the appropriate school office.
Tuscaloosa County Schools
Tuscaloosa City Schools
Tuscaloosa County has many innovative and successful private schools. Some are religious-based; some are college preparatory. They include Tuscaloosa Academy, The Capitol School,American Christian Academy, Tuscaloosa Christian School and Holy Spirit School.
Interstate 20/59, and 359 provide Tuscaloosa with quick connections to neighboring cities such as Birmingham, Atlanta and New Orleans. U.S. Highways 11, 43 and 82 and Alabama Highways 69, 13, 171, 76, and 215 keep Tuscaloosa County in close connection with the West Alabama and Northeast Mississippi region.
There are 20 motor freight companies and several package delivery companies servicing Tuscaloosa.
The Tuscaloosa County Transit Authority provides bus service for four different inner-city routes daily. In addition to the regularly scheduled service, vans are available on a call in basis for the elderly and handicap and Trolley buses which make a loop from the University through downtown during the lunch hours, evening hours, and for University of Alabama home football games.
Tuscaloosa Transit Authority
Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation
Van deGraff Field, Tuscaloosa's municipal airport, has a 6,500 foot lighted jet runway, providing high quality corporate, general and freight aviation services.
Tuscaloosa Regional Airport
7601 Robert Cardinal Airport Road
Birmingham's International airport, serviced by a number of major carriers, is an hour's drive from Tuscaloosa County and serves the region.
Norfolk Southern and Kansas City Southern Railroads provide freight service to Tuscaloosa.
Passenger service is provided by Amtrak's Crescent line from New York to New Orleans.
The Black Warrior River is navigable from Birmingport through Tuscaloosa to Mobile. The Black Warrior is also connected by the Tennessee-Mississippi River systems. Parker Towing Company, headquartered in Tuscaloosa, provides local and regional towing.
To Hunt and Fish in Alabama everyone age 16 years and older must have a valid hunting and fishing license. Citizens age 65 and older do not need a license if they have a valid Alabama driver's license in their possession. For more information check with a local sporting goods store or call:
The Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
As of October 28, 1999 citations will be presented to any person operating a motorized vessel on State Waterways without an operator's license. To receive information on obtaining applications and/or an Alabama Boat Operator's Certification manual contact:
The Alabama Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources Marine Police Division
The Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
The legal age a person can purchase or consume alcoholic beverages in the State of Alabama is 21. Alabama has strict "Driving Under the Influence" laws.
The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa's 28 member organizations support the participation in and enjoyment of the arts for people of all ages and interests. The Arts Council provides year round education for children through such programs as the Bama Fanfare, SPEXTRA and Summer Arts workshop. The Council also sponsors activities for families and adults.
For more information on the activities available please contact the Arts Council at (205) 758-8083. Other contacts include the Bama Theatre, (205) 758-5195; Sarah Moody Gallery Of Art, (205) 348-1890; Theatre Tuscaloosa, (205) 391-2400; and the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, (205) 752-5515).
Tuscaloosa County offers 33 public parks, playgrounds, sports fields, picnic areas, tennis courts and swimming pools. Several public and private golf courses, recreational lakes and rivers, numerous campsites and miles of hiking trails are located in the Tuscaloosa area. Information on these areas is available at The Chamber.
There are also three State Parks in the area: Lake Lurleen State Park, (205) 339-1558; Tannehill State Park, (205) 477-5711; and Moundville Archaeological Park, (205) 371-2572.
Visit the Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority for more information.
To obtain a marriage license for Tuscaloosa County, only one applicant must appear in person at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse. If there is only one applicant present, that person must provide identification for both parties. Applicants must show a birth certificate, valid driver’s license or other form of identification. The fee is $74.00 paid in cash. Both parents must accompany applicants under the age of 18. For further information call the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, (205) 349-3870.
As a home of international and national commerce and industry as well as a center of cultural and social life, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, is an ideal location for business. Our economy is strong, our people diverse, our community growing. Here, elements essential for success - natural and human resources, strong traditions, and a keen focus on the future. Those elements combine for a unique energy and spirit of partnership.
The Tuscaloosa News
The Northport Gazette
City of Tuscaloosa Curbside & Drop-Off Recycling
Department of Human Resources
3716 12th Avenue East
Social Services/Section 8
Social Security Administration
Local Office (205) 349-4863
The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama
2201 Jack Warner Parkway
Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports
1900 Jack Warner Parkway
(205) 391-9200 or (800) 538-8696
Tuscaloosa County Extension Service
Fifth Floor, Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
(205) 349-3886, ext. 288
Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
Tuscaloosa City Hall
Northport City Hall
Tuscaloosa Public Library
Alabama Museum of Natural History: Located in Smith Hall on the University of Alabama campus, this museum displays fossils, rocks and minerals from the Age of Dinosaurs, Ice and Coal Ages. For more information call (205) 348-7550.
Battle-Friedman House: Greek Revival Mansion houses city cultural center and museum. For more information call (205) 758-6138.
Bryant-Denny Stadium: Home of the twelve-time National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Under recent expansion, the stadium increased by 13,000 seats to a capacity of 83,000. For more information call (205) 348-6010.
Paul W. Bryant Museum: Celebrate more than 100 years of Crimson Tide football, beginning with the first team in 1892. Also view the recreation of the legendary Coach "Bear" Bryant's office. For more information call (205) 348-4668.
Capital Park: Reconstructed architectural features of the capitol building when Tuscaloosa was the state's capital from 1826-1846. The park is located in downtown Tuscaloosa at the intersection of University Boulevard and 28th Avenue. For more information call (205) 562-3200.
Children's Hands-On Museum: A fun and educational learning experience for children of all ages through hands-on exhibits, programs, and special events. For more information call (205) 349-4235.
Denny Chimes: Named after former University President George Denny, the tower was constructed in 1929, and then restored in 1986. This landmark is home to the "Football Walk of Fame", with hand and footprints of legendary Alabama players. For more information call (205) 348-6010.
Gorgas House: Built in 1829, the Gorgas House is the oldest building on the University of Alabama campus. Family heirlooms are on display. For more information call (205) 348-5906.
Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion: The 1862 antebellum mansion is one of the finest remaining examples of Italianate architecture in the South. It is home of the Tuscaloosa Convention and Visitors Center. For more information call (205) 391-9200.
Kentuck Art Center: The gallery features rotating monthly exhibits of some of the region's finest arts and crafts. There is also a gift shop specializing in arts and crafts by local, regional and national artists. For more information call (205) 333-1252.
Lake Lurleen State Park: Located about 10 minutes from downtown Tuscaloosa, the park offers 1,600 acres of recreational area for camping, hiking, swimming and fishing in the 250-area lake. For more information call (205) 339-1558.
Mercedes-Benz Visitor's Center: Plant tours are available Monday thru Friday by advance reservations. Exhibitions trace the history of Merced-Benz from 1886 to the present. This is the only Mercedes-Benz assembly plant outside of Europe. For more information call (800) 286-8762.
Mildred Warner House: This exquisitely furnished home has changing art exhibits. For more information call (205) 553-6200.
Moundville Archaeological Park: Located fifteen miles south of Tuscaloosa, the park is part of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. It is internationally known as one of the most important prehistoric Indian settlements. The 320-acre park includes nature trails, Indian villages, and a museum. For more information call (205) 758-2861.
Murphy African-American Museum: This museum was home to the first licensed mortician in Alabama. The exhibit rooms feature the Murphy family memorabilia. For more information call (205) 758-2861.
The Old Tavern Museum: The museum is an 1827 inn and stagecoach stop. Authentic antique furnishings are from the capitol period. For more information (205) 758-2238.
Renaissance Art Gallery: This gallery displays pieces by nationally known folk, traditional and contemporary artists. For more information call (205) 752-4422.
Tannehill Ironworks: This historical state park contains a monument to the Confederacy. The park offers camping, golf, hiking and swimming. Special events include a re-enactment of a Civil War battle and monthly Trade Days. For more information call (205) 477-5711.
University of Alabama Arboretum: Explore meadow, bog, and woodland wildflower gardens of native Alabama plants and plant communities. For more information call (205) 553-3278.
Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art: The Warner Art Collection displays more than 150 fine American art works, ranging from primitive to modern. For more information call (205) 553-6200.