And for the first time in more than half a century, the three-story structure, built in 1834 and said to be haunted by Dr. John Drish, his wife, Sarah, and others, now stands alone on a circle on 17th Street, is north facade facing the Black Warrior River down 23rd Avenue and its south side facing the part of Tuscaloosa that grew up where vast ante bellum cotton fields owned by Drish one were. It looked particularly ominous this rainy, gray afternoon as I headed home from work.
Southside Baptist, which had added to both sides of the house on the east and west (the house itself was used by the church for Sunday school classes and other purposes) deeded the historic building over to the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society a couple of years ago, and starting last Friday, demolition crews began brining down the Sanctuary adjacent to the Drish House’s west side. The addition to the east side of the house had already been removed. The society hopes to stabilize the old building and make repairs to the exterior while it waits for a patron interested in restoring the interior, where Dr. Drish died after falling off a second story balcony under mysterious circumstances and his wife died a few years later in an upstairs bedroom.
I’ve been by the site several times over the last few days and jokingly asked my old friend and former co-worker Willie Peeples, who has his own demolition, company now, if they had stirred up any ghosts in the process of tearing down the additions.
Well, as a matter of fact, he said some people had come by Monday morning and told him that over the weekend they had seen lights in the third floor tower. Such lights are part of the Drish House lore, but you’ll have to wait until Sunday more.
Source: Tuscaloosa News