Associate Professor Emeritus Robert O. Mellown has published ten articles on the historic architecture of The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa for SAH Archipedia, a free and subscription-based encyclopedic resource for worldwide architecture published by the Society of Architectural Historians. Mellown’s articles are viewable in both versions.
Mellown wrote entries for Bryce Hospital; Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion; The University of Alabama campus; Gorgas House; President’s Mansion; Manly, Clark, and Garland Halls; Frederick R. Maxwell Hall (the old Observatory); Woods Hall; Morgan Hall and Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library.
Mellown is the author of numerous books and articles on architecture in Tuscaloosa including Historic Structures Reports for the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion, Drish House, Marmaduke Williams House and Bryce Hospital, authoritative architectural references commissioned by the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa County with support from the Alabama Historical Commission. His most recent book is The University of Alabama – A Guide to the Campus and Its Architecture (University of Alabama Press). Read more about Mellown’s publications here.
Right: Robert Mellown recently led a sold-out OLLI tour of UA’s historic campus architecture.
Mellown received his undergraduate degree in studio art from The University of Alabama. After receiving the PhD in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he returned to UA and taught nineteenth-century art and architecture, Renaissance and Ancient art for forty-one years. He serves on a number of community and state committees. He is a lifetime member of the Tuscaloosa Preservation Society and a founding board member of the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion Foundation. He was a member of the Bryce Hospital Historical Committee which was formed by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and The University of Alabama to insure the preservation of the integrity of the historic structure. He is a member of the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Committee and a consultant for the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
Launched in 2013, SAH Archipedia is an authoritative online encyclopedia of the built world, published by the Society of Architectural Historians and the University of Virginia Press. Their goal is to have all fifty states represented and to become a comprehensive resource for information on buildings around the world. Funding for the project also comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Institute of Architects, the Graham Foundation and Two Cat Digital. The Society of Architectural Historians, founded in 1940, is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism around the world.
Robert Gamble, retired Senior Architectural Historian at the Alabama Historical Commission, is State Coordinator for Alabama for the Archipedia project. Gamble wrote and compiled many of the current Alabama entries and recruited other architectural historians from around the state to write on their specialties. Gamble is the author of The Alabama Catalog – Historic American Buildings Survey: A Guide to the Early Architecture of the State (University of Alabama Press). Entries were also written by Ralph Allen, Cart Blackwell, Alice Meriwether Bowsher, Delos Hughes, Michael Panhorst, and Caroline Swope.
Alabama has sixty-four entries in all on the new website, the most coming from Tuscaloosa County and the University. Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile have seven entries each. According to the SAH Archipedia website, Alabama’s current sixty-four entries comprise the first half of a list of the state’s most representative buildings and sites. There’ll be more to come!
Above: Dr. Mellown discusses the renovation of a 19th century statue, “Hebe,” salvaged from Bryce Hospital with Bob Fanning (Engineering) and Art and Art History technicians Patrick O’Sullivan and Mike Eddins and (center) Professor Craig Wedderspoon. The statue was repaired, repainted and placed at the entrance of the New Bryce building.