Vestavia Hills is located in both Jefferson and Shelby Counties in northern Shelby County and is an affluent adjoining suburb of the city of Birmingham. Only a small number of residential properties within the city limits are also within Shelby County.
Vestavia Hills is named for the 20 acre estate of former Birmingham Mayor George Ward which was situated on the crest of Shades Mountain on what is now the northern edge of the city. Ward's mansion at the Vestavia estate became a landmark in the area as soon as it was completed in 1925. The two and a half story house was patterned after the circular Temple of Vesta in Rome with dark pink sandstone walls encircled by twenty massive white Doric columns surmounted by a carved entablature.
After Ward's death, the house, something of a tourist stop near the highway between Birmingham and Montgomery, was used as a tea-room and reception hall before being sold to Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. The church met in the temple structure for several years before demolishing it in 1971 to make way for a larger building. The gazebo was relocated by the garden club to a prominent outcropping closer to the highway to serve as a landmark gateway into the community.
The development of Vestavia Hills as a residential suburb began in 1946 when developer Charles Byrd planned a subdivision for approximately 1,000 persons on the gently sloping southern flank of Shades Mountain. It was incorporated as a separate city on November 8, 1950 and has since grown, by rapid development and annexation, into a thriving city.