Tuscaloosa, Alabama


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Infobox City
official_name = Tuscaloosa, Alabama
settlement_type = City
nickname = T-Town, The Druid City



imagesize = 250px
image_caption =


image_



image_




mapsize = 250px
map_caption =


mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Alabama
subdivision_name2 = Tuscaloosa
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Walt Maddox
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E8
area_total_km2 = 172.8
area_land_km2 = 145.7
area_water_km2 = 27.1
population_as_of = 2006
population_footnotes = cite web | date = June 21 2006 | url = http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2005-04-01.csv | title = Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Alabama | format = CSV | work = 2005 Population Estimates | publisher = U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division | accessdate = November 9 | accessyear = 2006]
population_total = 83057
population_metro = 116324
population_density_km2 = 480.6
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_ft = 223
latd = 33 |latm = 12 |lats = 24 |latNS = N
longd = 87 |longm = 32 |longs = 5 |longEW = W
area_total_sq_mi = 66.7
area_land_sq_mi = 56.2
area_water_sq_mi = 10.5
elevation_m = 68
region =
website = [http://www.tuscaloosa.com/ www.tuscaloosa.com]
postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 35400-35499
area_code = 205
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 01-77256
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0153742
footnotes =

Tuscaloosa is a city in west central Alabama in the southern United States. Located on the Black Warrior River, it is the seat of Tuscaloosa CountyGR|6 and the fifth-largest city in Alabama with a population of 83,052 (2006 U.S. Census Bureau Estimate). Tuscaloosa is named after the Choctaw chieftain Tuskaloosa (which means "Black Warrior" in that language), who battled and was defeated by Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mauvila.

Best known as the home of The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa is also the center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for the region commonly known as West Alabama. Tuscaloosa attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County. Nevertheless, the University remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city.

Tuscaloosa, its neighbor Northport, and the surrounding suburban communities form the core of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Greene, and Hale counties.

History

The area at the fall line of what would be later known as the Black Warrior River had long been well known to the various Indian tribes whose shifting fortunes brought them to West Alabama. The river shoals at Tuscaloosa represented the southernmost site on the river which could be forded under most conditions. Inevitably, a network of Indian trails converged upon the place, the same network which, in the first years of the 19th century began to lead a few intrepid white frontiersmen to the area. The pace of white settlement increased greatly after the War of 1812, and a small assortment of log cabins soon arose near the large Creek village at the fall line of the river, which the settlers named in honor of the legendary Chief Tuskaloosa of the Choctaw tribe. In 1817, Alabama became a territory, and on December 13, 1819, the territorial legislature incorporated the town of Tuscaloosa, exactly one day before Congress admitted Alabama to the Union as a state.

From 1826 to 1846 Tuscaloosa was the capital of Alabama. During this period, in 1831, The University of Alabama was established. The town's population and economy grew rapidly until the departure of the capital to Montgomery caused a rapid decline in population. Establishment of the Bryce State Hospital for the Insane in Tuscaloosa in the 1850s helped restore the city's fortunes. During the Civil War following Alabama's secession from the Union, several thousand men from Tuscaloosa fought in the Confederate armies. During the last weeks of the War, a brigade of Union troops raiding the city burned the campus of The University of Alabama. Tuscaloosa, too, suffered much damage from the battle and shared fully in the South's economic sufferings which followed the defeat. The construction of a system of locks and dams on the Black Warrior River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1890s opened up an inexpensive link to the Gulf seaport of Mobile, stimulating especially the mining and metallurgical industries of the region. By the advent of the 20th Century, the growth of the University of Alabama and the mental health-care facilities in the city, along with strong national economy fueled a steady growth in Tuscaloosa which continued unabated for 100 years. Manufacturing plants of large firms such as Michelin and JVC located in town during the latter half of the 20th Century. However, it was the announcement of the addition of the Mercedes facility in 1993 that best personified the new era of economic prosperity for Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa is known as the Druid City because of its abundance of old oaks and hardwoods. This nickname was given during Civil War times.Fact|date=June 2008

Geography and climate

Tuscaloosa is located at coor dms|33|12|24|N|87|32|5|W|city (33.206540, -87.534607).GR|1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tuscaloosa has a total area of 66.7 square miles (172.8 km²), of which, 56.2 square miles (145.7 km²) of it is land and 10.5 square miles (27.1 km²) of it (15.68%) is water. Most of water within the city limits is in Lake Tuscaloosa, which is entirely in the city limits, and the Black Warrior River.

Tuscaloosa is situated on the Black Warrior River approximately 60 miles southwest of Birmingham. The city occupies a unique location of fall line of the Black Warrior River on the boundary between the Appalachian Highland and the Gulf Coastal Plain approximately 311 km (120 mi.) upriver from the river's confluence with the Tombigbee River in Demopolis. Consequently, the geography of the area around Tuscaloosa is quite diverse, being hilly and forested to the northeast and low-lying and marshy to the southwest.

Climate

The area experiences a typical Southern subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. The Gulf of Mexico heavily influences the climate by supplying the region with warm, moist air. During the fall, winter, and spring seasons, the interaction of this warm, moist air with cooler, drier air from the North along fronts create precipitation. These fronts usually move from west to east as they track along the jet stream. Notable exceptions occur during hurricane season where storms may move from due south to due north or even from east to west during land-falling hurricanes. The interaction between low- and high-pressure air masses is most pronounced during the severe weather seasons in the spring and fall. During the summer, the jet streams flows well to the north of the southeastern U.S., and most precipitation is consequently convectional, that is, caused by the warm surface heating the air above. Severe thunderstorms can bring damaging winds, large hail and occasionally tornadoes. A violent F4 tornado struck Tuscaloosa County in December 2000, killing eleven people. Tuscaloosa City was struck by an F2 Tornado in January 1997 which resulted in the death of one person.


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