In 1924, George Ward, a former mayor of Birmingham, 1905-1909, 1913-1914, visited the City of Rome, Italy. He was so intrigued by the unique beauty of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins on a Roman hilltop that he vowed to build a replica of it on a chosen site near Birmingham. The site he selected was on a beautiful crest of Shades Mountain approximately two miles east of here. The temple was completed in 1925.
In Roman mythology, Vesta was the goddess of fire and of the family hearth, she was also the guardian angel of mankind. The temple was guarded by six Vestal virgins whose duties were to maintain the temple's eternal flame.
Mayor Ward called his temple Vestavia. The area surrounding the temple soon became a thriving suburban city. The name Vestavia Hills naturally evolved.
The structure above was the original summer house, The Temple of Sibyl The Prophetess. When the Vestavia Temple was destroyed, the Vestavia Hills Garden Club was responsible for moving the Temple of Sibyl to the present site. The rendering above is a replica of Mayor Ward's Vestavia Temple.
This plaque was presented to the City of Vestavia Hills by the Vestavia Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
Temple of Sibyl donated by Vestavia Hills Baptist Church
Listed in Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage - 1985