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Montgomery, Alabama

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Please help improve this articleby adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challengedand removed. (April 2008) City of Montgomery
Coordinates: 32°21′42″N 86°16′45″W / 32.36167, -86.27917 Country  United States State Alabama County Montgomery Incorporated December 3, 1819 Government  - Mayor Bobby Bright Area  - City 156.19 sq mi (404.53 km²)  - Land 155.38 sq mi (402.43 km²)  - Water 0.81 sq mi (2.09 km²) Elevation 240 ft (73 m) Population (2006)[1]  - City 201,998  - Density 1,281.31/sq mi (499.34/km²)  - Metro 469,268 Time zone CST (UTC-6)  - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5) Area code(s) 334 FIPS code 01-51000 GNIS feature ID 0165344 Website:

Montgomery (IPA: /məntˈgəmɜriː/) is the capital and second most populous city in the Southern U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County.[2] It is located southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. The city population was 201,568 as of the 2000 census.[3] Montgomery is the primary city of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2000 population of 346,528.[4]

The city was incorporated in 1819, as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846. In February 1861, Montgomery was selected as the first capital of the Confederate States of America, until the seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia in May of that year[5]. During the mid-20th century, Mongtomery was a primary site in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches[5].

Today, in addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence due to Maxwell Air Force Base[6], public universities Alabama State University and Auburn University-Montgomery, high-tech manufacturing including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama[7], and cultural attractions like the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.[8]



The Montgomery area was originally heavily populated by the Alibamu tribe of Native Americans (after which the state is named). By 1800 the Native Americans had been mostly driven out, and white settlers began to permanently occupy the area. From 1800 to 1813, settlers continued to move in, but in 1814 two competing businessmen who would lay the foundation of the capital city arrived. Each seeking his fortune on the fertile lands near the river, they constructed separate towns, East Alabama and New Philadelphia, along the Alabama River. Each town was a success, and their proximity to each other quickly caused them to merge. Incorporated in 1819 when Alabama was admitted to the Union, the new city was named for General Richard Montgomery, who died in the American Revolutionary War attempting to capture Quebec City, Canada. Montgomery County, Alabama, was named in memory of Major Lemuel P. Montgomery of Virginia, who fell at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814. He was struck in the head by a Redstick musketball, becoming the first man to die in the battle. A statue of Major Montgomery graces the entrance of the Montgomery County Courthouse.

Montgomery was not the first capital of Alabama; it was actually the fifth. The territorial capital of Alabama was St. Stephens, on the Tombigbee River. The state capital was temporarily located in Huntsville after the state's creation in 1819, but was transferred to Cahawba in 1820. Cahawba was considered a less-than-ideal location because of periodic flooding and was abandoned by 1826. The state capital then was moved to Tuscaloosa. In 1846, the capital was permanently located at Montgomery, the legislature likely finding it an ideal location from which to run the state, due to adequate amenities and travel. It has been said that New Philadelphia's founder, Andrew Dexter--the more prominent of the two businessmen whose cities eventually merged into Montgomery--believed so strongly that his town would one day become capital of a new state that he actually reserved a spot for a capitol building. Once the capital was moved to Montgomery, his spot was purchased for that very purpose.[9]. From then, Montgomery continued to increase in prosperity and prominence. When Alabama seceded during the Civil War, Montgomery served as the first capital of the Confederate States of America; Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president on the steps of the Capitol.

During the Civil War, Montgomery was left virtually physically undamaged, thanks in part to the Confederate capital having been moved to Richmond, Virginia, early in the war in an effort to keep the war in the north. Alabama's infrastructure, however, was damaged with much the rest of the South. Once the railways had been rebuilt, the city moved its focus toward industrial growth in textiles and agriculture. On March 19, 1910, Montgomery became the winter home of the Wright brothers' Wright Flying School. The men frequented Montgomery and founded several airfields, one of which developed into the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base after the Wrights began working with the government to produce planes for military use. Montomery flourished in the years leading up to the Great Depression, having experienced steady population growth. World War II revitalized the city after the Depression, but the city continued to weather some economic hardships. During this time, however, there were some noticeable highlights; Montgomery became the first city in the world to install electric street cars.

Civil rights movement in Montgomery

The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. gained national attention for civil rights issues during his tenure (1954 to 1960) as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, two blocks from the State Capitol Building. A civil rights memorial has been erected near the still-active church. On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks became a civil rights heroine in the city by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. The reaction to this arrest led to the 382-day Montgomery Bus Boycott, which forced the city to desegregate its transit system on December 21, 1956.[citation needed] In 1965, Dr. King's nationally publicized march for justice was conducted from Selma to Montgomery.

Deadly fire

On February 7, 1967, a devastating fire broke out at Dale's Penthouse, a restaurant and lounge on the top floor of the Walter Bragg Smith apartment building (now called Capital Towers) at 7 Clayton Street downtown. The fire was reported to have started in the cloakroom, and early efforts to extinguish it by the staff failed. Twenty-five people lost their lives, mainly because the only emergency stair exit, which was next to the cloakroom, was blocked by the fire and because the restaurant was not evacuated promptly. Many prominent local citizens and some visiting teamsters in town for a convention perished. As a result of the national exposure of the tragedy, a nationwide effort to revamp fire code standards was launched.[citation needed]

Recent years

In more recent history, Montgomery has begun to recover from its economic problems of the 20th century. Montgomery is now home to Hyundai Motor Company's first assembly plant in the United States. A revitalization effort has brought a baseball stadium and a riverfront walk to downtown as well as numerous parks and historical attractions. Montgomery public schools were among the first in the nation to receive city-wide Internet access, and the Alabama school system was the first to wire all districts and schools via fiber-optics. In 1994, the 22-floor RSA Tower was constructed, which now houses many prominent tenants, including Raycom Media, the Capital City Club, and Morgan Keegan & Company. Montgomery is also expanding rapidly with plans to build a second bypass system and construction of large residential and commercial developments throughout the city. Montgomery is home to a federal minimum-security prison and to some of the military's most valuable and critical computer systems and is a major supply hub for the military. The city also houses one of the military's key air war colleges. Recently, Montgomery has been focusing on further improving local schools. Also, Montgomery is home to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Fine Arts Museum, the fifth largest museum in the world.[citation needed]

Geography and Climate

The Alabama River at Montgomery in 2004


Montgomery is located at 32°21′42″N, 86°16′45″W (32.361538, -86.279118)[10]. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 156.2 square miles (404.5 km²), of which, 155.4 square miles (402.4 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²) of it (0.52%) is water. The climate is subtropical.


Montgomery experiences short, warm springs and hot, typically humid summers lasting from mid-May to well into September. Autumns are usually during October and November and are mild – from the mid-60s to 70s (degrees Fahrenheit). Winters last from December until February; their severity/coldness varies from year to year, but they are usually moderate, with temperatures rarely dipping below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weather averages for Montgomery, Alabama Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Average high °F (°C) 57.6 (14) 62.4 (17) 70.5 (21) 77.5 (25) 84.6 (29) 90.6 (33) 92.7 (34) 92.2 (33) 87.7 (31) 78.7 (26) 68.7 (20) 60.3 (16) Average low °F (°C) 35.5 (2) 38.6 (4) 45.4 (7) 51.2 (11) 60.1 (16) 67.3 (20) 70.9 (22) 70.1 (21) 64.9 (18) 52.2 (11) 43.5 (6) 37.6 (3) Precipitationinches (mm) 5.04 (128) 5.45 (138.4) 6.39 (162.3) 4.38 (111.3) 4.14 (105.2) 4.13 (104.9) 5.31 (134.9) 3.63 (92.2) 4.22 (107.2) 2.58 (65.5) 4.53 (115.1) 4.97 (126.2) Source: US Travel Weather [11]2008-04-05


Historical populations Census Pop.  %± 18206,604 — 183012,695 92.2% 184024,574 93.6% 185029,711 20.9% 186035,904 20.8% 187043,704 21.7% 188052,356 19.8% 189056,172 7.3% 190072,047 28.3% 191082,178 14.1% 192080,853 −1.6% 193098,671 22% 1940114,420 16% 1950138,965 21.5% 1960169,210 21.8% 1970167,790 −0.8% 1980197,038 17.4% 1990209,085 6.1% 2000223,510 6.9%

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 201,568 people, 100,784 households, and 100,784 families residing in the city. The 2006 Census Bureau estimate places the population at 201,998.[1]

The population density was 1,297.3 people per square mile (500.9/km²). There were 86,787 housing units at an average density of 558.5/sq mi (215.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.63% Black, 47.67% White, 0.25% Native American, 1.06% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 1.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 78,384 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,627, and the median income for a family was $44,297. Males had a median income of $31,877 versus $25,014 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,385. About 13.9% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.7% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.


Montgomery is served by Interstate 65 and Interstate 85. I-65 is the primary north–south freeway through the city leading between Nashville, TN and Mobile, including Birmingham and Huntsville, while I-85, another north–south (running east–west in the city) freeway, leads northeast to Atlanta, and serves as the southern terminus of the route. Montgomery is also served by other major highways which loop around the city: U.S. Highway 31, U.S. Highway 80, U.S. Highway 82, U.S. Highway 231, U.S. Highway 331 and State Route 152. The Alabama Department of Transportation is planning the Outer Montgomery Loop to ease traffic congestion in the city. It will connect Interstate 85 to U.S. Highway 80.[citation needed] The Montgomery Area Transit provides public transportation with buses serving the city. The major airport serving Montgomery is Dannelly Field, otherwise known as the Montgomery Regional Airport.


City Council District Representative I Jim Spear II Charles Smith III Tracy Larkin IV David Burkette V Cornelius Calhoun VI Willie Cook VII Martha Roby VIII Glen Pruitt, Jr. IX Charles Jinright


Montgomery operates under a Mayor-council government system. The current mayor is Bobby Bright. Bright was elected mayor in the 1999 municipal elections, having unseated longtime Republican Mayor Emory Folmar. Bright was re-elected in a landslide against challenger Scott Simmons in the 2003 and 2007 municipal elections.

The city is served by a nine-member city council, which is composed of nine districts of equal size. The city council is responsible for establishing the city of Montgomery's policies. The current council president is Charles Jinright. The Montgomery City Council meets every first Tuesday of the month at 10:00 am and every third Tuesday of the month at 5:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall downtown.



The morning publication, the Montgomery Advertiser, began publication under that name in 1833. It is the principal newspaper of central Alabama and is affiliated with the Gannett Corporation. In 1970, then publisher Harold E. Martin won the Pulitzer Prize for special reporting while at the Advertiser.

There is also the afternoon daily, the Alabama Journal affiliated with The Advertiser.


Montgomery is served by seven local stations: WNCF 32 (ABC), WSFA 12 (NBC), WCOV 20 (Fox), WBMM 22 (CW), WAIQ 26 (PBS), WMCF 45 (TBN), WFRZ 34 (Religious and Educational). In addition, WAKA 8 (CBS) and WBIH 29 (independent) are located in Selma, and WRJM 67 (MyNetworkTV) is licensed to Troy. Montgomery is part of the Montgomery-Selma Designated Market Area, which is ranked 118th nationally by Nielsen Media Research.[13]


The Montgomery area is served by nine AM stations: WMSP, WMGY, WNZZ, WTBF, WACV, WAPZ, WIQR, WLWI, and WXVI; and FM stations: WJSP, WAPR, WELL, WLBF, 89.9, WVAS, WLWI, WXFX, WQKS, WWMG, WVRV, WJWZ, WBAM, WALX, WHHY, WMXS, WHLW, WZHT, and WJAM. Montgomery is ranked #153 by Arbitron.[14]


Montgomery is home of the Montgomery Biscuits baseball team. The Biscuits play in the Class AA Southern League. They are affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays, and play at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium[15]. Riverwalk Stadium is also the annual host of the NCAA Division II National Baseball Championship. The championship has been held in Montgomery since 1985, and was previously held at Paterson Field.

The Navistar LPGA Classic women's golf event is held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill in nearby Prattville.[16] Garrett Coliseum was the home of the now-defunct Montgomery Bears indoor football team.

Montgomery is also the site of sporting events hosted by the area's colleges and universities. The Alabama State University Hornets play in NCAA Division I competition in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The football team plays at the Cramton Bowl and the basketball team play at the Joe L. Reed Acadome. Auburn University Montgomery also fields teams in NAIA competition.

Notable points

The State Capitol, built in 1850


  • Jubilee City Fest
  • Alabama Highland Games
  • Flimp Festival
  • Saturdays In April Historic House & Garden tours
  • Montgomery Symphony
  • Alabama National Fair
  • Montgomery Ballet
  • Glenn Miller Annual Concert
  • Zoo Boo
  • Montgomery Holiday Lights Festival at the Zoo
  • Turkey Day Classic
  • Southeastern Livestock Rodeo


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Montgomery County is served by the Montgomery Public Schools system.

Private schools

Private elementary schools:

  • Green Gate School
  • Holy Cross Episcopal School
  • Our Lady Queen of Mercy School, Montgomery
  • Saint Bede School, Montgomery

Private elementary and middle schools:

  • Bethany Christian Academy

Private high schools:

  • Canterbury High School

Private middle and high schools:

  • St. Jude High School

Private K-12 schools:

Organized home schools:

  • Evangel Family Christian Academy Home School

Colleges and universities

Montgomery is home to a variety of colleges and universities, including:

Notable natives and residents

Main category: People from Montgomery, Alabama
See also: Category:Alabama State University alumni

Metropolitan Area

Main article: Montgomery Metropolitan Area

The Montgomery Metro area includes the following nearby towns:


  • Allendale/Myrtlewood
  • Arrowhead
  • Bellwood
  • Beauvoir
  • Brentwood
  • Brighton Estates
  • Capitol Heights
  • Carriage Hills
  • Centennial Hill
  • Chisholm
  • Cloverdale
  • Cloverdale-Idlewild
  • Copperfield
  • County Downs
  • Dalraida
  • Deer Creek
  • Deerfield
  • Downtown
  • Edgewood
  • Elsmeade
  • Cottage Hill
  • Cross Creek
  • Forest Hills
  • Forest Park
  • Fox Hollow
  • Garden District
  • Gay Meadows
  • Georgetown
  • Glad Lane Estates
  • Glynnwood
  • Green Acres
  • Grove Park
  • Halcyon
  • Halcyon Forest
  • Halcyon Oaks
  • Halcyon South
  • Halcyon Summit
  • Highland Gardens
  • Highland Park
  • Hillwood
  • Lake Forest
  • Lakeview Heights
  • Lockwood
  • McGehee Estates
  • McGehee Place
  • Melrose
  • Midtown
  • Mobile Hights
  • Morningview
  • Normandale
  • Old Alabama Town
  • Oak Park
  • Old Cloverdale
  • Regency Park
  • Ridgefield
  • Ridgecrest
  • Rosemary
  • Rosemont
  • Rosemont Gardens
  • Somerhill
  • Somerset
  • Southlawn
  • Smiley Court
  • Spring Valley
  • Sturbridge
  • Taylor Crossing
  • Taylor Downs
  • Taylor Lakes
  • Towne Lake
  • Tulane Court/Gardens
  • Trenholm Court
  • Vaughn Meadows
  • West Woods
  • Woodley Park
  • Woodmere
  • Wyndridge
  • Wynlakes


  1. ^ a b Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alabama, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (June 28, 2007). Retrieved on June 28, 2007.
  2. ^ "Alabama - City Population - Cities, Towns, & Provinces - Statistics & Map". "". Retrieved on 2008-05-05.
  3. ^ "Montgomery city, Alabama - Fact Sheet". "American Fact Finder". Retrieved on 2008-05-05.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Montgomery: History - Early Days in Montgomery, Lafayette's Visit a Local Highlight
  6. ^ Montgomery: Economy - Major Industries and Commercial Activity
  7. ^ Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; LLC
  8. ^ Montgomery: Recreation - Sightseeing, Arts and Culture, Festivals and Holidays, Sports for the Spectator
  9. ^ ADAH: Montgomery Historical Markers
  10. ^ US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990. United States Census Bureau (2005-05-03). Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ Montgomery Weather. US Travel Weather. Retrieved on April 05, 2008.
  12. ^ American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  13. ^ "Local Television Market Universe Estimates". "". Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
  14. ^ "Arbitron Radio Market Rankings: Fall 2007 ". "". Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
  15. ^ "Montgomery Biscuits". Retrieved on 2008-04-05.
  16. ^ "". Retrieved on 2008-04-05.

Further reading

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • L. P. Powell (editor), in Historic Towns of the Southern States, (New York, 1900)
  • Jeffry C. Benton (editor) A Sense of Place, Montgomery's Architectural History ( )

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Montgomery, Alabama Prattville, Birmingham
I-65v • d • e  Selma
US 80 Tuskegee, Auburn
I-85    Montgomery     Mobile
I-65 Rutledge, Alabama Dothan
US 231 v • d • eMunicipalities and communities of
Montgomery County, AlabamaCounty seat: Montgomery Cities

Montgomery | Pike Road

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