Tuscaloosa County was formed in 1816 from former Choctaw and Creek Indian lands. Its county seat, Tuscaloosa, later served as the state capitol from 1826 until 1846. During this time and prior to the Civil War, the city became a center of the cotton-based economy in west Alabama. The wealth generated then is still evident in the Battle-Friedman House, the Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion, and Drish House. The University of Alabama was established and would later help lead the region out of the depression left by the Civil War. It is a leading educational institution in the state and long a national football power.