Montevallo becoming an attraction

Published 4:06 pm Monday, October 18, 2010

A group of Fultondale seniors pose with one of the fanciful carvings in Orr Park.

Who would ever think of Montevallo as a tourist destination? “Not many” may be your answer, but that has been the dream of community leaders for a very long time, and now that dream may be coming to fruition.

Mary Lou Williams, director of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce, has been the tour guide for several visiting groups recently.

She climbed into their bus outside her office, and conducted a tour of sites geared to the interests of those particular visitors.

As they observed the wonders of Montevallo, she entertained them with the stories and tidbits she has picked up in the 20-odd years she has lived and worked in the community. “I know,” said Williams, “that most people would be surprised by thinking of these groups as tourists, but they are tourists even when it’s just a day trip.

I’m always glad to take them by our two bed-and-breakfast inns and suggest that an over-night trip to Montevallo when there is a ball game, or an arts event, would be a fun weekend.”

Recently there were two church groups who went with Williams on Montevallo tours.

The SunShiners, seniors of Fultondale Baptist, visited after having made a stop at Brierfield Ironworks Park.

They were especially interested in Tim Tingle’s carvings in Orr Park.

That group, as many others, takes a monthly trip to a nearby town or attraction.

In September, a group of 16 seniors from Springville Road Community Church, spent a day enjoying Montevallo.

Williams walked with them to Davis Hall where Anthony Pattin graciously gave them a 30-minute concert.

Pattin is a famed pianist and professor of music at UM.

Williams led them on a driving tour of the historic campus and they had a delightful lunch at Main Street Tavern.

Then it was on to Orr Park, where they were intrigued with the cedar carvings.

A final stop was a visit to Parnell Library Art Gallery to see the interesting pictures of Montevallo as it was many years ago.

Williams will continue publicizing that Montevallo is an intriguing tourist destination.

She stresses that the chamber office is a good first stop for information and, if desired, a guide, so that visitors won’t miss such wonderful attractions as The American Village, Aldrich Coal Mine Museum and the Alabama National Cemetery.

Readers are asked to support the chamber’s efforts by informing friends in other cities that the rich history, wonderful art and drama, exciting sports, good food, beautiful scenery and friendly people make a visit to Montevallo long remembered.

Catherine Legg can be reached at