Appropriately, Good Friday found AHFA in Tuscaloosa to interview a Hardest Hit Alabama customer and hear her story of hope after devastation. While in the area, AHFA visited two attractions that illustrate Tuscaloosa's long-standing history of redemption and rebirth.
First was Capitol Park, the site of the Alabama Capitol when Tuscaloosa was the seat of state government from 1826-1846. The building was destroyed by fire in 1923 and all that remains is the stone foundation and the ruins of a few columns. The site is now a public park, a place where students from a nearby private school can enjoy a picnic and games on a sunny spring day.
The next stop was the Tornado Survivor Tea Glass in front of McAlister's Deli on 15th Street. On April 27, 2011, Tuscaloosa was hit by a 1.5 mile-wide EF4 tornado that resulted in 64 deaths, over 1500 injuries, and massive devastation. A giant oak tree that stood in front of McAlister's Deli was destroyed, while the restaurant itself suffered minor damage compared to the surrounding buildings. A few months later, what remained of the tree was carved to resemble a giant glass of McAlister's sweet tea. It serves as a kitschy symbol of hope and regrowth for the city, and a testament to the resilience (and humor) of the people of Tuscaloosa.
#OurAlabamaHome is AHFA's theme for 2017. We regularly take road trips to visit with customers who have bought their home or found affordable housing because of AHFA programs. As we travel to visit these customers, we're also highlighting the city or town they live in to celebrate Alabama and illustrate how AHFA's programs reach all across the state. Together, our customers' testimonials bring #OurAlabamaHome to life. Keep track of our travels on AHFA's Facebook page and here on our website.