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More Vacant Lots

The area between the Regions Bank Drive-through and KFC on Main Street (actually two full lots) is being used today for driveways and parking for both businesses. For most of the 20th century, a handsome Victorian cottage stood on the lot closest to KFC and the other space remained vacant but served an admirable purpose as home to several mature and productive pecan trees. While not one of Montevallo’s largest Victorian-style structures from those early days, it nevertheless exhibited impressive architectural features as well as elegant decorative ornaments and embellishments. Over time, several families were either owners or occupants of the house and it was sometimes known locally as the Beason house, the Crowe house, and the Smitherman house.

In January of 1962, the Montevallo High School student newspaper, The Spotlight, ran a short item in its “It’s News Downtown” column that said, “Montevallo’s first funeral home will soon begin serving the southeastern part of Shelby County. Located in the former Beason home on Main Street, the mortuary will be directed by Mr. H.P.G. Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman comes to Montevallo from Citronelle, AL."

Apparently the young journalists at MHS were not aware that Montevallo had been served by two other mortuaries that we have mentioned previously in this series. F.W. Rogan and M.P. Jeter were competitors in the embalming business until just before 1950 when the city council prohibited mortuaries on Main Street. It’s not clear, given this prohibition, how Mr. Hoffman was able to open his new mortuary just a few years later without violating this city ordinance. Perhaps he was given a variance since the city had gone so long without a provider of this much needed service to the community.

After Mr. Hoffman settled into his new location in Montevallo, he brought in his son-in-law, Billy Rockco, as a partner. Rockco had just graduated from embalming school in Tennessee. They immediately began filling the void in Montevallo. Until then, a business in Columbiana had become the closest mortuary to turn to when a death occurred. After a few years in his Main Street location, Mr. Hoffman handed the business over to Rockco, who soon moved to highway 25 near Montevallo City Cemetery and constructed a new modern style funeral home that offered a variety of related services. This was the beginning of the Rockco Funeral home that has served Montevallo’s bereavement needs ever since.

In addition to providing space for the impressive pecan trees mentioned above, the lot that is next to Regions Bank today also provided, for a time in the 1960’s, a place for Montevallo’s Explorer Scout troop to park an old school bus, painted blue, that they used as a place to gather for meetings and for transportation when their scout master took them on group excursions and camping trips.

In the early 1970’s the owner of the Golden Falcon restaurant (formerly the Dinky Dine) in the Whaley Shopping Center decided that Main Street needed a miniature golf course for the enjoyment and entertainment of local families, college students, and church groups. Thus Golden Falcon Carpet Golf was born and installed on this formerly vacant lot. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and got a good bit of traffic for a couple of years from people looking for something to do at night, but Golden Falcon Carpet Golf eventually lost its shine in Montevallo and was abandoned by its once optimistic owner.All that remained on both lots after the funeral home moved and the carpet golf course closed eventually declined to the point of having to be demolished. For many years, nothing and no one of substance came forward to bring these two mainstays of Main Street back to life, but it could be said that the way they are maintained and used today is infinitely better than the neglect local observers had become accustomed to. Thank you Clay Nordan, Vice President of Montevallo Historical Society, for this information!

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