POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVELING EXHIBITS
Historical "Streets" of Montgomery, Alabama
as displayed through the Traveling Exhibits
S E E F U L L I T I N E R A R I E S
Lee Street, Montgomery
—Montgomery is the seat of Montgomery County and the capital of Alabama. The county was formed in 1816. The first settlements were Alabama Town and New Philadelphia. The two towns merged in 1819 and became the city of Montgomery. This is a postcard of Lee Street, originally Washington Street, in the early 1900s. The street name was changed after the Civil War.
Court Street, Montgomery
—A legacy of the towns' merger can be seen today in the alignment of downtown streets: streets to the west of Court Street are aligned parallel and perpendicular to the Alabama River, while streets to the east are aligned in a north-south and east-west grid. This is a postcard of Court Street in the 1890s.
Commerce Street, Montgomery
—Lee Street, Commerce Street, and Montgomery Street were originally located in Alabama Town. Commerce Street was once the heart of Montgomery's business life. This is a postcard of Commerce Street in the early 1900s.
Montgomery Street, Montgomery—In 1886, Montgomery became the first city in the United States to convert the entire horse-drawn streetcar system to electricity. The car line, fondly known as the “Lightning Route,” operated for exactly 50 years, when it was retired in a big ceremony and replaced by buses. This is a postcard of Montgomery Street in the late 1890s.
Dexter Avenue, Montgomery
—Court Street, Court Square, and Dexter Avenue were originally located in New Philadelphia. When Andrew Dexter, Jr., founded New Philadelphia, he envisioned a prominent future for his town. He reserved a portion of his property known as “Goat Hill,” for the location of the state capitol building. His dream became a reality when Montgomery became the state capital in 1846. Dexter Avenue, originally Market Street, was renamed in honor of Mr. Dexter.
Court Square, Montgomery
—Court Square Fountain was built in 1885 on top of an artesian well, which Native Americans used long before the area was settled. The fountain features statues based on Greek mythology. This postcard is from the 1890s and shows both the fountain and the electric streetcar system. The prominent building is the Exchange Hotel which was a significant political center for Alabama in the 19th Century.
—One of the trolley routes ended at the Cloverdale neighborhood which made Montgomery one of the first cities to “depopulate” its city center through transportation-facilitated suburban development. Much of Cloverdale was built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This postcard shows why this neighborhood is considered one of Montgomery's “genteel” areas. The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is located in Cloverdale.
Perry Street, Montgomery
—Perry Street is one of the main streets in Montgomery’s Garden District. In the 1850’s Perry Street was referred to as the “Fifth Avenue of Montgomery,” a reference to that luxurious Manhattan street. The Governor’s Mansion is on South Perry Street. This postcard shows an example of residential houses on South Perry Street.