1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Montgomery (Alabama)

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17576861911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18 — Montgomery (Alabama)

MONTGOMERY, a city of Alabama, U.S.A., the capital of the state and the county-seat of Montgomery county, situated (about 162 ft. above the sea) S.E. of the centre of the state, on the left bank of the Alabama river, which is here navigable. Pop. (1900), 30,346, of whom 17,229 were of negro descent and 666 were foreign-born; (1910, census), 38,136. Montgomery is served by the Louisville & Nashville, the Mobile & Ohio, the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, the Central of Georgia, and the Western of Alabama railways, and by freight steamers plying between Montgomery and Mobile. Among the principal buildings are the state capitol, near which is a Confederate soldiers’ monument (erected by the women of Alabama), the county court-house, the Federal building, the Carnegie library, the masonic temple and the First National Bank and Bell buildings. The public institutions include the city infirmary and St Margaret’s hospital, the latter under the direction of the Sisters of Charity. The city has about 100 acres of parks, Oak Park being the most important. Situated in the “Cotton Belt” of Alabama, Montgomery handles 160,000–200,000 bales annually. Truck-gardening is an important industry. The Alabama state fair is held here annually. Among the manufactures are fertilizers, machine-shop products, cotton goods, lumber products, cigars, harness, beer, stoneware, and bricks. The value of the factory products in 1905 was $3,877,653 (an increase of 31·7% over that in 1900). The leading newspapers are the Montgomery Advertiser (morning) and the Montgomery Journal (evening).

The site of Montgomery was once occupied by an Indian village known as Ecunchatty. The first permanent white settlement was made in 1814 by Arthur Moore. In 1817 Samuel Dexter of Massachusetts laid out a town and named it New Philadelphia. In 1819 it was united with East Alabama Town, an adjoining settlement on the river, under the present name (in honour of General Richard Montgomery), and a third settlement, Alabama Town, later became a part of Montgomery. Montgomery was first incorporated in 1837. The place soon became the commercial emporium of the Alabama “Cotton Belt.” In 1847 it became the capital of the state instead of Tuscaloosa. On the 7th of January 1861, the State Convention through which Alabama seceded from the Union met in the capitol; at the same place delegates from six states met, on the 4th of February, and organized the Confederate States of America. Montgomery was the capital of the new government (hence the popular name “Cradle of the Confederacy”) until May 1861, when that honour was transferred to Richmond, Virginia. It was the seat of Confederate military factories, and on the 12th of April 1865 it was captured by Federal troops. Montgomery received a new city charter in 1905.