The Haunting of the University of Montevallo

University of Montevallo –Shelby County, Montevallo, Alabama

Photograph ©State University.Com

University of Montevallo
720 Oak Street
Montevallo, Alabama 35115
(205) 665-6000

The 160 acres of land that the University now occupies, has some stories of its own.

American Indians occupied this land in the 1700-1800’s. In the 1820’s, a wealthy man by the name of Edmond King, moved himself and his family into the area and lived peacefully with the existing Indians.

Mr. King built one of the most glorious houses of Alabama, up on top of a hill that overlooked much of the surrounding lands. He deemed the home “Mansion House” but it was later known as “The King House”.

Meanwhile, more and more people settled into the area. Then, during the Civil War days, the Confederate Army used this area and are said to have dug out tunnels underground so that they could move around safely.

The army also turned an existing building into a hospital for the wounded; that building is now known as Reynolds Hall. This particular building has one of the most violent and horrifying histories in the state.

It is said that General Sherman led his men into the area to destroy the Brierfield Ironworks that supplied the Confederate Army. Before leaving town, Sherman ordered his men to sweep the hospital and all of the sick and wounded soldiers were massacred in there beds!

Apparently, the victims of this heinous attack were buried in the King’s Cemetery, which is located on the present campus of the University of Montevallo.

In 1896, the hospital and the other buildings that existed here, were turned into the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School and was later upgraded to the Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute that granted degrees for women.

It was within this time span, in 1908, that a young girl named Condie Cunningham and her friends were using a burner to make hot chocolate in her room. A bottle of alcohol that was sitting close by was accidentally spilled and started a fire in the room. Condie’s nightgown caught fire and she ran down the hallway screaming until she collapsed. Condie died soon afterward.

In 1956, men were enrolled as students and the school became the Alabama State College. By 1969 the school had grown immensely and became the University that it is now.

The King House Hauntings:
Even in death, Edmond King has been reported to still reside in his beloved “Mansion House”. Right before Mr. King died at the age of 82, he was said to have buried his money under a tree on the property to prevent the Union Army from stealing it. Many have said that they have seen Mr. Kings ghost wandering close the house, carrying a lantern and a shovel.

Students passing by this house have also claimed to have seen Mr. King passing by windows with his lantern, waving at them or sitting at his dining room table counting his money.

On another occasion, someone held a wedding reception in the house. All of the guests were in the dining room and they all witnessed a white robed apparition appear under the dining room table and float out of a near by window!

Reynolds Hall Hauntings:The spirit of Captain Henry Clay Reynolds is said to roam these halls. Captain Reynolds is said to have been in charge of protecting the army hospital in the Civil War days. It is thought that Captain Reynolds’s unrest is due to the loss of his men during the bloodbath inflicted by Sherman’s troops.

Captain Reynolds’s apparition has been spotted, as well as, felt by students in this building. Many have claimed that this specter actually followed them while they were on their way back to their dormitory!

Many have also complained of hot and cold spots, cold chills and doors and windows that open and close on their own.

On one occasion, the portrait of Captain Reynolds, that hung in the lobby, was taken down and replaced with the portrait of another person. The next morning, Captain Reynolds portrait was mysteriously back in its place and the new picture lay on the floor under it!
Old Main Hall Hauntings:The phantom of Condie Cunningham haunts this building. Her apparition has been seen running down the hallways, ablaze like a human torch! Sometimes only the sounds of her feet running or her agonizing screams are heard. Doors and windows are said to open or close themselves. Some have heard a voice saying “Help Me”. And, some have even claimed to see her flaming face in the door of her former room.
Palmer Hall Hauntings:One of Palmer Hall’s former designers, W.H. Trumbauer, is said to haunt this building. Apparently Mr. Trumbauer was a passionate sponsor of the college’s theatrical arts and is said to still give his opinions on the student’s performances. During the final dress rehearsal, he is said to swing the battens over the act he enjoyed the most.
Hanson Hall Hauntings:A former house mother to this building still watches over the students. Many who have stayed up late to study have felt her presence. Students have complained that they were alone and then suddenly felt like someone was watching them.