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Reynolds Hall

This stately antebellum building is the second oldest structure on campus.  It was built in 1851 of locally burned brick and by slave labor specifically for use as a school.  Although it has changed hands many times, it has been used for educational purposes only.  It was one of the gifts (along with four “squares in the heart of the town” and the promise of a year’s supply of coal) that the town offered to the Board of Trustees to locate Alabama Girls’ Industrial School in Montevallo.  When the school opened on October 12, 1896, Reynolds Hall, with the exception of a few wooden buildings, was the whole physical plant.  In it were classrooms, the chapel, and the president’s office.
Reynolds Hall has undergone many changes.  The exterior walls are the original ones but the interior has been changed many times and used for many purposes.  It is named for Captain Henry Clay Reynolds, the first president of AGIS, 1896-1899.

Captain Henry Clay Reynolds
Mr. Reynolds was not an educator but a businessman.  Born in McMinnville, TN, he came with his family to Alabama in the 1840’s.  The family engaged in several enterprises in the state including a stagecoach line and pony express.  In 1861 young Clay, as he was called, went to war as a private in “Company 1 of the 51st Alabama Regiment Cavalry, Morgan Brigade, Wheeler’s Command.”  This unit often acted as independent rangers and frequently worked behind enemy lines.  He must have been effective because at the end of the war there was a $500 prize on his head.  He left the Confederate army a lieutenant; his title of Captain was purely honorary.
Some time after the end of the war he moved his young family to Montevallo where he went into the “furnishing” business.
Mr. Reynolds became an educator by necessity.  Miss Julia Tutwiler, the initial choice for President of the fledgling school, resigned in the summer of 1896.  Fearing interest in the school would die unless it was opened immediately, the trustees turned to Reynolds on short notice.
Elected president on September 18, Mr. Reynolds moved with lightning speed to advertise for students, hire a faculty and prepare the “old college building” for use.  The school opened with over one hundred students on October 12, less than a month later.  A miracle!
In the three years he was president, he built Main Hall, added wings to the “old college building,” fenced in the campus, acquired 25,000 acres of public land from Congress and popularized the school, which in 1899 had over four hundred students.

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