John R. Drish House
Location Name John R. Drish House
Location Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Category House
Built 1837
Owned By Dr. John R. Drish
Class Mansion/Plantation
Status Closed (Open as tourist destination)

The John R. Drish House was built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1837.

History Edit

Construction and Ownership Edit

In 1837, Dr. John R. Drish built a 450-acre plantation with a brick mansion. Drish had come to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1822 from Virginia. Drish was a widower, but he later married the wealthy widow Sarah Owen McKinney in 1835. He was a successful physician and building contractor, and was the owner of many skilled slave artisans. These slaves helped build early Tuscaloosa. Prior to the Civil War, the home was remodeled in Italianate-style with a three-story brick tower, front columns, brackets added to overhangs, and two-story cast iron side porches on each side. John drish died in 1867 after reportedly faling down a stairway, and Sarah Drish in 1884. After Sarah's death, the mansion changed owners many times.

Jemison School Edit

The building turned into Jemison School in 1906, having been bought by the Tuscaloosa Board of Education. It operated as a school for nineteen years. It was sold to another owner in 1925.

Tuscaloosa Wrecking Company Edit

Charles Turner bought the school and turned it into a parts warehouse known as the Tuscaloosa Wrecking Company. The company lasted in the house for fifteen years, until it was sold to the Southside Baptist Church in 1940.

Southside Baptist Church Edit

As the Southside Baptist Church, a Sunday School was added to the building. The church owned it for the remainder of the 20th century. Eventually, in 1994, the building was threatened by proposed demolition. However, it was leased to the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa County instead of the church (which had closed in 1995). By 2006, the house was falling apart and was added to the "Places in Peril" list by the Alabama Historical Commission and Alabama Trust For Historic Preservation. In July, 2007, the deed was given to the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, and they have since made efforts to fix the structure. The society now hopes to raise enough money for its restoration. In 2009, the church's add-on buildings were demolished.

Hauntings Edit

There have been a number of haunting reports of the house since the early 20th century. These reports include people seeing the three-story tower on fire when there is no fire present, and ghostly lights coming out of the house.

In Popular Culture Edit

Trivia Edit

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External Links Edit