By M.K. Bryant
Reynolds Hall is a staple piece of the University of Montevallo’s campus. Built in 1851 for the purpose of housing a private all-boys school, it eventually became one of the first educational buildings for the Alabama Girls Industrial School in 1896. Named for the university’s first president, Captain Henry Clay Reynolds, Reynolds Hall is known for its four white columns, winding staircases and—most notably—its haunted history.
Outside of education, the history of Reynolds Hall is widely debated. During the Civil War, around three decades before the Alabama Girls Industrial School was founded, Captain Reynolds was allegedly responsible for guarding the building from Union soldiers. Other historical documents, however, would put Captain Reynolds in Virginia during this period of time. Another popular rumor is that Reynolds Hall served as a hospital during the Civil War. This claim, however, is baseless, and presumed to be false.
One thing that the university community agrees on, however, is the idea that Captain Reynolds haunts the building to this day.
Campus maintenance staff have claimed that Captain Reynolds frequently moves his portrait around to different locations in the building, and countless students have reported seeing the blue, glowing figure of Captain Reynolds himself.
Those who believe the rumor of Reynolds being the location of a Civil War hospital, where Captain Reynold’s soldiers were eventually massacred during his absence, say that his spirit lingers in the building out of guilt for letting his men be killed.
The general, and likely more accurate, consensus is that Captain Reynolds haunts the building out of discontent from being asked to step down from his position in 1899.
The building was not named after him until decades later in 1925. Reynolds Hall has served many purposes throughout the years—from the campus chapel to the home of the university’s theatre department, the alumni affairs and admissions offices and now, the esports team. With his namesake building being this active, it’s no wonder that Captain Reynolds’ spirit remains so restless.
M.K. Bryant is a contributing journalist for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in mass communication with a concentration in multimedia journalism, and she’s double-minoring in theatre and creative writing. When she’s not busy watering her plants or writing, M.K. can probably be found wandering around an art museum or a library.