Verbena: Yellow Fever and Beyond
In the late 19th Century the city of Montgomery, Alabama was home to multiple epidemics of yellow fever. As a result, many fled Montgomery during the summer months to escape both the weather and disease. Many prominent Montgomery families built summer homes, and over time a summer destination became a permanent settlement named Verbena.
There are conflicting stories as to how Verbena received is unique name. Yet, the most widely accepted is that it comes from the wild verbena flower. There are no other cities in the United States named Verbena, and the name is so unique that once a cable was sent from Cairo, Egypt and simply addressed “Verbena”.
As Verbena became a more permanent settlement hotels, a bank, doctor’s offices, a post office, a school, and a railroad, which many took everyday to work in Montgomery, were built. At one time, Verbena was even larger than Clanton, Alabama, which neighbors the town.
As times changed, Verbena became smaller and less prosperous as businesses left and the interstate cut through a section of the town. However, Verbena is still a vibrant community with the charm of a bygone era.