Hargis Retreat

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Hargis Retreat was a campground and retreat center operated by YMCA of Greater Birmingham on a 179-acre site off of Old Highway 280 near Chelsea in Shelby County. The retreat adjoined the Cahaba Girl Scout Council's Kanawahala Program Center.

The retreat center offered lodging, dining and meeting facilities for groups, typically church youth groups, school groups, family reunions and corporate meetings, ranging in size from 15 to 330 people.

The campground was first established by the First Christian Church of Birmingham. Estes and Florence Hargis constructed the Hargis Chapel there in 1967.

The Lake Hargis Dam impounds Little Creek to form Lake Hargis. The camp's dining hall is Cannon Hall. There are also hiking trails, playing fields, a 175-seat lakeside amphitheater, and a swimming pool. Sleeping and meeting halls at Hargis Retreat included the A-Frame Lodge, the Bernard House, the Davis Lodge, Giltner Hall, the Ham House, Hamner Hall, and Overlook Lodge.

The property was purchased by the YMCA in 1999. It was used for YMCA day camp and summer camp programs, as well as by the Project American Life program. In 2018 the facility accommodated 10,200 people from 111 groups.

The YMCA sold the property to Eddleman Properties in 2019.


  • Gore, Leada (April 24, 2019) "Hargis Retreat sold to developer for $2.1 million." The Birmingham News