The Hotel St. George
The St. George Hotel was opened on September 1, 1897 by Montevallo businessman and entrepreneur, George Kroell. It was situated directly across Main Street from Kroell’s impressive brick mercantile store and was on the lot occupied today by Trustmark Bank. The year of its founding, “1897,” was prominently displayed in large carved numerals on the brick pendant that crowned the hotel’s facade and, although showing their age, they were still there well into the 1960’s. It’s first manager was a Mr. A.A. Wall, formerly of Oakman, in Walker County, who came to Montevallo with considerable experience in the lodging business.
The St. George dodged a bullet not long after it opened when two store buildings next door, owned by C.C. Vandergrift, burned to the ground in February of 1899. The St. George was known for providing its guests with a level of comfort and luxury usually only found in larger cities. It was also famous in central Alabama for the quality of the food it served in its dining room. The St. George also could host banquets and large social affairs which local clubs and college-based organizations often took advantage of.
In addition to providing space to traveling “trunk shows” for out-of-town retailers and salesmen, the St. George was also home, at one time to Benton’s Art Shop, which sold supplies used by art students at Alabama College.
The St. George had a good run in Montevallo for more than 50 years, but by mid-century, its amenities had become outdated and it had more long-term boarders and apartment dwellers than guests seeking lodging during visits to Montevallo. The building was torn down in the mid-1960’s so that another Main Street icon, Merchants & Planters Bank, now operated by brothers Agee and Pat Kelly, could construct and expand into a much larger and more modern headquarters for its operations. Another bank, Peoples Bank & Trust, later absorbed M&P when the Kellys retired and now their successor, TrustMark, is the occupant of what is now a 50 year old building.
Thank you Clay Nordan, Vice President of Montevallo Historical Society, for this information!