Construction on the Jemison-Van de Graaf Mansion began in 1859. The architects, John Stewart and Samuel Sloan, designed Bryce Hospital too. Skilled slaves completed the majority of the construction, additionally most of the materials used came from plantations. The house consists of a foyer, a library, and not one, but two parlors. There is also a verandah. The Civil War, however, caused planned features for the house to remain incomplete.
The owner, Robert Jemison Junior, took part in a variety of occupations, owning as many as six plantations and more than five hundred slaves. Jemison became Senator Jemison for the state of Alabama. His opinion was not a secret. He was against the Union, but he served on the Confederate Senate. After the Civil War, with his money lost, he helped the effort to rebuild the University of Alabama.
The house was attained by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society and the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa. These organizations started renovations on the building, which continue today. This piece of history, located just inside Tuscaloosa, can be rented out for a variety of events.
Visiting the house was a blast from the past. The architecture is like nothing you would find today. That is just the beginning. The inside of the house, though renovated, resembles that of the 1800s. The information that I have learned in class allowed me to imagine the reality of the time while in the house.