Driveway to Flowerhill

Driveway to Flowerhill

Since the spring of 1926, each of the presidents of Alabama College/University of Montevallo and their families have lived in a stately, two-story brick dwelling a third of a mile away from the heart of the campus at the end of a tree-lined drive: Flowerhill.

Before that date, the presidents had lived elsewhere.  Captain Reynolds had his own home in Montevallo on a spot where Whaley Center is now.  It was a huge, rambling Victorian structure that housed not only his own family but, in the early years, some students and faculty as well.  The second president, Dr. Francis M. Peterson, lived in a brick veneer president’s home built in 1906 that stood on a spot between the present Wills and Palmer Halls.  Dr. Palmer also later lived there until it burned on May 5, 1921.  The Palmer family moved into the Infirmary where they remained until Dr. Palmer died in 1926.

The president’s new home had been designed by Mrs. Palmer but she did not choose the furnishings, leaving that to the next “first lady,” Mrs. O. C. Carmichael, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.  Insurance money from the first president’s home was used for that purpose.  Loveman’s in Birmingham were low bidders for the furniture and Jobe Rose for the silver.  The first official function in the new facility was a reception on May 22, 1926.

During its first half century, the house had had only minor repairs so it was not surprising that a thorough overhaul was needed by the time the coming of UM’s 11th president.  In 1977-78, at the direction of the Board of Trustees, floors were shored up, new wiring and plumbing installed, the walls restored and redecorated and furnishings either restored or replaced.  Today, it is again a lovely place in which to live and entertain and is a focal point of campus social life.

That Flowerhill is a beauty spot is primarily due to the interest and gardening skills of two presidents’ wives, Mrs. A. F. Harman and Mrs. D. P. Culp.

Flowerhill

Flowerhill

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

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