Early Days in Montgomery
Many centuries before Montgomery was founded, the land on which it sits was the site of two Indian towns called Ikanatchati and Towasa. Numerous mounds and burials sites have been uncovered there, proving it to have been an area thickly settled by ancestors of the Creek people, the Alibamu Indians, from whom the state took its name.
The first Europeans to visit the region were Hernando De Soto and his fellow Spanish explorers, who passed through the region in 1540. The first white inhabitant of the area was James McQueen, a Scottish trader, who arrived in 1716. The area remained sparsely inhabited until 1814, when Arthur Moore and his companions built cabins on local riverbanks. Three years later, the land was put up for sale and purchased by two groups of speculators.
General John Scott led a group of Georgians who built the town of Alabama but abandoned it when a second group of poor New Englanders founded a nearby town they called Philadelphia. Scott and his companions then built a new town they called East Alabama. Both groups began their settlements to make riches on future growth of the area.
The rivalry between the two groups was finally settled in December 1819, when they merged the towns under the name Montgomery, Incorporated. The name was chosen to honor General Richard Montgomery, who had died in the Revolutionary War. Eleven days after Montgomery's founding, Alabama was admitted as a state. Three years earlier, Montgomery County had been named in honor of a local man, Major Lemuel P. Montgomery, who later lost his life when serving with U.S. President Andrew Jackson during a war with the Creek Indians.
Lafayette's Visit a Local Highlight
The year 1821 was an important one for Montgomery as the first steamboats reached the city, which was the northernmost point up the Missouri River to which large vessels from Mobile could travel. That same year a stage line began to carry passengers eastward, and the newspaper the Montgomery Republican was founded.
From Montgomery's earliest days, cotton production was its most important local industry, with the first commercial cotton gin having been installed in the area at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Montgomery soon became an important port for shipping cotton from the region. Although the town was still small, it had two general stores whose owners accepted payment in "either cotton or cash." The town also boasted a private school, a dancing school, a court whose docket showed more than one hundred cases, and a lively social calendar for the wealthier residents.
A grand ball held during the 1825 visit of distinguished Frenchman the Marquis de LaFayette was the highlight of the town's early history. About that time, the State Bank was founded, and real estate companies began to flourish as new settlers moved to the area.
Montgomery Becomes State Capital
In 1834, the state of Alabama voted to establish the Montgomery Railroad Company and build a rail route to West Point, Georgia. In time it became an important link in service between New York City and New Orleans. By 1840, Montgomery had a population of 2,179 residents.
On January 30, 1846, the Alabama legislature announced that it had voted to remove the capital city from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. The first legislative session in the new capital met in December 1847. In time, a Capitol building was erected under the direction of a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania architect. The original structure burnt down in 1849 but was rebuilt in 1851 following the original plans.
Secession and Its Consequences
By the time of the Civil War, Alabamians were among the Southerners with the strongest anti-Northern sentiments. Their slave-based economy was made up of the triad of wealthy white planters, working class whites, and a large group of African American slaves who served at the whims of their masters. The wealthy planters were adamant about protecting the entrenched socio-economic structure and their accumulated wealth.
As the whites' fears of change accelerated, it did not take long for the movement for secession from the Union to strengthen, and a Secession Convention met in Montgomery on January 6, 1861. On February 4, representatives of six seceding states assembled in Montgomery, which they chose to serve as the provisional capital of the Confederate States of America. Five days later, Jefferson Davis was unanimously chosen to serve as President of the Confederacy. A torchlight parade held on March 4 culminated in his inauguration. At that time, the population of the city stood at more than 8,850 citizens.
Montgomery's stint as capital of the Confederacy was short lived, however, when it became apparent that Virginia was to be the site of much of the early fighting. It then became necessary to shorten the line of communication between military headquarters and the field officers. At the first Montgomery meeting of the Provisional Congress, the representatives decided that the capital should be moved to Richmond, Virginia, within two months.
Dedication to the Confederate cause remained strong, even when General James Wilson's federal raiders entered Montgomery in April 1865. Upon their arrival, local citizens burned more than 100,000 bales of cotton to prevent their falling into Union hands. In response, Union troops burned the local small arms factories, the railroad cars, and five steamboats.
Troubled Times Improve
The Reconstruction period following the end of the Civil War in 1865 was a time of hardships. Much of the wealth of local citizens had been wiped out, articles of common use were scarce, stores lay empty, and the means of traveling by steamer and railroad had been destroyed.
A slow and painful economic and social recovery took place. By 1880, the population had grown to 16,713 people and railroad expansion had helped local conditions to improve. Montgomery's geographic location and proximity to the most productive agricultural regions of the South, as well as the fact that it was the state capital, soon brought about the re-connection of the city with other areas of the state and nation via roads and railway routes. By 1885, an intra-city electric trolley car system had been constructed.
In 1890, industrialists and financiers began to visit Montgomery in search of business sites. The first large lumber mill had been opened and the local population stood at 21,883. In time, local textile and garment factories, cotton processing plants, and fertilizer plants were established.
First Half of Twentieth Century Brings Industrial Growth
The years between 1900 and 1940 saw steady industrial progress and a local population growth from more than 30,000 to about 78,000 residents. Montgomery remained a focal point for cotton farmers, and livestock and dairy production became vital industries. In 1910, flight pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright built an airfield in the city and opened a school of aviation. Later, during mid-century, Montgomery became a center for packing plants, furniture, construction, and chemical and food production.
During the 1940s, Southern African American citizens began to show their dissatisfaction with the restrictive "Jim Crow" laws allowing discrimination, including the restriction of their voting rights. By the mid-1950s, the call for African American voter registration had greatly increased.
Desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement
In 1955 Montgomery saw a simple but historical event that was to influence the history of the United States. That year, a Montgomery woman named Rosa Parks was arrested for not yielding her bus seat to a white man. For the 381 days that followed, Montgomery African Americans boycotted the city's buses, making way for the December 1956 U.S. Supreme Court order for the desegregation of Montgomery buses.
The 1960s were a period of great upheaval in the United States and in the city of Montgomery. Supporters of the civil rights movement from the North and other areas of the South began coming to the city to support efforts by African Americans to gain their civil rights, and Montgomery became the virtual headquarters of the civil rights movement. Groups of African American and white people, known as Freedom Riders, rode buses together throughout the south as a way to protest segregation. On May 20, 1961, when a number of Freedom Riders arrived at the Montgomery bus station, they were beaten by local Ku Klux Klansmen, who were later tried and sentenced for their crimes.
In 1962, George Corley Wallace won the governorship of Alabama after a campaign based on his support for segregation. Standing on the state's Capitol steps, he made a famous speech championing segregation. The next year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Montgomery and preached against segregation.
In 1965, King led 25,000 demonstrators on a four-day march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery to seek voting rights for African Americans. When the 600 civil rights marchers reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge shortly after the walk began, they were attacked by local lawmen carrying clubs and using tear gas. The march continued only after a federal judge granted the protestors a court order protecting their right to march from Selma to Montgomery. Nearly 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol, their numbers had swelled to 25,000 people. Less than five months after the march, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which represented a major victory for civil rights advocates.
In 1971, attorney Morris Dees founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in the city of Montgomery. The center promoted tolerance and took up the cause of poor people and minorities. It also helped to sponsor the building of the local civil rights memorial. In 1991 a U.S. federal district judge furthered civil rights efforts when he ordered Alabama State University and other state institutions to hire more minority faculty and staff and to make changes in their financial and admission policies.
The last decades of the 1900s brought many changes to the city of Montgomery. A new spirit of cooperation grew between its African American and white citizens and new industries grew, especially in the area of high technology. In addition, the establishment of Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base further strengthened the local economy. By 1999, a wealth of new construction and the addition of Overlook Park where once a parking lot stood marked the beginning of an extensive downtown renaissance. The Montgomery of the new century is boosted by a burgeoning tourism industry based on the city's plethora of Civil War and Civil Rights historical sites.
Historical Information: Montgomery County Historical Society, PO Box 1829, Montgomery, AL 36102; telephone (334)264-1837. Alabama Department of Archives and History Museum, 624 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36130; telephone (334)242-4435; email [email protected]alabama.gov
The Visitor Center, located in historic Union Station at Riverfront Park, offers maps and brochures for visitors to use in touring the city. Many of Montgomery's most important tourist sites are located in the city's downtown and are within walking distance of one another. The Alabama State Capitol, built in 1850–1851, is a National Historic Landmark and has been restored to its original design. At this site Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederacy and Martin Luther King, Jr. culminated the historic march through downtown Montgomery by asking for equality for all Americans.
The Civil Rights Memorial lists the key events in the American civil rights movement, including the names of forty men, women, and children who were killed during the struggle. Nearby is Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. issued many of his pleas for freedom. The church also served as the center of the famous 1955 bus boycott.
Montgomery is also the home of the First White House of the Confederacy, where President Jefferson Davis and his family resided. The Alabama Judicial Building houses the state Supreme Court, the courts of Criminal and Civil Appeals, and the state law library. In nearby Wetumpka, at the site of Fort Toulouse in 165-acre Jackson Park is the William Bartram Arboretum, a museum, historic buildings, and an Indian mound dating back thousands of years.
Old Alabama Town is a collection of restored homes and buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries, set in the heart of Montgomery's historic downtown. The site features a walking tour, live demonstrations, and a gift shop. Another popular tourist stop is the U.S. Air Force Heritage Museum, which houses the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall. The museum, on the grounds of Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, highlights important achievements of enlisted soldiers and the airplanes they used, as well as vintage military uniforms, historical photos, and paintings. The Air Force Base occupies the site where in 1910 Wilbur and Orville Wright operated the world's first flight training school. Tours of the stainless steel Monument to Powered Flight are conducted there daily and visitors have the opportunity to see vintage aircraft.
The Alabama Science Center encourages hands-on learning through touch-screen interactive computer programs and video presentations.
Renowned country singer Hank Williams, Sr. is a son of Montgomery. The museum that bears his name features his 1952 Cadillac and other items such as his clothing, piano, and band members' possessions. A life-sized statue of the beloved singer stands across the street from the old city auditorium where many of his performances and his funeral took place.
Rosa L. Parks, the African American heroine who was the catalyst for the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, is honored at Troy State University Montgomery's Rosa Parks Library and Museum, which opened in 2000. The 55,000-square-foot structure was built on the site where Mrs. Parks boarded the bus on which she refused to yield her seat. The interpretive museum is housed in the 7,000 square foot first floor of the three-story building, which also houses the Troy State University Library. Permanent exhibits commemorating the civil rights movement are displayed, including a replica of the bus, original historical documents on loan from the City of Montgomery, and various sculptures. The Museum also contains a 2,200 square foot, 103-seat multimedia auditorium.
The Alabama Cattleman's Association MOOseum tells the story of the agricultural history of the state, focusing on the history of the cattle industry from the explorations of DeSoto to the present day.
Visitors are alerted to "expect the unexpected" at the 40-acre Montgomery Zoo, which displays more than 700 animals from five continents living in a "barrier free" setting lush with vegetation and crashing waterfalls. One of the largest planetariums in the Southeast, the W.A. Gayle Planetarium allows 230 visitors to view the sun, moon, planets, and stars projected on a 50-foot domed ceiling. Laser Lights are a highlight of the facility, which is set in beautiful Oak Park.
Teague House offers visitors a chance to observe one of the south's finest examples of late Greek Revival architecture, while the Murphy House antebellum mansion, which now houses the Montgomery Waterworks Board, is open for free tours. The stern-wheel riverboat Betsy Ann provides nautical tours of the city from its berth in historic Riverfront Park.
Arts and Culture
The 150-acre Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park plays host to two Montgomery Gems: The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts' noted Blount Collection includes works by John Singer Sargent and Edward Hopper and spans 200 years of American art. The museum also displays collections of European art and offers an educational gallery called ARTWORKS, through which patrons can use their five senses to learn about works in the permanent collection and art in general. The acclaimed Alabama Shakespeare Festival makes its home at the Carolyn Blount Theatre in the Cultural Park. The complex includes two separate theaters, a 750-seat Festival Stage, and the 225-seat Octagon Theatre. The Shakespeare Festival attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually. The park's Shakespeare Gardens hosts many events, including acoustic music concerts, lectures, and theatrical productions. The grounds are festooned with numerous lush plantings and an Elizabethan herb garden. Blount Cultural Park is a $21.5 million facility representing the largest single gift in the history of American arts philanthropy.
The Alabama Artists Gallery features the work of the state's artists.
The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is located in a former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby and other American classics. It houses a large collection of photos, possessions, partial manuscripts, and original correspondence between Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, a fine artist.
Troy State University's Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts, which opened in 1930, is a renovated former movie palace that now hosts professional musicals, drama, chamber music, symphony concerts, dance, and other performances. It is home to the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and the Montgomery Ballet. Faulkner University's Dinner Theatre holds claim to Montgomery's only dinner theater venue.
The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra began in 1976 as a community orchestra with 30 musicians. Now, with 75 musicians and a full-time maestro, the symphony performs 7 concerts per season and oversees a variety of educational programs as well as the Montgomery Youth Orchestra. The Montgomery Ballet professional dance company and school features performances of classics throughout the year. Two of the Ballet's annual traditions are The Spring Gala and Ballet and the Beasts, a free performance at the Montgomery Zoo.
The 34,406-square-foot Armory Learning Arts Center, a one-time National Guard Armory that underwent complete renovation in 1983, brings art, music, dance, and gymnastic instruction to the community. The Center is the permanent home of the Alabama Dance Theatre, which presents both contemporary and classical dance performances, and twice a year presents major productions at the Davis Theatre. The company offers a free performance each summer at the Armory Center. The Capri Theatre features art, foreign, and classic films.
Festivals and Holidays
Autumn is the season for many annual events on Montgomery's calendar. September brings the annual Ballet & the Beasts at Montgomery Zoo, the Alabama Jazz and Blues Federation River Jam, the annual Storytelling Festival, and the Alabama Highland Games.
October's calendar features the 10-day Alabama National Fair at Garrett Coliseum. Also in October, residents have enjoyed the Festival in the Riverfront Park (formerly the Festival in the Park) in downtown Montgomery since I972. The festival features arts and crafts exhibitors, children's activities, food, and a 5-kilometer run/walk. November brings the Turkey Day Classic at Crampton Bowl, where Alabama State University takes a stand against its biggest rival, Tuskegee University. Events kick off with the Turkey Day Classic Parade down Dexter Avenue.
January brings the Fitzgerald Museum Gala & Auction, and DESTA, a festival that highlights African-American arts and culture. March brings the annual Miss Rodeo Alabama pageant during the week-long Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo, and the Junior League Rummage Sale. The Jubilee City Fest is a three-day music, arts, and food festival held near the State Capitol building in May.
Culture blossoms in the summer air with July's free Montgomery Ballet Performance on the Green at Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park and the free Day of Late Summer performance by Alabama Dance Theatre. The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra bids summer adieu with the "Broadway Under the Stars" free performance at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival grounds.
Sports for the Spectator
As the home of Alabama State University, Auburn University Montgomery, Troy State College, and other colleges, Montgomery offers a variety of football and baseball games and other college sports for fans to watch. The Montgomery Biscuits AA Southern League baseball team (Tampa Bay Devil Rays affiliate) makes their home at Montgomery's new (2004) Riverwalk Stadium, at the corner of Coosa and Tallapoosa Streets. Victoryland Greyhound Park offers daily races witnessed by up to 4,000 people per day. Montgomery Motorsports Park offers year-round drag racing and weekly events.
Sports for the Participant
Montgomery has 19 city parks that cover more than 400 acres. Among the most popular are Buddy Watson Park, Oak Park, Riverfront Park, Overlook Park, Vaughn Road Park, and Woodmere Park. Tennis and softball facilities dot the parks, and arts, crafts, and fitness programming is available at The Armory on Madison Avenue. The 26,000 square foot Therapeutic Center on Augusta Street features a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a weight room, game room, locker rooms, meeting rooms, a kitchen, and tennis courts. Lagoon Park Golf Course offers year-round opportunity to play on a 6,773 yard par 72 championship course.
Shopping and Dining
The Shoppes at EastChase opened in 2002 with an open-air "main street" concept and feature fountains, street lamps, lush landscaping, and upscale tenants. Montgomery Mall is anchored by JCPenney and Parisian and features more than 100 other tenants. Eastdale Mall, with 80 stores, is the site of Dillards, Sears, Parisian, and JCPenney department stores. Festival Plaza offers 110,000 square feet of shopping and entertainment. Cloverland Shopping Center features everyday necessities, and Eastbrook Flea Market and Antique Mall offers something a little different for the antique and bargain shopper. The Mulberry Shopping District features unique boutiques, antique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and home-cooked specialties are for sale year-round at the State Farmers Market; the Montgomery Curb Market and Fairview Farmers Market are open seasonally.
Tourist-friendly Montgomery offers restaurants featuring a variety of cuisines from country to Cajun, Mexican, and Thai. Specialties include down-home Southern fare and just-caught seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Others choices include Indian restaurants, an Australian steakhouse, Italian, Chinese, and the Farmers Market Café, which features fresh fruits and vegetables.
Visitor Information: Montgomery Area Visitor Center, 300 Water Street., Montgomery, AL 36104; telephone (334)262-0013; email [email protected]
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Government at the local, state, and federal levels plays a major role in Montgomery's economy. It makes up one-fourth of the work force and lends a strong stability to the local economy. The local colleges and universities make an important contribution to the economy, as does the major military presence of Maxwell Gunter Air Force Base. The relatively new addition of automotive companies to central Alabama has created new opportunities for workers and suppliers.
Montgomery's location in the center of a zone of rich black soil that stretches across Alabama makes it an important processing and shipping center for cotton, dairy, and other farm products. The city also boasts a large livestock market. The city's role as a regional trade center is firmly established, and it serves as a wholesaling and distribution gateway to the entire southeast.
Among the variety of Montgomery's industries are metal fabrication, food processing, lumber processing, and furniture production. Sand, gravel, grain, and chemicals are transported north and south via barge from the Montgomery region.
More than 135 information technology (IT) companies were based in Montgomery in 2005. The IT industry in Montgomery has an estimated $1 billion per year economic impact and accounts for approximately 14,000 workers in private, federal and state sectors. In addition, the tourism industry, which annually pours more than $350 million into the local economy, employed more than 11,000 people.
Items and goods produced: food, lumber, furniture, metal products, textiles, brick, glass, printing/publishing, plastics, software engineering products
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
The Montgomery Area Center for Entrepreneurial Development provides help to small businesses with everything from startup and counseling to non-conventional financing, training, recognition, and networking. An offshoot of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, the center also provides affordable space at below-market rates for startup entrepreneurs. Manufacturing/distribution projects may receive exemptions for up to 10 years from ad valorem taxes other than those levied for educational purposes.
The City of Montgomery is an Urban Enterprise Zone, which results in state tax and nontax incentives that are some of the best in the United States. Montgomery has been designated as a general purpose foreign trade zone, which provides payment deferrals or cancellation for businesses in the zone. New or expanding businesses may also qualify for grants of money for carrying out site improvements.
Alabama offers a full gamut of financial incentives aimed at promoting economic growth. These include payroll tax breaks, industrial revenue bonds for land, building, and equipment for new and expanding plants. The Alabama Economic Development Loan Program can be used to purchase land, buildings, machinery, and equipment. There are also three revolving loan funds. Business loan guarantees are available to firms that create or retain permanent jobs. The Capital Investment Tax Credit program is available to new and expanding businesses involved in manufacturing, warehousing, research, and computer services. Other innovative programs include the State Industrial Site Preparation Grant Program and the Public Works and Development Facilities Grant Program.
Job training programs
The Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) program provides a total delivery system for screening and selecting trainees and for designing and implementing training for any new or expanding manufacturer in the state of Alabama. The program provides a full range of customized technical training programs that are free to employers and trainees. Thirty-six mobile training units go directly to the employer site to provide classroom and hands-on training. The program's AIDT project supports the development and enhancement of the city's professional Information Technology community as well as its aerospace, chemical industry, and other area manufacturers. The Workforce Investment Act helps defer the costs of hiring and training new employees for private businesses.
In 2005, plans were underway for a major overhauling of the Montgomery Riverfront district. The City of Montgomery, the Montgomery Riverfront Development Foundation, and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce had formed an alliance and were working together towards this end. The riverfront plan consists of a $29 million upgrade of the current civic center and a new $53 million hotel in the heart of the district. Those efforts will join the new amphitheatre, stadium, and riverwalk, and combine with an already thriving entertainment district. In addition, the city's revitalization efforts will include a new intermodal transportation center at Union Center. The center, funded in part by federal money to the tune of $8.1 million, will serve as a hub for the transportation system and the downtown trolley system.
In 2004 construction of four new shopping centers began under the development of Aronov Realty Management. Each new center is to be anchored by a Publix grocery store. The four centers will offer 500,000 square feet of retail and business space. In 2004 the Headquarters Standards Systems Group (SSG) broke ground at Maxwell Airforce Base, Gunter Annex. SSG's new $12.6 million 51,450-square-foot Integrated Operational Support Facility is expected to be completed in 2006.
Also in 2004 plastics manufacturer Webster Industries expanded, opening a second operating facility and adding 300 new jobs. Production at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is expected to begin in spring 2005. Hyundai's Montgomery plant will occupy 1,720 acres and pump out an estimated 300,000 vehicles and engines, as well as bring 2,000 jobs to the state.
Economic Development Information: Montgomery Community Development Department, PO Box 1111, Montgomery AL 36101; telephone (334)241-2996. Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, 41 Commerce Street, PO Box 79, Montgomery, AL 36101; telephone (334)834-5200
Montgomery is served by 48 motor freight carriers. The Norfolk Southern Company and CSX railroads provide transport opportunities for many local industries. The Alabama River provides a nine-foot channel for barges to cross into the Gulf of Mexico through the port of Mobile. Alabama State Docks in Mobile, accessible via waterway from Montgomery, offer 1000-ton capacity facilities inside a protected barge-turning basin. Barge transportation to the Great Lakes is available through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
In 2000 a corporate research group that specializes in the study of job creation named Montgomery as one of the nation's top 25 small metropolitan area "hot spots" for entrepreneurial growth. Montgomery's job growth today relies on the city's burgeoning tourism industry as well as its resident air force base, universities, and information technology industry.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Montgomery metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.
Size of nonagricultural labor force: 163,300
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 8,500
trade, transportation and utilities: 30,400
financial activities: 10,400
professional and business services: 17,200
educational and health services: 17,800
leisure and hospitality: 13,600
other services: 8,200
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.56 (statewide)
Unemployment rate: 5.1% (November 2004)
|Largest employers||Number of employees|
|Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base||12,700|
|State of Alabama||9,500|
|Montgomery Public Schools||3,700|
|ALFA Insurance Companies||2,568|
|City of Montgomery||2,500|
|Jackson Hospital & Clinic||1,300|
|Rheem Manufacturing Co.||1,150|
Cost of Living
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Montgomery area.
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $241,263
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 94.3 (U.S. Average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: 2.0 to 5.0%
State sales tax rate: 4.0%
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: 3.5% city, 2.5% county
Property tax rate: $3.45 per $100 of assessed value
Economic Information: Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, 41 Commerce Street, PO Box 79, Montgomery, AL 36101; telephone (334)834-5200
Montgomery: Education and Research
Montgomery: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
Montgomery's school system includes nine magnet schools with specialized programs each with its own focus, including arts, technology, math, science, international studies, and advanced academics. The schools offer gifted and special education programs as well as a Career Tech program. The Partners In Education (PIE) program is a joint venture of the Montgomery Public Schools, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Junior League of Montgomery, and the Volunteer and Information Center. PIE's 500 partners, consisting of local businesses and organizations, encourage improvement in the school system through partnerships, materials, and donations. The Children's Center of Montgomery is a non-profit organization serving Montgomery's severely disabled and special needs children. The Center is funded in part by the County Board of Education and the State Department of Education, among others. The late 1990s saw the opening of several new schools and a number of additions to existing schools. Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School is designed to expose students to career opportunities in such diverse technical fields as graphics design, pre-engineering, building sciences, e-commerce, medicine, and computer information systems.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Montgomery public school system as of the 2004–2005 school year.
Total enrollment: 33,000
Number of facilities
elementary schools: 36
junior high/middle schools: 11
senior high schools: 7
Student/teacher ratio: 15.4 (2002-2003)
Funding per pupil: $5,728 (2000-2001)
Montgomery also has 37 private and religious schools, prekindergarten and early education centers.
Public Schools Information: Montgomery Public Schools, 307 S. Decatur St., Montgomery, AL 36104; telephone (334)223-6700
Colleges and Universities
Montgomery is home to a variety of institutions of higher learning. Alabama State University offers programs in health information management and occupational therapy, and master's degree programs in a variety of education fields and accounting. It has recently expanded to include a graduate program in physical therapy as well as a doctoral program in environmental biology and education.
Auburn University Montgomery is known for its Center for Government and Public Affairs and its Center for Business and Economic Development. Faulkner University offers such programs as the Alabama Christian College of Arts and Sciences, the Harris College of Business and Education, and the Jones School of Law. Its program at the Cloverdale Center for Family Strengths reflects the school's emphasis on family stability through training, counseling, and research. Huntingdon College students participate in the Huntingdon Plan, which encompasses many areas including global awareness, critical thinking, strong writing, and hands-on learning as well as Judeo-Christian heritage and values.
John M. Patterson State Technical College offers varied programs in technical, industrial, and service professions. South College Montgomery, a branch of Savannah, Georgia's South College, offers associate degrees in business and computer-related fields. Montgomery is also home to Southern Christian University, which educates Protestant ministers. Trenholm State Technical College provides training in programs such as auto body repair, childcare, broadcasting technology, and other trades. Adult students who work during the day are the special focus of Troy State University Montgomery. Students there earn associate, undergraduate, or graduate degrees while attending school exclusively at night and on the weekends. Troy State programs focus on business, education, the arts, history, sciences, and social science; its graduate programs offer degrees in education, counseling, and business.
Thousands of military students come to Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base to study at the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff College and at the Squadron Officer College. The College for Enlisted Professional Military Education (CEPME) at Maxwell's Gunter Annex oversees and standardizes all Air Force educational programs.
Libraries and Research Centers
Montgomery has a variety of public and private libraries. Montgomery City-County Public Library has 600,000 volumes with a circulation of more than one-half million items. The facility has ten branches and a bookmobile. The Alabama Supreme Court & State Law Library has 200,000 volumes on Alabama law and history. Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base is home to the Air University Library, one of the largest federal libraries outside Washington D.C., and the largest military academic library in the world.
College libraries include the 258,000-volume Alabama State University Library, which has special collections on accounting and allied health; the Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) library, with 270,000 titles; and the Huntingdon College Library, which has more than 225,000 holdings, and subject interests in business education, ethnic studies, and gerontology. Faulkner University Library's collection houses 100,000 volumes in its Gus Nichols Main Library; the George H. Jones, Jr. Law Library serves the needs of the University's law school students. Troy State University Montgomery Library is housed on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum building. Opened in 2000, the new structure was built on the site where Mrs. Parks boarded the bus on which she refused to give up her seat.
Baptist Medical Center, Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, and Jackson Hospital & Clinic maintain medical libraries. Other libraries in the city include the Montgomery County Law Library, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Library, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Validata Computer and Research Corporation. Auburn University research centers in Montgomery include the Center for Demographic and Cultural Research.
Public Library Information: Montgomery City-County Public Library, 245 High St., PO Box 1950, Montgomery, AL 36102; telephone (334)240-4300
Montgomery (city, United States)
Montgomery, city (1990 pop. 187,106), state capital and seat of Montgomery co., E central Ala., near the head of navigation on the Alabama River just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, and in the rich Black Belt; inc. 1819. It is an industrial city and an important market center for lumber and agricultural goods, especially livestock and dairy products. There are stockyards and meatpacking plants. Manufactures include motor vehicles and vehicle parts, commercial fertilizer, furniture, air conditioning and heating units, food items, and paper.
Montgomery became the state capital in 1847 and boomed as a river port and cotton market. The city has been called the "Cradle of the Confederacy." In the capitol building (erected 1857) the convention met (Feb., 1861) that formed the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president on the capitol steps, and the city served as the Confederate capital until the seat was moved to Richmond in May, 1861. The city was occupied by Union troops in the spring of 1865.
During the civil-rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, Montgomery was marked by demonstrations led by Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a minister there in the mid-1950s. In Dec., 1955, African Americans organized a nonviolent boycott of the segregated public bus system; by the following year a desegregation edict regarding public transportation was issued. Racial unrest ensued in the 1960s.
The city is the seat of Alabama State Univ., a campus of Auburn Univ., Southern Christian Univ., and Huntingdon College. Maxwell Air Force Base, adjoining the city on the northwest, and its Gunter Annex, on the northeast, are the home of Air Univ. In addition to the historic state capitol, points of interest in Montgomery include the "first White House of the Confederacy" (built c.1825), preserved as a Confederate museum; a planetarium; a museum of fine arts; the state archives and history museum; many antebellum homes and buildings; and the Civil Rights Memorial by Maya Lin.
Montgomery: Population Profile
Montgomery: Population Profile
Metropolitan Area Residents
Percent change, 1990–2000: 13.9%
U.S. rank in 1990: 120th (MSA)
U.S. rank in 2000: 121st (MSA)
2003 estimate: 200,123
Percent change, 1990–2000: 5.6%
U.S. rank in 2000: 100th (State rank: 2nd)
Density: 1,297.3 people per square mile (2000)
Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 100,048
American Indian and Alaska Native: 500
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 71
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 2,484
Percent of residents born in state: 71.5% (2000)
Age characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 14,259
Population 5 to 9 years old: 14,912
Population 10 to 14 years old: 14,729
Population 15 to 19 years old: 15,465
Population 20 to 24 years old: 17,365
Population 25 to 34 years old: 29,703
Population 35 to 44 years old: 30,331
Population 45 to 54 years old: 25,398
Population 55 to 59 years old: 8,649
Population 60 to 64 years old: 6,957
Population 65 to 74 years old: 12,376
Population 75 to 84 years old: 8,415
Population 85 years and older: 3,009
Median age: 32.9 years
Total number: 3,338
Total number: 2,124 (of which, 39 were infants under the age of 1 year)
Money income (1999)
Per capita income: $19.385
Median household income: $35,627
Total households: 78,436
Number of households with income of . . .
less than $10,000: 10,255
$10,000 to $14,999: 5,798
$15,000 to $24,999: 11,337
$25,000 to $34,999: 11,130
$35,000 to $49,999: 12,837
$50,000 to $74,999: 13,295
$75,000 to $99,999: 6,261
$100,000 to $149,999: 4,997
$150,000 to $199,999: 1,229
$200,000 or more: 1,297
Percent of families below poverty level: 13.9% (54.6% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 17,617
Newspapers and Magazines
The Montgomery Advertiser is the city's only daily newspaper. The The Montgomery Independent is published weekly. Several magazines focusing on hunting, fishing, farming, and agriculture are published in Montgomery. Alabama Living features stories of interest to rural and city-dwelling residents.
Television and Radio
The six local television stations include four network stations, a public television station, and an independent station. The five local FM radio stations offer jazz, country, religious, adult contemporary, and Top 40 formats. The two local AM radio stations feature religious and sports programming.
Media Information: The Montgomery Advertiser, 200 Washington St., Montgomery, AL 36104; telephone (334)262-1611. The Montgomery Independent, 1810 W. Fifth St., Montgomery, AL 36106; telephone (334)265-7320
Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Available www.asf.net
City of Montgomery. Available www.montgomery.al.us
City of Montgomery Parks and Recreation. Available http://parks.ci.montgomery.al.us
Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base. Available www.au.af.mil
Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. Available www.montgomerychamber.com
Montgomery Area Visitor Center. Available www.visitingmontgomery.com
Montgomery Biscuits baseball. Available www.biscuitsbaseball.com
Montgomery City-County Public Library. Available www.montgomery.al.us/city/library
Montgomery Public School System. Available www.mccpl.lib.al.us
Online Montgomery. Available www.onlinemontgomery.com
Burns, Stewart, ed. Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997)
Lewis, Wendy I. and Marty Ellis. Montgomery: At the Forefront of a New Century. (Community, 1996)
Parks, Rosa, Quiet Strength: The Faith, Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994)
Rogers, William Warren, Confederate Home Front: Montgomery During the Civil War (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1999)
Montgomery: Geography and Climate
Montgomery: Population Profile
Montgomery: Municipal Government
Montgomery: Education and Research
Montgomery: Health Care
Montgomery: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1819 (incorporated 1819)
Head Official: Mayor Bobby N. Bright (since 1999)
2003 estimate: 200,123
Percent change, 1990–2000: 5.6%
U.S. rank in 2000: 100th (State rank: 2nd)
Metropolitan Area Population (MSA)
Percent change, 1990–2000: 13.9%
U.S. rank in 1990: 120th
U.S. rank in 2000: 121st (MSA)
Area: 155 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 221 feet above sea level
Average Annual Temperature: 67.2° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 44.5 inches
Major Economic Sectors: Services, government, trade
Unemployment rate: 5.1% (November 2004)
Per Capita Income: $19,385 (1999)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 17,617
Major Colleges and Universities: Alabama State University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Faulkner University, Southern Christian University, Troy State University Montgomery, Community College of the Air Force
Daily Newspaper: The Montgomery Advertiser, The Montgomery Independent
Approaching the City
Montgomery Regional Airport, located six miles southwest of the city, supports civilian use and provides facilities for the Alabama Army and Air National Guard. Air carriers serving Montgomery include Delta, Northwest Airlink, US Airways Express, and beginning in 2005, Continental Express. Daily flights travel to and from Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, and Charlotte.
Interstate Highway I-65, which runs north and south, and I-85, which runs east and west, intersect in Montgomery. The two highways lead to Atlanta, Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Nashville. Bus service to other parts of the region and the country is provided by Greyhound and Capital Trailways.
Traveling in the City
Montgomery is served by U.S. Highways 31, 80, 82, 231, and 331, all of which are connected by a four-lane perimeter road surrounding the city. Major east-west streets include Fairview Avenue, Madison Avenue, and South Boulevard, while important north-south streets are Union and Perry streets and Norman Bridge Road.
The Montgomery Area Transit System (MATS) is the local bus line with 15 fixed service routes throughout Montgomery. MATS also provides a demand response service that allows riders to specify pickup and drop-off locations, and the Lightning Route, a turn of the century replica trolley that circulates the historic downtown district.