tv American History TV CSPAN April 16, 2016 7:46pm-8:01pm EDT
tv, it gives you that perspective. -spane he's been fa -- c family. >> all weekend, american history tv featuring tuscaloosa, alabama. tuscaloosa borders the black warrior river and in our southwest of birmingham. c-span's city tour staff visited many sites showcasing the city's history. learn more about tuscaloosa all weekend on american history tv. ringing] >> we are standing right in the central heart of the original canvas at the university of alabama. -- original campu at the university of alabamas in. 1831 , when the store is opened, it would have been and i doesn't rotunda. -- a magnificent rotunda.
up byrth end is taken what is now the library. we are standing in the quad, as it is known today. interestingly enough, the quad has been the central part of campus from its earliest how things. the rotunda was right behind me. you can imagine alongside either edge, east and west, where the university dormitories were. directly behind it was the lyceum. that was another classically inspired building where all the classrooms took place. on either side of the lyceum were the faculty houses. this was like an educational village right and the middle of what, at the time was considered by outsiders as the wilderness, the western country. so land was granted for the university in 1827. the university opened its doors in 1831. the campus was designed by the state architect william nichols, who also designed the state
capitol building in downtown tuscaloosa. it was designed as an academic village, speak, on the model of the university of virginia. even going so far as to design a rotunda based on both jefferson's rotunda at uva and also on the pantheon. our rotunda was actually a half scale version of the ancient pantheon in rome. >> i think the whole idea was bound up with putting tuscaloosa on the map more than anything. we had been designated as the capital of the state, moving it west. there was a lot of energy in settling the western part of the state of alabama. and so alongside with that political center comes an educational center. so the land is granted 1.5 miles west of the government. initiated here with huge resources. so we've got the state architect brought in. he has designed the most
magnificent space in the south, it could be argued. and he has laid out a plan along the lines of jefferson's village, it makes quite a statement. between the time of its founding in 1831 to the epic of the civil war, the university -- to the outbreak of the civil war, the university grew in prestige. many that started as faculty rose through administration. some becoming president of the university. many moving on into local state, and even national politics. with the impending doom of the civil war seeming inevitable, the university changed its focus from a center of classical education to a military institute in 1860. with that came in on exchange to the university. of what had always been a university built in the classical style changed to a neo-gothic orientation. will be have today isa
university that mostly looks classical with it and develop past, but has interspersed these neo-gothic inspirations from that military government. we are looking at the president's mention. mansion.dent's originally it was not part of the campus. there was no planned mansion. the president actually lived in faculty housing. shortly before the university, williams michael -- william nichols was commissioned to design the president's mansion. it was opened in 1841. it was considered at the time to be a grand palace. [laughter] it was beyond anything else that existed in tuscaloosa the time. quite ostentatious. it was in the greek revival style. the classicism suits the rest of the university. one interesting thing that
surprises a lot of people is the presence of two of the original four slave quarters. they are still behind us. there is one originally used as a living space for the enslaved people. the university of alabama actually did own a handful of slaves at any given time. they would have 2-3 of them. of course, presidents could bring as many as several dozen with them. basil mainly owned 38 slaves on campus. faculty and students also brought enslaved people with them to assist them in their daily lives on campus as well. this is an especially significant structure because it's one of the earliest remaining on campus. the campus was burnt to the ground april 4, 1865. there are various urban legends about why the president's mansion wasn't spared. -- was spared. perhaps the president's wife begged the union soldiers not to
burn it to the ground, that it was of no assistance to the confederate army. whether or not that is true, it survived the war. is one of a handful of many buildings from the antebellum campus. is a cornerstone for the university today. we are standing in the sight of what was originally the end -- stnading int he site of what was originally the southern end. at the time it was a military institution, the rotunda went up in flames in 18 city five. there was nothing the townspeople could do but watch it burn. it really cut the campus to the court to have this -- the core to have this space, which was really the pride of the region, to be destroyed during the war. it was considered one of the most magnificent spaces in the south. it burned to the ground and was lost. is supposedly smoldered for a long time in the devastating
fire. took decades for the university to actually take the remains of the building away. it sort of sat there as a ruin of war. when the university was rebuilt in the 1880's, the main parts of campus just moved back a little bit. park hall and garland and manly, which are just behind the library here actually became the new central heart of campus after the devastating loss. robert malone and others in the late 1980's did archaeological excavation. they found the foundations of the rotunda, the 19th century rotunda. they marketed with flagstone. : e portico, the facade -- the column line facade, this concentric circle. this ourteter one was a ring of
columns. a series of corinthian columns lined the interior of the domed structure. and those are marked with flagstone in the pavement as well. right behind me is the spot that is known today as the mound. this is the site of one of the original university dormitories, franklin hall. this was one of four the original dormitories on campus that surrounded either side of the central quad, surrounding the central rotunda in the middle. all four of those were destroyed in the civil war. but the remains of franklin hall were left for the longest amount of time. there was so much archaeological evidence there, eventually it just grew up over time. and we have the remains in the form of demand h -- of the mound here today. just beyond the mound you see th roundhousee, kind of like a
castle. that was the first military inspired structure on campus. that was built in 1862.it was established specifically as a site where the students living in these dorms could be alerted if the federal troops were advancing. the university rented three enslaved young men whose job it was disregard. on the morning -- job it was to serve guard. on the morning of april, when the troops were advancing, they were told to alert the long call, which meant beat the drum to alert the soldiers living on campus that they were being advanced upon by the federal troops. the university students and collected military that were here at the time were far outnumbered by the united states army that had arrived.
they essentially departed, but the federal troops sacked the university. they burned essentially the entire campus. the roundhouse is one of the few remnants that remains. the university president's mansion is another. this house behind us here is another 1830's structure, part of the original campus plan. essentially the rest of the campus was destroyed. after the devastation of the war, it took a couple years. a new university plan was put in place based on -- actually it's modeled after virginia military institute. this medieval style architecture began being built in the quad just behind the original campus. it's actually back there, in 1867. woods hall was the first building constructed between 1867-1869.
enrollment at the school struggled until the mid-1870's. with the devastation of the south, growth was slow. but by the 1880's, several buildings were in place. the university began gaining back prewar steam. >> the story of this campus is reall such a unique tale of a university at rose out of nothing to become this center of classical learning in the ofstern country, to a place military training, and ultimately decimation. to a place that rose again, so to speak, to return to its roots of classical learning. its story is certainly unique in terms of its decimation and rebuilding. i think it is something that people here in tuscaloosa are very much aware of, and proud of
how far we've come. tour staffes recently traveled to tuscaloosa, alabama to learn about its history. learn more about tuscaloosa and other stops at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. eastern, aat 10:00 look at president's giving their last speeches at the white house correspondents dinner. one of the key events here in washington. >> i've even had time to watch the oscars. i was little disappointed in that movie, "the last emperor." i thought it was going to be about don regan. [laughter] bush has got a. brand spanking new campaign strategy. he's moving towards the
political center. distancing himself from his own party. stealing ideas from the other party. [laughter] i'm so glad dig morris has finally found -- dick morris has finally found work again. [applause] >> we''ll also talk with senior white house correspondent, press president of the white house correspondents association. join us tonight at 10:00, and be sure to tune in for our live coverage of this year's white house correspondents dinner on saturday, april 30 at six clark p.m. eastern on c-span. -- at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> john dean, former white house counsel to president nixon, and now barry goldwater chair of the americans vision at arizona state university, teaches a class on watergate and the discovery of the nixon white house taping system. in june, 1970 three, during testimony before the senate watergate committee, mr. dean
implicated president nixon and officials, including himself in the watergate cover-up. mr. dean later pled guilty of obstruction of justice for his role in watergate and served 4 months in prison. this class is about an hour and 10 minutes. prof. dean: discovering the taping system -- is it lucky or inevitable? that is the discussion of these lectures. the whole story of the nixon tapes has been only partially told. it has taken me years together and find out what happened. it's one of the most important factors in the watergate story. i think it's important to get that history straight. we will try and do that in a very summary fashion today. before i start, i'd like to remind you that other persons did -- other presidents did take, starting with