The Old Tavern has been a fixture in downtown Tuscaloosa since the time of the capital era. Innkeeper William Dunton built the structure in 1827, three blocks from its current site as a tavern and hotel on the stagecoach route that passed through Tuscaloosa. One of the few remaining nineteenth-century inns in the state, the Old Tavern provides visitors with a rare glimpse of early Tuscaloosa commercial architecture. During its operation as a hostelry, it served as the temporary home and meeting place of legislators, Confederate soldiers, and countless people traveling to or through the city. At one time, it was even the temporary home of Governor John Gayle (1831-1835).
From 1882 to 1964, the structure was occupied as a private residence by several local families. The Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society acquired it through a deed in 1964. It was relocated to Capitol Park, and TCPS began a much-needed restoration on the tavern. Today the Old Tavern is a museum showcasing the early history of Tuscaloosa County.