Alabama State Capitol
The historic capitol building in
Montgomery was a focal point
of both the Civil War and Civil
RIghts Movement.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, AL
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, AL
Alabama State Capitol
Overlooking historic Dexter Avenue from the top of
Goat hill in Montgomery, the Alabama State Capitol
is a National Historic Landmark.
Jefferson Davis Statue
The former President of the
Confederacy looks down
Dexter Avenue from the front
lawn of the Alabama State
Capitol.
Where History was Written
The Confederate States of
America and opening days of
the Civil War were planned
from the capitol building. By
1965 it was the scene of a
massive Civil Rights protest.
Jefferson Davis Star
This bronze star on the front
portico of the Alabama State
Capitol marks the spot where
Jefferson Davis took the oath
of office.
Alabama State Capitol Building - Montgomery, Alabama
Eyewitness to American History
The approach to the Alabama State Capitol
up Dexter Avenue in Montgomery takes in
some of the most important historical
landmarks in U.S. History.

Built in 1851, on the ruins of an earlier
structure that lasted only two years before it
was destroyed by fire in 1849, the imposing
capitol building is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places and also is a U.S.
National Historic Landmark. From its role as
the First Capitol of the Confederacy to the
days when Governor George Wallace walked
the halls of power here during the height of
the Civil Rights Movement, the Alabama State
Capitol tells a story unlike that of any other
similar structure in the nation.

Built in the Greek Revival Style, the capitol
building was designed by 19th century
architect Barachias Holt. Its noted interior
spiral stairway was built by the famed African-
American engineer Horace King. Born into
slavery, King was freed by his former master
John King and granted all the rights of a free
man by Special Act of the Alabama State
Legislature. He is noted for his work as a
designer and builder of covered bridges,
among them the
Red Oak Covered Bridge in
Georgia.

When the Constitutional crisis of 1860 led to
the secession of South Carolina from the
Union, Alabama followed her sister Southern
states in establishing the new Confederate
States of America. Because Montgomery was
centrally located for delegates from the
original six states of the Confederacy, the city
was selected for the initial meeting intended
to establish cooperation between the states.

On February 4, 1861, the delegates met in
the Senate Chamber of the Alabama State
Capitol and in four days produced a draft
constitution and declared themselves a
provisional legislature for the new country.

Named President of the newly-formed
Confederate States of America, Jefferson
Davis delivered his inaugural address from
the portico of the capitol building on February
18, 1861. The spot where he stood is now
marked by a bronze star, placed there by the
ladies of the Daughters of the Confederacy
(today's U.D.C.).

The Alabama State Capitol remained the
Capitol of the Confederacy until May of 1861,
when the government moved to RIchmond,
Virginia. The defiant former capitol of the
South continued its service to the people of
Alabama as a Confederate state capitol until
the spring of 1865, when it was occupied by
Union troops during
Wilson's Raid on
Alabama and Georgia.

The Alabama State Capitol against attracted
worldwide attention during the 1950s and
1960s when the Civil Rights Movement
reached its height.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church,
where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., served as
minister from 1954 to 1960, is located just
one block down Dexter Avenue from the front
portico of the capitol building. It is remarkable
that the two buildings that figured so
prominently in the Civil Rights struggle still
stand within easy sight of each other.
In 1961, Governor John Patterson raised the
Confederate battle flag over the Alabama
capitol building as part of the centennial
observance of the War Between the States.
As tensions between the state and federal
governments over Civil Rights increased,
however, the flag continued to fly.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott of the 1950s
had already brought the attention of the
nation to Alabama's capital city. The eyes of
the world turned there in 1965 when the
Selma to Montgomery March took place,
bringing thousands of protesters to the front
of the state capitol. The march is now
commemorated by the
Selma to Montgomery
National Historic Trail.

It is a little known fact that segregation era
Governor George C. Wallace later renounced
segregation and went on to serve four terms.
In the election for his final term (1983-1987),
he received widespread support from voters
of all races.

The Confederate flag no longer flies over the
Alabama State Capitol today and the old
building stands as a reminder and witness
to the dramatic changes that have come to
Alabama. The state is now noted for its
business climate, natural beauty, historic
sites and hospitality and rolls out the
welcome mat to visitors form around the
world.

The Alabama State Capitol is located at 600
Dexter Avenue in Montgomery and is now
maintained and preserved by the Alabama
Historical Commission. The building is open
to the public Monday through Friday from 9
a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m. The building is free to visit and free
guided tours can be arranged.
For more
information, please click here to visit the
AHC's official website for the Capitol Building.
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 18, 2012
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