The Centreville Historic Preservation Commission held their monthly meeting on December 3, 2020. Included on the meeting agenda was a discussion about their ongoing efforts to preserve and renovate the historic Bibb County Banking and Trust Building, a historic property originally built on the court house square around 1890.
The board members discussed areas of the building that could be utilized to recognize the contributions of historic citizens of our area who were instrumental in building the legacy of Bibb County. The name of one such important citizen popped up at the meeting and most of the board members were not familiar with her. I bet you are not either.
In March 2019 Dr. Selwyn Vickers of the University of Alabama said in his Dean’s Message: Women’s History Month and the School of Medicine the following:
“On May 26, 1925, Jimmie Ethel Montgomery received a B.S. degree in Medicine from The University of Alabama, thus becoming the first woman to graduate from the Medical College of Alabama at its Tuscaloosa campus. She later received an M.D. from the University of Minnesota and was a general practitioner in Bibb County for several decades.”
UAB reported in 2019; After a multimillion renovation and rebranding, the new Hilton Birmingham at UAB is up and running, with a grand opening scheduled tomorrow.
The hotel’s meeting rooms also were transformed into upscale, renovated spaces for conferences, galas, weddings and more. Three of those spaces were named especially for prominent figures in UAB’s history – Virginia Dare Hamilton, M.D., Herschell Lee Hamilton, M.D., Delois Skipwith Guy, DSN, and Jimmie Ethel Montgomery, M.D.
According to a trusted local source Dr. Montgomery was married to Dr. John Crowder a physician who practiced with the Belle Ellen mining company and she maintained a private practice in West Blocton until she was no longer practicing. She died in 1982 according to online sources. She was a beloved local practitioner who made sure that everyone who came to her was treated and got the medication they needed regardless of their ability to pay. She still has family and descendants in the West Blocton community.
Obviously Dr. Montgomery-Crowder is one of the foundational rocks of the community of Bibb County that should be remembered and recognized in the hall of heroes for posterity and generations to come. There is much more to know about her life story and her contributions to mankind than we have touched upon here. Perhaps the Bibb County Banking and Trust building is the place to tell and preserve her story.
You can find and follow the Centreville Historic Preservation Commission on Facebook.