October 12, 1896
The University of Montevallo opened as the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School, the first state-supported girls’ industrial high school. Founded by Julia Tutwiler and state Sen. Sol Bloch, the school opened with an original class of 150 and taught a range of subjects including telegraphy, carpentry and kindergarten instruction. Today, the university enrolls 3,000 students, is one of only 25 public liberal arts institutions in the country, and offers more than 30 academic programs. The central part of Montevallo’s campus is a designated National Historic District, and 28 of the university’s structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Julia Strudwick Tutwiler (1841-1916) was a pioneer in the fields of education and prison reform in Alabama. She worked to open doors to university education for women, and her efforts resulted in major changes to the Alabama prison sytem, including separate facilities for men and women. Tutwiler was president of Alabama Normal College, which eventually became the University of West Alabama. Her poem “Alabama” was put to music and became the state song. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)
Young women take instruction in typing in this image from the late 1890s. The Alabama Girls’ Industrial School was established in 1896 by reformer Julia Tutwiler and state Sen. Sol Bloch to provide women with broader educational opportunities. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Montevallo)
Workers remove the Alabama College sign from the entrance of the campus and replace it with the new University of Montevallo name in September 1969. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Montevallo)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.