Montevallo an enjoyable stroll through the past

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Take a day or two to visit and experience Montevallo.

Charles Binion, a city resident, describes Montevallo as: &8220;A city of real country charm with a bit of college culture.&8221;

Montevallo is an old town, established more than 150 years ago and steeped in history. More than 70 buildings on the University of Montevallo campus and homes along the perimeter are listed on the National Historic Register.

Of special interest is King House, just off of Bloch Street. It was built in 1823 by Edmund King, one of the early Montevallo settlers, and was said to be the first house in Alabama with glass windows.

Among the brochures at the Chamber of Commerce you&8217;ll find &8220;The Red Brick Tours.&8221;

These are self-guided walking tours including &8220;Great Caesar&8217;s Ghost,&8221;

&8220;A Walk Through Time&8221; (historic structures), &8220;Through These Portals&8221; (columns and structural ornaments) and the very popular &8220;Trunk Show&8221; (trees on the UM campus).

These walks are a delightful way to spend a summer morning.

The American Village is one of Alabama&8217;s major tourist attractions. Plan at least a couple of hours for experiencing the adventure of old colonial days. You&8217;re likely to meet Benjamin Franklin, George Washington or Patrick Henry strolling around the green.

The Village summer program, &8220;Revolution,&8221; is a wonderful colonial history lesson that both children and adults enjoy. The 4th of July Independence Day 1776 celebration promises to be the best ever.

While you&8217;re at the Village, you&8217;ll want to tour Southern Living&8217;s Showcase House. Inspired by George Washington&8217;s official presidential mansion, the house has all the charm of colonial days with today&8217;s conveniences. Village visitor information can be found at

Coal mining was once the major industry in Montevallo and the surrounding area. The history of this coal mining is wonderfully depicted in the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum.

The museum is housed in the building that was originally the company store. There is an extensive collection of pictures, artifacts, mining equipment and fossils. A recent addition to the museum is &8220;Rajah Slope,&8221; an 80-foot simulated coal mine slope. Call 665-2886 for information.

Mike Mahan, a local historian explains: &8220;Downtown Montevallo is one of the best examples of turn-of-the-century architecture in Alabama.&8221; Enjoy browsing among the books, glassware, furniture, jewelry and gift items. Explore Twice as Nice for a real bargain, learn to weave or knit at Sheep to Shawl or search for that special antique china at the House of Serendipity.

For a delightful and relaxing lunch, take a table on the porch of the Eclipse or try out Alabama Coach in the garage of the old bus station for a wonderful &8220;meat and three.&8221;

A visit to Montevallo is not complete unless you go for a leisurely walk along beautiful Shoal Creek in Orr Park. If you get the feeling you&8217;re being watched as you amble along, you&8217;ll look back and discover the animals and Nordic faces hiding among the trees. They are realistic carvings in the old cedars done by Tim Tingle, a local artist.

That area of the park is called Tinglewood. You might want to have a picnic there in the park by the gazebo. Be careful, or you could fall asleep as you listen to the melody of the soft splash of water as it flows over the rock falls.

Montevallo&8217;s Web site is and UM&8217;s is

Catherine Legg can be reached at