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University of Montevallo –
Located in the town of Montevallo, 35 miles south of Birmingham, 7 miles off Interstate 65.
University of Montevallo
Montevallo, Alabama 35115
The University of Montevallo is spread out across a 160 acre main campus, surrounded by lawns, groves and flower beds.
Twenty-eight campus buildings or sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The University of Montevallo is a high-quality, small liberal arts college with a student body of 3,100 students and a well educated faculty. Many beautiful buildings, both old and new, house the students, the four colleges and their support staff, classrooms, administration, libraries and everything else needed and wanted on this university campus.
Four colleges make up the University of Montevallo: The College of Arts and Sciences, The Michael E. Stephens College of Business, The College of Education, and The College of Fine Arts.
The land where the college now stands has a history of its own, before the very beginnings of the present college. Wealthy businessman, Edmond King, moved to this area in the 1820s with his wife and son and carved a homestead on top of a hill. He lived there with the neighboring Indians who still occupied the land, naming his lovely home, Mansion House. Mansion House (known now as The King House) was considered the most glorious mansion in the county, possibly the state. His family and his money were two things which were near and dear to his heart.
As time passed, more people developed the area. During the Civil War, an existing building was turned into a Confederate hospital building (now known as Reynolds Hall), as the area became a rest and regroup area for the Confederate forces. Underground tunnels were supposedly also constructed to be used as a safer way for Confederate soldiers to move about. Nearby in town, there was the Brierfield Ironworks where high quality iron ore was made for the Confederate army's war effort. When a group of the Union army, lead by Sherman swept into town to destroy the Brierfield Ironworks, it is said that they also made a stop at the Confederate hospital and massacred all the sick and wounded men. The story goes that many of these victims were buried in Kings Cemetery, which is located on the present day campus.
In October 1896, the old hospital and other existing buildings became The Alabama Girls' Industrial School, opened up as a great educational experiment, with the goal of educating young women to be self-supporting by being trained to be teachers, bookkeepers, artists, musicians, dressmakers, telegraphers and milliners. This school began because of a dream of Julia Tutwiler, on a mission to provide educational opportunities for women. Captain Henry Clay Reynolds was one of the main backers for this college and worked hard to have this college established in Montevallo. So, It wasn't surprising that Captain Henry Clay Reynolds became the first President of this institution. The old hospital building was renamed Reynolds Hall in honor of the good Captain. Unfortunately, Captain Reynolds was asked to leave as President when it was discovered that students were sending their tuition money directly to him, which he was using for a personal investment.
The 4 story west wing of the main dormitory Hall for the students was built and ready for occupancy by the fall of 1897. By 1899, the student body was made up of 400 young women. It is in this dormitory that Condie Cunningham died in a fire on the fourth floor in 1908.
In 1907, a new man, Thomas Waverly Palmer became the President. After the demand for teacher training programs became evident, Palmer instituted a more ambitious teacher training program, which blossomed throughout the years. In 1911 this industrial school was upgraded to Alabama Girls' Technical Institute. In 1919, the words "and College for Women" were added. In 1923, the name evolved to Alabama College, State College for Women, a degree-granting institution.
In 1956, men were admitted and the school became Alabama State College. Pre-professional programs in medicine and law and business administration were added. The Alabama State College had evolved and grown so much that by Sept. 1, 1969, the college graduated into The University of Montevallo.
Many entities have made their home on this campus. All are basically well-behaved despite whatever the reason is that they can't or won't go to the other side.
HISTORY of manifestations - Reynolds hall:
- Reynolds Hall - Now is the theatre building where students go to class to study and practice performing their craft.
There are two stories/theories as to why Captain Henry Clay Reynolds is haunting the building named for him. One story says that during the Civil War, Captain Reynolds was given the duty of providing security for the sick and injured men in the Confederate hospital, which was in this building. When he heard about the upcoming siege which would happen at the Brierfield Ironworks in town, he left his post with some men to help in the battle. When he returned afterwards, he discovered rooms full of massacred men, whom he may have been able to save if he had stayed. He vowed never to leave the building unprotected again in his lifetime or the next.
The second story claims that Captain Reynolds wasn't even stationed there during the supposed massacre, which some say never happened. (Civil War soldiers who did die in the hospital, are buried in The Kings Cemetery) Some say that the haunting is because Captain Reynolds was asked to step down as college president because he took student money to invest in a bank, which flopped. He was very bitter about this, because he had been so instrumental in getting the school established here, and he truly loved his job.
The blue spectre of Captain Henry Clay Reynolds has been seen, heard and his presence is felt wandering around the building.
He has been known to follow students late at night.
Doors and windows shut by themselves.
In certain areas of the hall, there are cold spots and areas which give the living chills.
When the picture of Captain Henry Clay Reynolds was taken down in the lobby of Reynolds Hall where it hung, and replaced with another picture, his picture was mysteriously hung back up again and its replacement was on the floor.
HISTORY of manifestations - old main hall:
- Old Main Hall (Women's Residence) - Fourth floor of the Old West Main Hall is haunted by one or two female entities.
On February 4th, 1908, Condie Cunningham and her friends were either heating up hot chocolate or making fudge on a burner. An alcohol bottle was inadvertently knocked over, causing a fire in their room to start. Condie's nightgown caught on fire and soon she was a human torch, screaming down the hall as she ran before she collapsed. She died soon thereafter.
An apparition of a young woman running down the hall with flaming hair and body has been observed on occasion.
Sometimes the sound of running feet down the halls is heard when no one living is there.
Her blood-curdling scream is sometimes heard in the shower room or hall.
Doors and windows open and close at will.
Sometimes a disembodied voice is heard, saying "HELP ME!"
The door of Condie's old room, which is wooden, has an apparition of her face, with flames around it.
It is said that a young woman committed suicide by hanging herself in her room.
Some think that it is she, as well, who comes in and out of rooms, opening and closing doors.
Some think it is her face on the door and not Condie's.
HISTORY of manifestations - The king house:
- The King House
Edmond King loved his Mansion House and his money. In 1863, just before he died, he decided to bury his money under a peach tree, to prevent the Union Army from taking his treasure. Also his wife and son died before he died, at the age of 82.
An apparition of a old man has been seen wandering around the outside yard, carrying a lantern and a shovel as if to check up on his buried treasure or to perhaps visit the graves of his wife and son.
While walking by the house at night, students saw a lantern at the window traveling across the second floor when no one was in the house.
An apparition of an elderly gentleman was seen inside, sitting at his table, counting his coins.
Students walking by during the day were startled by a slightly see-through elderly gentleman dressed in 1800s garb, waving in a good natured way at them from the second floor window.
During a wedding reception held in this house, a huge, white-robed phantom became visible underneath the dining room table and floated out the window in front of all the guests. Who says ghosts don't like parties?
There are cold spots felt in his old bedroom.
HISTORY of manifestations - palmer hall:
- Palmer Hall - Named after Thomas Waverly Palmer. Palmer Hall is a huge building with a 1100 ft. auditorium, an organ and stage area and a downstairs.
W.H. Trumbauer, known as Trummy, was one of the designers of Palmer Hall. His name was left off the cornerstone by mistake. OOOPS!
A student was practicing the organ in Palmer Hall. She had stopped and was getting ready to go home, when she heard a disembodied voice asking her to continue playing. She was alone in the hall or so she thought!
The ghost of Dr. W. H. Trumbauer was an enthusiastic supporter of the annual College Night, an event where a contest is held to see who can put on the best play, which takes place during homecoming festivities. Trumbauer still gives his opinion; never mind that he is dead! He lets the living know which play he thinks is the best by swinging the battens over the performance of his pick, during the final dress rehearsal of all the shows in the contest. Because Trumbauer was a perfectionist, his opinion is valued.
Trummy has been known to appear to students as he wanders around backstage.
The old mirrors which used to be on the dressing room walls downstairs used to be a place to see entities of women dressed in long dresses, getting ready for a performance long ago.
HISTORY of manifestations - Hanson Hall:
Hanson Hall Women's Residence - The third floor houses a sorority.
A dedicated entity who was a strict housemother is still on the job, watching over the women in her residence hall.
Residents who are up late studying feel like they are being watched, like an unseen presence has been patrolling the halls and has come inside the room to investigate.
One student left her mug on her desk. It mysteriously disappeared one day, but reappeared in the same spot a few weeks later.
Oh yes indeed!
Sources include: montevallo.edu * ghostinvestigator.tripod.com