Montgomery's Capitol Building - One Stop Shop for History
The History of Montgomery and Its Capitol Building is Fascinating.
Did you know, for instance, that Montgomery became the state capital in 1846 after three other towns had proved undesirable due to geography, politics, or flooding?
The 1850 state capitol building is even affectionately known as "Goat Hill," because the ground was originally used as a pasture.
Note that the first White House of the Confederacy stands nearby, built by William Sayre.
The Capitol building itself is in the Greek Revival style and has beautiful and distinctive cantilever spiral stairwells.
Horace King, an ex-slave at the time, designed and built the ornate spiral staircase. A central support system was not needed in the design.
The building was added to in 1885, 1906, 1911 and 1992. You can't fail to notice the mural on the walls showing Alabama's turbulent history.
These were actually built by Roderick MacKenzie, a Scottish-born artist who relocated to Alabama.
Amazing to know that he took four years, from 1926 to 1930, to produce them and they were done in his own little mobile studio.
From there they were shipped to Montgomery by railway and installed in the Capitol in 1930.
While you're here, visit the old Governors Office, the Old State Supreme Court, the Old Supreme Court Library, the Rotunda, the old House of Representatives and the old Senate Chamber.
All are open to the public.
Note the six-pointed star outside on the top step, right of the door, between the middle columns.
It's not the Star of David, as you might think.
The building was the Capitol of the Confederacy in 1860 and a commemorative brass marker marks the exact location where Jefferson Davis stood outside on February 18, 1861 to take his oath of office as the first (and in fact, only) President of the Confederate States of America.
That marker happened to turn out like a Star of David.
The South (Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama) ceded (Feb 4, 1861) from the Union here in Montgomery at the state capitol.
They needed a president so that's why they elected Jefferson Davis here. Texas ceded but did not come to Montgomery to meet.
The Capitol later became a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
The star stands in view of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr., was to set about organizing the Civil Rights Movement that was to change America's history,100 years later.
Walk inside the capitol and peer up at its stunning dome.
In the center of the Capitol building, you will also find paintings of Governor George Wallace and his wife, Lurleen Wallace, who briefly became governor herself before she died of cancer in 1968.
It's the first time a husband and wife both became governors.
It's interesting to note that although the national or state flag flies over the Capitol today, back in 1961, Governor John Patterson flew the Confederate battle flag over the building in order to mark the centennial of the Civil War.
The flag continued to fly years later, but this time as a symbol of defiance to the rules the federal government had issued on desegregation.
The same flag actually remained flying above the Capitol until it was ruled by a state judge that only state or national flags could fly over the Capitol, as had been decreed in an 1895 statute.
Don't miss this important building.
What happened in Alabama and our nation's past continues to affect how we live today.
Tags: Montgomery , Alabama , White House Of The Confed , Jefferson Davis
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