Tuscaloosa County, one of the oldest counties in Alabama, is located in the West-Central portion of the state. Within its boundaries are the foothills of the Appalachians, fertile farmland, and the Black Warrior River. The area was originally home to Native Americans, including the famed Chief Tuskaloosa from whom the county received its name. European encounters with the area began during DeSoto's explorations of the 1500s, but white settlement did not begin in large numbers until the early 1800s. The county grew quickly in population and influence after Alabama became a state in 1819, hosting the the state capital from 1826 to 1847 and the University of Alabama, opened in 1831. Tuscaloosa County flourished during the antebellum years, as the white and black population steadily grew. The physical and economic devastation brought by the Civil War left a deep scar on the county and brought an abrupt halt to its development. It overcame lean postwar years to become a leading population and educational center in the early 1900s. Today, Tuscaloosa County is enjoying steady growth and one of the highest standards of living in the state. Its rich and storied past includes Native American legends, Civil War skirmishes, educational and athletic achievement, and a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the county, physical vestiges of this rich heritage abound: Antebellum homes, quiet old cemetaries, landmark downtown business establishments, and picturesque ruins. The TCPS hopes that making them accessible in this unique way, more people will come to appreciate them and join us in our effort to preserve our past.