Alabama Book Store added to National Register of Historic Places

Alabama Book Store added to National Register of Historic Places
The Alabama Book Store (Source: The Alabama Historical Commission)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A mainstay and a piece of history on The Strip in Tuscaloosa is now part of the National Register of Historic Places.

The Alabama Historical Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, announced The Alabama Book Store in Tuscaloosa is now on the register.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources, worthy of preservation.

Properties listed in the NR include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture at the local, state, and/or national level. Alabama has more than 1,250 properties in the National Register.

“The National Register properties in Alabama tell an incredibly rich and diverse story of who we are as people, where we’ve been as a culture, and where we are going as a community,” said Lisa D. Jones, State Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director Alabama Historical Commission. “Through the advocacy of citizens and the Alabama Historical Commission, we hope these resources and their legacies remain for generations to come.”

The Alabama Book Store, 1015 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County

The retail site has not always featured its familiar crimson awning, but the impact block lettering of Alabama Book Store has welcomed collegians seeking supplies and textbooks for nearly 80 years. Three generations of the Jones family have owned the retailer, which is currently known as Bamastuff. Located on “the Strip” in Tuscaloosa, AL and adjacent to The University of Alabama, the Alabama Book Store was established in 1938 and opened in the University Boulevard location in 1942.

The property was nominated for its local significance as the longest-operating collegiate bookstore in Tuscaloosa. According to the nomination, written by Gene Ford, “the Alabama Book Store has been an integral part of the educational experience at the University of Alabama” for more than 80 years. The Alabama Book Store not only provided books and supplies but also hired students to work in the store.

Over the years, the business adapted to changes in the university curriculum, in technology, and in students’ needs. It was also one of the first commercial buildings in Tuscaloosa to install air conditioning, which cooled the bookstore when it opened in 1942.

The Alabama Book Store was also recognized for its architectural significance. The building was designed by notable Alabama architect David O. Whilldin (1881-1970) and is an excellent example of Depression Modern architecture in Tuscaloosa. The building’s symmetrical limestone façade and simple ornamentation are typical of this style.

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