Historic Markers Across Alabama



Vestavia Hills Baptist Church / George Ward



Marker ID: AHA 
Location: on Vestavia Drive east of Beaumont Drive, Vestavia Hills, Alabama
County: Jefferson
Coordinates: N 33° 27.699    W 086° 46.241
  33.46165    -86.77068333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMCPCQ
 



Text:

Vestavia Hills Baptist Church


Vestavia Hills Baptist Church, constituted May 6, 1957, first met at Vestavia Hills City Hall. The church purchased the George Ward estate in 1958. On the property was Ward’s home, “Vestavia,” a replica of a Roman temple built in the 1920s; a restaurant addition of the 1940s; and the Temple of Sybil. As the original structure deteriorated and church membership grew, the congregation razed Ward’s home, gave Sybil to the city, and built the present structure, completed in 1972.



George Ward 1867-1940


George Ward, born in Georgia, moved to Birmingham (1871) where his family operated the city’s first hotel, the Relay House. A successful businessman, he also was elected as a Birmingham alderman (1899), mayor (1904-1910), and president of the Birmingham City Commission (1913-17). Ward was a progressive urban reformer who, as mayor, oversaw the construction of libraries, playgrounds, parks, and community centers, and improved services to Birmingham’s African American community. “Vestavia,” the home Ward built on Shades Mountain overlooking Birmingham, was modeled on the Roman Temple of Vestal Virgins, and was surrounded by elaborate gardens.

Erected 2007 by Alabama Historical Association.







End of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church / George Ward