Most town founders who settled America had grand dreams for the ventures they were starting; most would be unrealized. Andrew Dexter was no different. In 1816, after he purchased a chunk of Mississippi Territorial land on the south bank of the Alabama River in and started laying out building plots he gave his new town the name of New Philadelphia, echoing the nation’s first capital city. So sure was Dexter that his town would one day be the seat of a new state government that he reserved a plot of land up on top of Goat Hill for a capitol building. Dexter’s wasn’t even the only town in the area. Right next door was a settlement of Georgians led by General John Scott called East Alabama.
The two fledgling towns bickered as they grew and finally on December 3, 1819, eleven days before Alabama became a state, the two towns merged and called themselves Montgomery. Mind you, the town didn’t simply take its name for Montgomery County, which had been formed three years earlier and named in honor of Major Lemuel Purnell Montgomery, who was fighting with Andrew Jackson in the wars with the Creek Indians and was killed in 1814 at the battle of Horseshoe Bend. No, the town of Montgomery would claim as its namesake General Richard Montgomery, Irish born and raised and killed 1275 miles away while attacking the British fortress in Quebec, Canada in the early days of the American Revolution.
Andrew Dexter’s dream would be realized in 1846 when the Alabama state capital was shifted from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery and a beautiful Greek Revival capitol building was erected on Goat Hill. Fifteen years later Dexter’s Goat Hill would become the capital of a country when the Confederate States of America was formed here and Montgomery was its first capital city. Andrew Dexter would not be around to see any of this, however. The size of his dreams always outstripped his ability to execute them. A native Rhode Islander, he started a bank whose great success urned out to be fraudulent sending him to Canada to escape debtor’s prison. When he purchased the land that would become Montgomery he didn’t have the cash and had to borrow the money. His time in the town he founded was aswirl in debts and lawsuits and Dexter would eventually be arrested for debt in Mobile and die in prison there in 1837 at the age of 58.
His town followed a more prosperous trajectory. Montgomery was not like some state capitals where the business of the town is government. The railroad showed up early and Montgomery became a busy shipping point for cotton and livestock and dairy products. A large lumber mill was established in 1890 and the city’s industrial base quickly widened with garment factories and fertilizer plants and wholesale food concerns.
Only six state capitals are bigger, land area-speaking, than Montgomery and to get our explorations under way we will start at the Alabama River’s edge...
300 Water Street
The Montgomery & West Point railroad sent the first trains chugging into Montgomery in the early 1840s. Two small two-story frame buildings handled the town’s train passengers until 1898 when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad built this grand Romanesque-flavored brick and limestone station. Montgomery architect Benjamin Bosworth Smith provided the plans for picturesque block-long station. “Union” Station also served passenger trains of Atlantic Coast Line, Western Railway of Alabama, Seaboard Air Line, Central of Georgia, and Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The station had six tracks under a 600 foot shed. Train service to Montgomery ended in 1979; there was a brief Amtrak revival but Union Station was not used. Union Station still stands however, including the train shed, and houses businesses and the visitor center.
FACING UNION STATION TURN RIGHT AND WALK OVER TO THE TUNNEL AT THE END OF THE BUILDING. WALK THROUGH THE TUNNEL TO THE EDGE OF THE ALABAMA RIVER.
Riverfront Park was developed in the 1970s with such attractions as the Riverwalk Ampitheater and the Harriot II, a paddlewheeler that plies the Alabama River.
WHEN YOU ARE THROUGH EXPLORING RIVERFRONT PARK WALK BACK OUT THROUGH THE TUNNEL AND WALK STRAIGHT ON COMMERCE STREET.
260 Commerce Street
Henry Martin Hobbie constructed this expansive four-story red brick building in 1903 for his wholesale grocery. The structure borrows from several popular architectural styles, especially the fanciful broad arched entrance and arched fourth story windows. Look up over the entrance to see the decorative “H” in the keystone and recessed lamp stanchions. Henry Jr. took over the grocery business and also established the Hobbie Elevator Company, Hobbie Motor Company and Montgomery Buick company when he wasn’t tending to his duties as president of the Fourth National Bank of Montgomery. Behind the Hobbie Building, overlooking the Alabama River, are elevators from the Hobbie Elevator Company which have been adapted for use as a police station.
210 Commerce Street
Look up to see some of Montgomery’s finest brickwork. The commercial building was restored in 1982.
172 Commerce Street at Tallapoosa Street
Nathan Lobman and Louis Steiner went into business together in 1871 peddling goods to small merchants in Pine Apple. In 1891 the partners moved up to Montgomery and set up shop in this highly decorative pink and white corner store. In 1896, in addition to the company’s wholesale business, the firm began the manufacturing of the Polly brand of work clothes. Look up to see statues on the roof line and a water cistern. The casket-shaped cistern has spawned legends through the years that someone is buried up there. Steiner-Lobman Dry Goods Company was a fixture here until 1969 when the company was sold to an investment group and closed several years later.
Hank Williams Museum
118 Commerce Street
In 1937 Lillie Williams moved her family to Montgomery and opened a boarding house. That year her 14-year old son Hiram King Williams formed a band called the Drifting Cowboys, won a talent show at the Empire Theater and landed a spot on a local radio station, WSFA. Montgomery would be the home base for Hank Williams until he died at the age of 29 on the first day of 1953. In that time Williams would record 35 Top 10 singles and 11 that topped the Country & Western charts. The museum, which owns the 1952 baby blue Cadillac in which the country legend died among its extensive collection, opened in 1999.
100 Commerce Street
When the Greystone Hotel opened in 1928 it was the height of elegance for travelers to Montgomery, advertising 150 rooms with baths, circulating ice water, fans and bed lamps. The ten-story building was crafted in a Beaux Arts style. The Greystone went the way of many of its grand downtown hotel cousins and went out of business. The neon sign came down off the roof and the building did duty as a bank before re-emerging as Hampton Inn guest house.
First National Bank of Montgomery
Dexter Avenue at Commerce Street
This was Montgomery’s first skyscraper when it was completed in 1907 although its reign as the town’s tallest building lasted a few scant years. The tower was originally constructed in the classic Chicago style that fashioned high-rise buildings in the image of a classical Greek column with a definitive base (the oversized ground floors), a shaft (the unadorned center stories) and a capital (the ornate cornice). Here most of that decoration was stripped away in a 1978 renovation. The bank’s terra cotta lion heads that stared down on the city from the cornice for 70 years were saved, however, and are now displayed in a small plaza on the the north side of the building.
BEAR LEFT IN THE SQUARE AND WALK CLOCKWISE AROUND.
Central Bank Building
Dexter and Court Street
In the middle of the 19th century building facades crafted from cast iron enjoyed a run of popularity in big cities for commercial structures. A cheaper and easier alternative to stone and masonry, the metal fronts could be cast in highly decorative designs. This was the first “iron Front” building in Alabama, designed by Philadelphia architect Stephen Decatur Button for William Knox, president of Central Bank of Alabama in 1856. The iron was cast in a Renaissance Revival style to emulate the Venetian palaces of the 16th century.Central Bank, which generously supported the Confederacy, was bankrupt at the end of the Civil War. The building, which once sported a two-story gallery, was restored for the Arts Council of Alabama in 1985. The iconic four-faced street clock out front was installed here in 1930 by Klein & Son Jewelers who had purchased the building in 1923. Leo Klein, a Hungarian immigrant, sold his first jewels in Montgomery in 1893 in a modest 300 square-foot store. Klein & Son moved to the suburbs in 1977 and returned the clock in 2009. In 1886, Montgomery became the first city in the Western Hemisphere to convert an entire street railway system running past here to electricity. The Capital City Street Railway Co operated for 50 years before the final trolley car was retired in an appreciative ceremony, leaving public transportation to buses.
2 Dexter Street at Court Square
The core of this building was constructed in 1841 by Georgia native John Gano Winter to take deposits for his St. Mary’s Bank. On April 11, 1861, Leroy Pope Walker, the Confederate Secretary of War, sent a telegram from the Southern Telegraph Company offices on the second floor to Confederate artillery forces outside Charleston, South Carolina. The telegram authorized Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard to fire on Fort Sumter, launching the War Between the States.
WALK OVER TO THE FOUNTAIN AT THE CENTER OF THE SQUARE.
Court Square Fountain
Court, Dexter and Commerce streets
This spring was where Montgomery got its drinking water in the early days; in the 1850s a basin was dug here as a small reservoir to use in case of fire. By 1884 the condition of the basin had deteriorated to the point that it drew the attention of the local scribes, one of whom wrote, “There is everywhere in the city an expression of regret at the action of a majority of the City Council on Monday night in voting down a resolution to appropriate a reasonable sum of money with which to improve and render somewhat attractive the artesian basin. Our City Fathers have shown themselves in the main to be progressive and public-spirited. They have made many needed improvements, but nothing deserves more consideration at their hands than the basin. It is open and free to all and essentially belongs to the public. Montgomery is the Capital of a great state and is no longer a crossroads town. No city of its size and importance in this country is so unadorned; so free from artistic embellishments.” Before the month was out money for improvements was approvedand eventually more than $7,000 would be spent for the double-tiered fountain with Classical reliefs and ornamentation topped by Hebe, goddess of youth and cup-bearer to the gods. The fountain was found in Atlanta, a work by famed American sculptor Frederick MacMonnies (a half-century later doubt was cast that it actually was a MacMonnies creation) that had been commissioned privately and rejected. It was installed here in 1885 and restored 100 years later.
EXIT COURT SQUARE DOWN MONTGOMERY STREET.
207 Montgomery Street at Lee Street
Newton Joseph Bell was a planter and the largest landowner in Lowndes County. In 1881, when he was 33, Bell left the farm and moved into Montgomery where he became one of the town’s biggest civic boosters and most successful business leaders. In 1906 he set out to build a new sky king downtown and engaged local architects Frederick Ausfeld and Fernando M. Blount to design his skyscraper. The classically flavored 160-foot tower was completed $500,000 later in 1910, just as Newton Bell passed away.
The Davis Theatre
251 Montgomery Street
The first movie lovers grasping their quarters lined up outside this Colonial Revival theater on January 25, 1930 when it opened as the Paramount Theater. Through the years the Paramount also hosted vaudeville performances, live game shows and weddings. Among the highlights of its nearly half-century run as a movie palace took place on November 1964 when the Paramount hosted the Hollywood premier of the bio-pic of Hank Williams, Your Cheatin’ Heart, with George Hamilton in the lead. The Paramount closed in 1976 with a final screening of Gone With The Wind, thirty-six years of the epic had its Alabama premier here. Unlike many of America’s grand downtown movie theaters the 1,575-seat Paramount was lucky. The venue was purchased by Troy State University and restored to continue life as a stage for live performances, named for benefactor Tine W. Davis of the family who owned the Winn-Dixie grocery chain.
Rosa Parks Museum
252 Montgomery Street
The modern Civil Rights movement was born on a December day in 1955 at a bus stop located here when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a boarding white man. The bus went no further until Parks was hauled off and arrested. On December 5 she was found guilty of disorderly conduct and fined and a boycott of city buses began that day. The boycott would last 382 days until the United States Supreme Court ordered the integration of public transportation. Opened in 2000, the Rosa Parks Museum, maintained by Toy University, celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
Jefferson Davis Hotel
344 Montgomery Street at Catoma Street
The ten-story Jefferson Davis Hotel was built in 1927 in a Neoclassical style on plans drawn by Austrian-born architect Frederick Ausfield. In the 1940s it became part of the Dinkler Hotel chain. Louis Jacob Dinkler was born in Nashville in the 1861 and worked as a baker before opening his first hotel in Macon, Georgia at the age of 50. His son Carling joined the business and aggressively promoted the acquisition of additional properties - by the end of the 1920s Carling Dinkler owned or managed 22 hotels throughout the Southeast. Most, like the Jefferson Davis, retained their traditional names. Inside the hotel, from the 1930s, was the WSFA radio station where Hank Williams performed and, even though the guest rooms were segregated, Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr., broadcast Sunday morning sermons. On the National Register of Historic Places, the ten-story Neoclassical brick building is currently used as apartments for the elderly.
TURN LEFT ON CATOMA STREET.
Catoma Street Church of Christ
100 Catoma Street
Although they were few in number, Montgomery Jews organized in 1846 mostly to minister to the sick and bury the dead. In 1852 the Kahl Congregation was organized and this property was acquired six years later. This substantial brick building, named House of Light, was designed in a Romanesque style by Philadelphia architect John Stewart and was holding services by 1862. By 1901, the Jewish population of Montgomery had significantly increased and the decision was made to build a new synagogue elsewhere. The building was bought by the Church of Christ, a congregation formed in 1881, for $7,500.
TURN LEFT ON CHURCH STREET.
Curry Commons Plaza-Troy University
Troy University began life in 1887 as a “normal school” where new teachers were trained. The school has since evolved into a state university, located in four sites across the Alabama: Troy, Montgomery, Phenix City and Dothan. The Montgomery campus caters to working adult students. This $two million brick clock tower anchors this pedestrian concourse and green space; it boasts a gas-fed “torch of knowledge” that symbolizes the university.
United States Post Office and Courthouse--Montgomery
Church Street between Catoma Street and Lee Street
This monumental five-story limestone building on a granite base was raised in 1929 to alleviate overcrowding of federal offices scattered throughout the town. Local architect Frank Lockwood, Sr.
designed the building in a restrained Renaissance Revival style to fit the trapezoidal plot of land. The symmetrical principal facade faces Church Street and is dominated by two pediments at each end that are supported by four engaged Doric columns. A frieze with incised triglyphs and a dentil (rectangular block) course is found beneath the pediments. The Lee Street elevation features a colonnade of eight Doric columns, while the Court Street elevation contains three-story pilasters. Entrances have bronze doors with pediments decorated with eagles and floral scrolls. In 1992, the building was renamed for Frank M. Johnson, Jr., the district judge who ruled that segregated seating on Montgomery’s buses was unlawful.
TURN RIGHT ON LEE STREET AND BEAR LEFT ON ADAMS STREET.
Montgomery Carnegie Library
South Perry Street at Adams Street
After selling his steel company for $400 million and becoming the world’s richest man, Scottish-born industrialist Andrew Carnegie set out to give away all his money. One of his pet projects was public libraries. He funded over 2,500 of them around the world, including 14 in Alabama. None of the communities had an existing public library. The first, and by far the largest, grant in the state came to Montgomery, which used its $50,000 to construct this Beaux Arts library in 1904.
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church
219 Adams Avenue
St. Peter’s was the first Catholic church in Montgomery, established in 1834. Land here was donated by Edward Hanrick and a small frame church was dedicated on April 25, 1834. With the naming of Montgomery as the state capital and the growth of the town a new facility became desirable by 1850 and new pastor Anthony Dominic Pellicer worked tirelessly to raise needed funds. He went to Mexico City but returned empty-handed when bandits robbed his stagecoach. Undaunted he was soon off to Cuba and this Spanish-style church, unique to the Montgomery streetscape and perhaps a legacy of Pellicer’s fundraising adventures, was dedicated on September 10, 1853.
Governor Thomas G. Jones House
323 Adams Street
Built in 1855, this was a four-room cottage before Thomas Goode Jones was elected governor in 1890 and converted it into a Victorian executive mansion. ones was born in Macon Georgia in 1844 and left the Virginia Military Institute in 1862 to serve in the Confederate Army under Stonewall Jackson. Jones saw extensive action in the war and was wounded four times. At Appomattox, Major Jones carried one of the flags of truce. After he died in 1914 the house remained in the family and was occasionally used as a federal courtroom.
TURN LEFT ON HULL STREET AND WALK ONE BLOCK TO WASHINGTON AVENUE. ON YOUR LEFT IS...
334 Washington Avenue at Hull Street
This Greek Revival mansion, recently restored, anchors the Dowe Historic District that includes the house behind it on Hull Street and the Victorian house next door at #320.
FACING DOWE HOUSE, TURN LEFT ON WASHINGTON AVENUE AND CROSS HULL STREET, WALKIN GEAST, AWAY FROM COURT SQUARE.
Civil Rights Memorial Center
400 Washington Avenue
Located in an open plaza and accessible 24 hours a day, the memorial remembers 40 people who died between 1954 and 1968 in the struggle for equal rights. The circular black granite table containing the names was designed by Maya Lin, the architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The memorial, based on the healing effect of water, was dedicated in 1989.
Alabama Department of Archives and History
624 Washington Avenue
The Alabama Department of Archives and History was started in 1901 to tell the story of the people of Alabama. It was first state department to preserve historical records and artifacts in the United States. The archives operated out of a newly constructed south wing of the Capitol in its early days as founder and director Thomas McAdory Owen agitated for a building of its own. He was not successful before he died but his widow and next director, Marie Bankhead Owen, was able to secure New Deal funding during the Great Depression for this grand Neoclassical building in 1940.
First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Avenue
This was a Federal-style house built by lawyer William Sayre between 1832 and 1835 over on the corner of Bibb and Lee streets. In the 1850s Colonel Edmond Harrison gave the two-story frame house an Italianate makeover in the popular style of the day with a bracketed cornice and front porch. When the new Confederate States of America organized in early 1861 its constitutional convention selected Jefferson Davis as provisional president and authorized $5,000 a year for the leasing, funding and staffing of an executive mansion. This is the house Davis and his wife Varina Anne Howell moved into. When war with the Union started on April 21 plans were made to move the Confederate capital to Richmond and the government was gone on May 20, 1861. The contents of the house were sold off, others moved in and that was that.
A generation later the Alabama Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy formed in 1897 and it was realized that this house was “the first White House of the Confederacy.” Armed with more dreams than money, the preservation of the house was undertaken but it took more than 20 years and several brushes with demolition to bring the house to this site, reassemble and restore the building and present it to the people of Alabama on June 3, 1921, the 113th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis.
WALK ACROSS THE STREET AND ONTO THE GROUNDS OF THE ALABAMA STATE CAPITOL. WORK YOUR WAY TO THE LEFT, AROUND TO THE FRONT OF THE BUILDING.
State Capitol Building
head of Dexter Avenue
The first State Capitol in Montgomery was built in 1847 but, even though it was constructed of stuccoed brick, it burned almost two years to the day from its completion. A new capitol building was raised on the foundations of the original and mostly followed its Greek Revival form created by Philadelphia architect Stephen Decatur Button. The 1851 three-story core of the building features bays defined by Doric pilasters and a monumental portico utilizing the Composite order. The central dome was a deviation from the original, with architect Barachias Holt providing a simpler compositionon a ring of Corinthian columns. Later additions enlarged the building in 1885, 1906 and 1911 and all was completely renovated in 1992. The Capitol is surrounded by parklike grounds peppered with monuments to Alabama history and inside a three-story spiral stairway and murals depicting more Alabama history highlight the rotunda. Look on the west portico for a bronze star that marks the spot where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861.
LEAVE THE CAPITOL AND WALK DOWN DEXTER STREET. THIS MAIN THOROUGHFARE WAS ORIGINALLY MARKET STREET AND RE-NAMED FOR THE FOUNDER OF MONTGOMERY, ANDREW DEXTER.
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
454 Dexter Avenue
This congregation formed as the Second Colored Baptist Church in 1877 in a slave trader’s pen. Two years later this property was acquired for $270 and a small wood-frame meetinghouse was raised. The current red brick church was constructed between 1883 and 1889. In 1954 Martin Luther King, Jr., with a newly minted Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theoloogical Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, became pastor here at the age of 25. From his office in the church he directed the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. In 1978 the church name, that had been changed when Montgomery renamed Market Street in honor of town founder Andrew Dexter, added the name of Dr. King, who received his doctorate during his six-year stint as the church’s twentieth pastor. It was his only full-time pastorate. The church building was completely restored in 2003.
Alabama Judicial Building
300 Dexter Avenue
Home of Alabama Supreme Court, Courts of Criminal Appeals and Civil Appeals, State Law Library, Administrative Office of Courts, this block-filling Neoclassical structure came on board in the 1990s with a price tag of $35 million. It is the first facility in the United States to house all of these entities under one roof. The building, that incorporates a 47-foot grade change, was designed jointly by Barganier, Davis, Sims Architects Associated of Montgomery and Gresham, Smith, and Partners of Birmingham. The building is faced with Indiana limestone and its ten entrance columns, with hand-carved replicas of the Ionic order design found on the Roman Coliseum, are crafted of solid limestone. There are 700 doors in the building with 6 keys for each door.
Dexter Avenue United Methodist Church
301 Dexter Avenue
This congregation formed in 1888 in the Dotzheim Grocery and Saloon and convened there until the cornerstone for this brick Romanesque-style church was laid in 1892. The first services were held in 1896. The building boasts exquisite stone trim and terra cotta detailing.
201 Monroe Street
The RSA (Retirement Systems of Alabama) Tower, at 375 feet and 23 stories, is, by open lengths, the tallest building in Montgomery. It came on line in 1997 with 613,660 square feet of rentable office space.
Alabama Power Company
200 Dexter Avenue
The core of this handsome brick and stone building was constructed in 1855. The Montgomery Advertiser, a newspaper that began life in 1829 as The Planter’s Gazette, moved here in 1902 and built an addition in 1908. Current tenant Alabama Power orchestrated a Colonial Revival facelift before moving in.
39 Dexter Avenue
Samuel H. Kress was an avid art collector who wanted his five-and-dime stores to stand as public works of art on in the more than 200 towns in which he operated. This dedication to architectural quality has kept many Kress stores from an appointment with the wrecking ball and prime candidates for adaptive re-use. The Montgomery Kress building is awaiting its turn. This is actually the second Kress building in Montgomery, constructed in 1929 after its predecessor had been destroyed in a fire. That building dated to 1898 and was actually the third in the chain that started in Memphis two years earlier. Like many Kress stores, this one had two entrances; this one on Monroe Street featured a more Art Deco look while the entrance on Dexter Street was more classically inspired with a pair of fluted Doric columns in its center.
TAKE A FEW STEPS BACK TO PERRY STREET AND TURN LEFT.
39 North Perry Street at Monroe Street
This was the MontgomeryTheatre when it opened in October of 1860. One of its earliest stand-out performers was John Wilkes Booth who arrived in Montgomery two weeks before Abraham Lincoln was elected President and he stayed for six weeks with his touring company, playing the lead to great acclaim in such productions as “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Apostate.” The stage was active until 1907, hosting the leading performers of the day. Legend maintains that Dan Emmett, the composer for the Bryant Minstrels first inscribed the score for the seminal tune “Dixie” on a backstage wall with a piece of charcoal while performing here. Beginning in 1920 the Italianate brick building was the long-time home to Webber’s Department Store; look up to see decorative window hoods emblematic of the style and cornice brackets crafted of bricks.
City Hall Auditorium
North Perry Street between Madison Avenue and Monroe Street
This has been the historic site of the city hall in Montgomery. An early structure evolved into a block-filling Victorian building that contained a city market at the street level and municipal offices and an auditorium above. The building was gutted by a fire on the first day of spring 1932. Funds were hard to come by at the height of the Great Depression and a replacement would not be finished until 1937, executed on Neoclassical plans drawn by local architect Frank Lockwood.
ACROSS THE STREET IS...
Hank Williams Statue
Lister Hill Park; North Perry Street across from City Auditorium
The Municipal Auditorium was the site of Hank Williams’ funeral on January 4, 1953. Family members first viewed the body at his mother’s boarding house at 217 McDonough Street and the casket was then brought four blocks to the Municipal Auditorium. Some 2,750 mourners crowded inside for the service while another 20,000 maintained a vigil outside in the cold weather. Many of country music’s headliners, including the reunited Drifting Cowboys, sang at the funeral. In 1991, Hank Williams, Jr., commissioned Texas sculptors Doug and Sandra McDonald to create a life-sized statue of his father in the park facing the auditorium.
St. John’s Episcopal Church
113 Madison Avenue at Perry Street
Montgomery’s first Episcopalians, though small in number, were an energetic lot, building the town’s first brick church in 1837 and purchasing all 48 pews. By 1855 the core of this building was constructed on plans drawn by Frank Wills and Henry Dudley, prominent church architects from England who emigrated to New York. A few years later the church was the site of the secession convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States; Confederacy President Jefferson Davis attended services here in the company of his wife, an Episcopalian. In 1869 the original church at the other end of the block was torn down and the bricks used to build the present chancel and sanctuary.
TURN LEFT ON MADISON AVENUE THAT BECOMES BIBB STREET AS IT BENDS LEFT.
22 Bibb Street
John H. Murphy was a Virginia cotton merchant who moved his family into this Greek Revival mansion fronted by a grand Corinthian portico in 1851. John Murphy died in 1859 and the coming Civil War visited hard times on the family who were forced to rent rooms in their former home. In April of 1865 the Murphy House became the headquarters of the Union Provost Marshal. With the Murphys and Federal troops gone, nothing is known of the mansion’s fate until 1902 when The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks purchased it for use as a lodge. In 1970, the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board acquired the property and renovated the space for offices while restoring the grandeur to Murphy House.
TURN RIGHT ON COOSA STREET.
Schloss & Kahn Warehouse
129 Coosa Street
This building, handsomely restored, was the warehouse for the institutional grocers Schloss & Kahn beginning in 1895. The grocers were early practitioners of branding, pushing their line of Sunday Dinner canned fruits, vegetables and meats ahead of their store. The brick building is a blend of Italianate design (the arched windows and entrances capped with window hoods and Colonial Revival (rectangular windows with stone keystones and a modillion block cornice.
Schloss and Kahn Building
152 Coosa Street at Jefferson Street and Tallapoosa Street
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Macon, Georgia, Algernon Blair, the son of an architect, took his first contracting job in 1897 at the age of 24. His first commission in Montgomery came in 1902 and he would go on to be the town’s leading builder until his death fifty years later. This classically-flavored, flat iron brick warehouse for Schloss and Kahn Grocery Company was one of his earliest projects, completed in 1905.
ACROSS TALLAPOOSA STREET IS...
Riverwalk (Biscuits) Stadium
200 Coosa Street
The Western Rail Road Company of Alabama was created in 1854 after the road between Montgomery and West Point, Georgia was finally completed and the directors eyed an extension to Selma. In 1898 the line, now the Western Railway of Alabama, constructed this low-slung brick building to house its offices. In an imaginative blend of historic preservation and adaptive re-use, the City transformed the Western Railway property into a new baseball stadium in 2004.
TURN LEFT ON TALLAPOOSA STREET.
Winter Loeb Building
105 Tallapoosa Street
Jacques Loeb was born in France and came to Montgomery in 1872 at the age of 17 where he entered into the grocery and dry goods business. He was president of the Winter Loeb Grocery Company when this brick warehouse was constructed by Algernon Blair in the first years of the 20th century, a position he retained until his death in 1912.
CONTINUE ON TALLAPOOSA STREET A FEW MORE STEPS TO COMMERCE STREET AND TURN RIGHT TO RETURN TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT AT UNION STATION.