Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Founders' Day, October 12, 1896

It's that time of year again. Founders' Day is upon us and, this year, the Annie Crawford Milner Archives and Special Collections looks back on the earliest days of the Alabama Girls' Industrial School. With an old college building (Reynolds Hall), Lyman Hall (now Saylor House), a "healthy, epidemic free climate," an offer of free coal, and list of other enticements, Captain Henry Clay Reynolds and Judge Edward Sherman Lyman were able to sway Governor William Calvin Oates and the newly appointed Board of Trustees to consider Montevallo as the location for this new school. At the June 24, 1895 Board meeting, Montevallo "wins" the school on the 13th round of voting, narrowly defeating Jasper. Julia Tutwiler is named president.

The Governor and Board
Tutwiler and a small faction of Trustees wanted to open the doors in fall 1897 while the majority of Board members aimed for 1896. The vote to open sooner rather than later caused Tutwiler to resign her position. Meanwhile, Captain Reynolds worked tirelessly to recruit faculty and secure housing for potential students. At the September 18,1896 meeting, Reynolds presented the Board with a slate of faculty members for consideration. The candidates were quickly approved and Reynolds was asked if he'd like to serve as president. Less than a month later, the Alabama Girls Industrial School opened its doors.

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