Springdale Estate is a historic mansion in Andalusia, Covington County. Encompassing more than four acres, the estate is used for city-sponsored events and as a reception and wedding venue. The city of Andalusia owns and maintains the property.
Springdale Estate Andalusia mayor John G. Scherf built the estate in 1935 and named it for the natural spring on the grounds. The estate has also been called Scherf Mansion for its first owner and Tomberlin Mansion for its second owner. Scherf, who emigrated from Germany at the age of 19, was a prominent citizen in Covington County. He had a background in both law and civil engineering, and when he moved to Covington County in the 1920s, he worked with the local chamber of commerce. In 1923, Scherf established the Andala Company to produce underwear. In 1929, he and other wealthy community members and investors incorporated Andala as the Alabama Textile Products Corporation, or Alatex, which employed 3,500 people at its height and closed in the mid-1990s. Scherf served as mayor for four terms, from 1932 to 1948, and is remembered for getting Andalusia out of debt, for establishing city-owned utilities instead of privately owned utilities, for improving infrastructure with paved streets and a new cemetery, and for creating the city planning commission and the recreation board.
Springdale Estate is a Spanish-style home with six bedrooms and features a red-tile roof and tan stucco exterior. The interior boasts handmade moldings and an amber-colored crystal chandelier. Ponds, muscadine vines, and camellia bushes grace the exterior of the house. The grounds also house a meat cellar, a carriage house, and a guesthouse in which University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant reportedly stayed when the Tomberlins owned the home. The house is heated by a natural geothermal spring on the property.
The Scherf family sold Springdale Estate to Charles Tomberlin, a doctor, and his wife, Mary Margaret Tomberlin, in 1981. The Tomberlin family owned the property until 2010. The property was going to be sold at auction, but concerns that it would become a commercial property and the grounds turned into a parking lot spurred Mayor Earl Johnson and the city council into action. The city council unanimously voted to purchase Springdale Estate for $900,000, instead of the auction-listed price of $1.6 million. The city also purchased an additional lot for $300,000 to connect the estate to city hall. The city of Andalusia expanded the facilities, including a commercial kitchen, a public bathroom, and a driveway that connected the property to city hall.
Public events held there include Easter egg hunts, culinary classes for the local Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, political receptions, and a Christmas Open House. Among other city-sponsored events are the Relay for Life and several festivals. The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce holds a summer concert series held for the Covington County community known as “July Jamz” on the Springdale Estate grounds. The venue is also available for private rentals, including weddings. When no events are taking place, visitors may walk and picnic on the grounds.
Springdale Estate is located next to city hall near the historic downtown district of Andalusia on East Three Notch Street. The estate is open to the public for tours Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tours and private events must be booked by calling the estate office. There are numerous other places of interest in Andalusia, including a historic commercial district that was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP) in 1988, as well as the Three-Notch Museum, the Old First National Bank, the Central of Georgia Depot, and the Covington County Courthouse and Jail, which are also listed on the NRHP.