2300 17th St.
This historic house was built in 1837 by Dr. John R. Drish, a prominent early settler, as the focal point for a plantation that bordered the city limits of Tuscaloosa. Drish remodeled the mansion in the 1850s with the addition of massive columns and the distinctive Italianate tower. The house remained one of the finest residences in the city until 1906 when it was converted into a public school. In later years, it deteriorated and was used as a garage. Walker Evans, one of America’s most famous photographers, photographed the once grand mansion in the 1930s. His “Tuscaloosa Wrecking Company” is one of his best known photographs and is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In the 1940s, the Southside Baptist Church purchased the house as a meeting site, and, over the years, built a large sanctuary abutting the house and a free standing Sunday school building on the property. In this configuration, the house remained until 1995, when the church, with a dwindling and aging population, closed its doors. The structure was leased for several years to the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa County and then deeded to the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society in July of 2007. The Preservation Society is currently working to stabilize the home and develop a plan for an adaptive reuse of this important area landmark.
For more information, see Current Projects.