University of Alabama Tutwiler Hall slated for implosion on July 4th. Learn about the woman behind the name.

Tutwiler
Tutwiler Hall on the campus of the University of Alabama. (University of Alabama /Facebook)

Written by Lily Plowden

The University of Alabama will implode one of their most iconic residential buildings, Tutwiler Hall, on July 4 at 7 AM. Tune in to The Bama Buzz Facebook Live to watch. 

Who was Julia Tutwiler?

Julia S Tutwiler
Julia S Tutwiler. Photo via encyclopediaofalabama.org

Who hasn’t learned about Julia Tutwiler in their fourth grade Alabama history class? Here’s a refresher.

Tutwiler Hall is named after Julia Tutwiler, known as the mother of co-education at the University of Alabama. She was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1841 with her father being one of the first professors at the University of Alabama and a proponent of education for girls and women. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Some fun facts about Julia Tutwiler: 

  • She successfully lobbied the University Board of Trustees to allow female students admittance, and thanks to her efforts the first women were enrolled in the University in 1893. 
  • She was also a fierce advocate of prison reform in the state of Alabama. She was known as the “angel of prisons” and there is a women’s prison named in her honor.  
  • She was a poet and even wrote the Alabama state song. 
  • She was the first, and to this day the only, female president of the University of West Alabama. She was also a key figure in the establishment of the University of Montevallo.
  • She studied in both Germany and France before starting her career in academia. 
  • She was one of the first inductees into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame at Judson College in Marion, Alabama. 
  • She also discovered one of the rarest ferns on Earth which is called Tutwiler’s spleenwort in her honor. 

Birminghamians—if the name Tutwiler sounds familiar, it’s probably because you have heard or even passed the Tutwiler Hotel downtown. There have been two iterations of the Tutwiler Hotel in Birmingham’s history, the first being completed in 1914 and demolished in 1974 and the second being named in honor of the first. The name comes from Major Edward Tutwiler, a founder of the original hotel and Julia Tutwiler’s cousin. 

Why is Tutwiler Hall being demolished?

Tutwiler Hall was completed in 1968 and has since housed over 50,000 women. Understandably, the University wanted to update the building. After evaluations, the University realized that no renovation would be cost effective, so planning for a new Tutwiler Hall began. The implosion is being handled by D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company and Dykon Explosive Demolition Corporation. 

Future plans

University Of Alabama
A rendering of the New Tutwiler Residence Hall at the University of Alabama. Rendering via University of Alabama

​​A drawing of what the new Tutwiler Hall will look like when completed. (The University of Alabama)

As mentioned above, a new Tutwiler Hall has been constructed and will be open in August. The new building will have a 1,284-bed capacity and will feature state-of-the-art amenities and furnishings. Each room will feature two twin beds with a shared private bathroom, as opposed to communal bathrooms in the old building. The building will also feature community spaces with TVs and whiteboards, a fitness area, a craft room and a large storm shelter. The building will remain an all-women freshman residence hall. 

Don’t forget to wake up early and tune into the Bama Buzz Facebook livestream of the demolition tomorrow morning at 7 AM to see the University of Alabama’s very own 4th of July fireworks! No worries if you miss it—Bama Buzz will be posting the livestream afterwards. 

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Pat Byington
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