What Emmett Saw in Montgomery

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Readers, yesterday, I posted a photo of downtown Montgomery from 1906.

Montgomery Alabama, 1906. Talk about a 'wired' city back in the day. Source: Shorpy.com

Montgomery Alabama, 1906. Talk about a ‘wired’ city back in the day. Source: Shorpy.com

Today was spent trying to identify some of those buildings to see what Emmett saw when he visited the city.

Although Dexter Avenue has changed a lot from the time the 1906 photo was taken, and there are very few of the buildings in the old photo still standing, I was not disappointed with my tour of Montgomery. In fact, there were many buildings in and around the downtown area that Emmett saw, and that still stand.

Take a look back at that Shorpy.com photo from yesterday as reference.

The bank is now a catering business.

The bank is now a catering business.

See the tall bank building to the extreme left of the photo, the one with the words “Designated Depository of the United States”? That building is still there, and in beautiful condition.

If you note, the street around the fountain in the old photo had cobblestones. Today, the street around the fountain is still in cobblestones (updated, obviously), and the trolley tracks are gone.

Looking up Dexter Street; the old "I. Levystein" building on the right still stands.

Looking up Dexter Street; the old “I. Levystein” building on the right still stands.

The 1906 photo was definitely more bustling, than today’s photos, probably because today was Sunday. Also, what a difference a few less wires make in the view, eh?

If you take another look at the old 1906 photo, note the building directly across the street from the bank, on the far right of the photo with the sign “I. Levystein.” There’s a horse parked in front, and what looks to be a striped barber pole.

That building is still there as well, without the covered walkways.

 

Looking down Commerce Street

A look down Commerce Street. Source: Shorpy.com

Take a look at another photo, above, of Montgomery in 1906, this time looking down Commerce Street. Notice the telephone poles stuck in the fountain.

Here’s what it looks like today:

Commerce Street, 2014

Commerce Street, 2014

Big difference, isn’t it, especially with the telephone poles out of the fountain.

There were several other beautiful buildings on my tour today; my favorite was the train station, which looks very much as it did at the turn of the last century. Emmett definitely would have traveled through the station.

Union Station, Montgomery.

Union Station, Montgomery.

The building was closed today, but I was able to see some wonderful architecture. There are wonderful stained glass windows and arched doorways; also, an original trolley car that Emmett very likely would have rode while he was visiting his brother in Montgomery. There was a lot to see today; I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Note the stained glass upstairs and downstairs. Gorgeous arched doorway.

Note the stained glass upstairs and downstairs. Gorgeous arched doorway.

 

Electric trolley car from 1897.

Electric trolley car from 1897.

 

Stained glass over the train shed archway.

Stained glass over the train shed archway.

In other Emmett Wilson news, I spent the rest of the afternoon getting to know my cousins; i.e., Emmett’s niece and grand-niece. It was a real pleasure to meet them, and it is a wonderful thing to be able to share this research with them.

Tomorrow is the trip to Pensacola, and my very first visit with Emmett. Stay tuned.

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