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Sibyl Temple - Vestavia Hills, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member hummerstation
N 33° 27.335 W 086° 47.211
16S E 519808 N 3701815
Quick Description: Sibyl Temple - Vestavia Hills, AL
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 9/28/2011 7:15:18 PM
Waymark Code: WMCPCC
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Thorny1
Views: 3

Long Description:
Marker denoting the history of a replica of a Roman temple constructed in 1929 and relocated in the 1970s. The marker is located in a small park on US Hwy 31 at the top of Shades Crest. The marker text continues onto the back side. The marker was placed by the Alabama Tourism Department and the City of Vestavia Hills.
Marker Name: Sibyl Temple

Marker Type: Urban

Addtional Information::
Marker Text: Sibyl Temple was moved to this site from its original location in 1975. George Ward built it on the brow of his 20-acre mountaintop “Vestavia” estate in 1929. It marked the entrance to the lower 10 acres where he planned a wildflower and bird sanctuary. Mr. Ward modeled his “Temple of the Sibyl” gazebo after the hilltop temple in Tivoli, Italy. It was constructed of red-hued sandstone quarried in the area. He intended Sibyl Temple to be the monument to his resting place, desiring to be buried in the cave beneath; but, in 1940 when Mr. Ward died, he was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. In 1947, Charles Byrd bought Vestavia estate, after which he painted Sibyl Temple white. In 1958, Vestavia Hills Baptist Church purchased the property from Mr. Byrd. Later when the church built a new sanctuary, the gazebo was incompatible with the architecture. The Church gave Sibyl Temple to Vestavia Hills Garden Club on November 15, 1972. In 1973, the Alabama Department of Transportation granted permission to place the temple in the roadside park on Montgomery Highway. The arduous move began. Disassembling and relocating the gazebo was a monumental achievement masterminded by Bill Harbert working with resources and personnel of Harbert Corporation. The eight solid concrete columns with steel rods embedded in the foundation and dome were singularly removed from the overall 88-ton structure and remade to exact measurements. The 63-ton dome proved too heavy to be lifted onto the columns repositioned on this site, necessitating their removal, building a structure of H beams, placing the dome on top and then setting each column in place again. On April 8, 1975, the Garden Club held a dedication ceremony. Many professionals, businesses, and friends assisted with landscaping and beautification. In 1985, Sibyl Temple was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Sibyl Temple Foundation, an incorporated entity of Vestavia Hills Garden Club, and the City of Vestavia Hills maintain the Temple and gardens.


Date Dedicated / Placed: 2010

Marker Number: None

Visit Instructions:
Please post a photo of you OR your GPS at the marker location. Also if you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Alabama history please include that in your log.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
KesselRun visited Sibyl Temple - Vestavia Hills, AL 2/17/2014 KesselRun visited it