In 1814, Jesse Wilson laid claim to “Wilson’s Hill” located above Shoal Creek, making it the oldest settlement in Shelby County, Alabama. In 1817, after General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians on the Coosa River, homesteaders like Wilson and his family and friends settled in the area. During this time, the area was known as “a little mountain in a valley,” and Montevallo is thought to have derived its name from this geographical reference. The direct Italian translation of Montevallo is “on a mound in the Valley.”
Montevallo’s rich history and deep roots left behind treasured buildings and places that remain integral parts of the community. The classic main street is just one example, with buildings dating back to the late 1800s. The city has tried to maintain its original charm, character and natural beauty as growth has continued to occur in and around the city. Seventy-three homes and buildings in Montevallo, as well as a significant portion of our downtown, have earned their place on the National Historic Register, including Reynolds Hall and other buildings on the University of Montevallo campus. Some areas have even taken shape as tourist attractions for the city, such as the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum and Farrington Hall. Montevallo’s historic Post Office is located on the corner of Main and Vine Street, and is one of twenty-three post offices in Alabama selected to receive artistic decoration under the New Deal government during the Great Depression. Early Settlers Weighing Cotton (1939) by William S. McCall was commissioned as part of a federal art project organized under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) from 1935 to 1943.Over the coming months and years, Montevallo joins the State of Alabama in celebrating our shared Bicentennial. While the State's official Bicentennial year is 2019 - the year it officially became our Nation's 22nd State - we have focused on 2017, the year our community was established, as the time to recognize our Bicentennial.