Jeter Hall

Jeter Hall

Jeter Hall was not originally one of the college buildings, but the elementary school.  In 1915, when the town needed a new school, there was no money for an architect’s fee so Mr. Murice P. Jeter, Sr. Chairman of the Montevallo School Board, drew the plans and kept watch over construction.  Much later the structure was named in his honor.

After fifty years it no longer served the needs of the town as a school.  In a property swap, Alabama College acquired the building, which was in danger of being taken down, and completely renovated it with college labor.  In February 1965, the Social Sciences Department moved in; for the first time, it had a home of its own and the faculty has individual offices.  The first classes were held on February 5.

Despite the 1964-1965 renovation, the old building needed further repairs.  They were made in 1978 when the floors were completely carpeted, the heating/cooling system replaced and other changes made to make it serve the needs of the department. In 1985 Judge James H. Sharbutt of Vincent, Alabama furnished an area on the third floor for seminar rooms and such and to serve as a repository for the memorabilia of a long public life.  It was dedicated on February 15, 1985.   In 2004 the carpet was taken up ad replaced with tile.

Murice Presley Jeter (1873-1953)

Mr. Jeter, for whom the Social Science Building is named, was a Virginian who came to Montevallo in 1900 after more than a decade in Marengo County.  Here he became a partner in the mercantile firm of Davis and Jeter.  In 1922, it became the Jeter Mercantile Company which lasted until 1977 when the family sold the property.  The last of the old-time mercantile companies, it attracted many visitors who were interested in the kinds of goods stores once carried.

Mr. Jeter was a useful member of the Montevallo community.  For ten years he was the official weather observer for the town; he was elected repeatedly to the City Council; for a time he was president of the Merchants and Planters Bank; he was active in the Exchange Club.  A member of the First Baptist Church for over 50 years, Jeter was also chairman of its Board of Deacons much of that time.

It was his interest in, and work for, the schools, however, that entitled the family to have his name on this building.  He was chairman of the Montevallo School Board in 1915 when it was built for the elementary school.  The Board was so short of funds that it could not hire an architect, so Mr. Jeter drew the plans and gave this building and many others in Montevallo “unofficial supervision.”  Later he was on the County Board of Education for many years, choosing to retire in 1946.  Few people have rendered greater service to Montevallo over a longer period of time than Mr. Jeter.

(This is an excerpt from White Columns & Red Bricks by Lucille Griffith, Ph. D.)

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