Temple of Sibyl
Vestavia Hills, Alabama
The temple was built by George Ward, an ex-mayor of Birmingham and a lifelong bachelor known for his toga-clad garden parties. He was so enamored of classical architecture that he built his home as if it were a Roman temple. That was in 1925. Four years later he built the small Temple of Sibyl on a hilltop of his estate, Vestivia. He wanted it to be his headstone, and be buried in a cave beneath it.
Ward died in 1940. His wishes went unheeded, and he was buried in a boring cemetery. His temple house was destroyed and replaced by a Baptist church. Vestivia was subdivided into house lots. All that remained was the Temple of Sibyl. All 88 tons of it was moved two miles to its present hilltop in 1975.
Although the Temple stands alongside busy US 31, it's high enough above the road to seem bucolic. We imagine that it's a popular spot for wedding ceremonies, and that Ward would appreciate its new rest rooms, which have also been decorated to resemble a Roman temple.