Vestavia Hills, Alabama

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Vestavia Hills is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a suburb of the city of Birmingham.

Contents

History

Vestavia Hills is named for the 20 acre (8.09 hectare) estate of former Birmingham mayor George B. Ward. It was situated on the crest of Shades Mountain in what is now the northern edge of the city. Ward's mansion at the Vestavia estate became a landmark in the area as soon as it was completed in 1925. The two and a half story house was patterned after the circular Temple of Vesta in Rome, with dark pink sandstone walls encircled by twenty massive white Doric columns surmounted by a carved entablature. The extensive gardens, populated by statuary and peacocks, featured a smaller domed gazebo, which was patterned after the Temple of Sibyl in Tivoli.

After Ward's death, the house, something of a tourist stop near the highway between Birmingham and Montgomery, was used as a tea-room and reception hall before being purchased by Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. The church met in the temple structure for several years before demolishing a portion of the building in 1971 to make way for a larger building. A center portion of the original building remains today. The gazebo was relocated by the garden club to a prominent outcropping closer to the highway to serve as a landmark gateway into the community.

The development of Vestavia Hills as a residential suburb began in 1946 when developer Charles Byrd planned a subdivision for approximately 1,000 persons on the southern flank of Shades Mountain. It was incorporated as a separate city on November 8, 1950 and has since grown, by rapid development and annexation, into a thriving small city. As of 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the Vestavia Hills is 31,051.[1]

Geography

Vestavia Hills is located at 33°25′59″N 86°46′44″W / 33.43306°N 86.77889°W / 33.43306; -86.77889 (33.433057, -86.778894).[2]

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