Alabama's First Capital On March 3, 1817, Congress designated the town of Saint Stephens on the Tombigbee River north of Mobile as capital of the newly formed Alabama Territory. There in 1818, the territorial legislature named Huntsville as the temporary seat pf government and Cahaba (near present-day Selma) as the first permanent capital. The constitutional convention and legislature met in Huntsville and on December 14, 1819, Alabama was admitted into the Union. Meanwhile a suitable building was erected at Cahawba. Cahawba was prone to flooding which resulted in another change of locale in 1826 -- this time to Tuscaloosa. An elegant statehouse erected there served until 1846 when Montgomery became the capital of the state.
Anticipating that Montgomery might some day be Alabama's capital, city founder Andrew Dexter in 1819 set aside "Goat Hill," at what was then the eastern edge of a small frontier town, as the locale for a future statehouse. The first capitol on this site was erected in 1846-47 after a design by Philadelphia architect Stephen Decatur Button. Burned only two years later in 1849, this Greek Revival-style structure was replaced by the present capitol, also in the Greek Revival style, in 1850-51. Additions since that time include a large rear wing (1885) side wings (1908-1912) and another rear addition completed in 1992. In February 1861, delegates from the seceding southern states convened in this building to organize the Confederate States of America. On March 25, 1965, the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ended on the capitol steps.
On February 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the confederate States of America on the steps of the Capitol.
United States Flag Raised Over Capitol April 12, 1865 MG J.H. Wilson's Cavalry Corps raised U.S. flag over Alabama's and the Confederacy's first capitol on 4/12/1865, three days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Wilson had defeated LTG N. B. Forrest's depleted and vastly outnumbered troops at the Confederate Arsenal city of Selma. Before fleeing Montgomery, BG D.W. Adams, CSA ordered 85,000 bales of cotton and 40,000 bushels of corn set afire to deny them to the Federals. But for the wind's change and the heroic Montgomery firefighters, the city would have burned. Wilson left Montgomery for Columbus, GA on Friday, 4/14/65, the day Lincoln was shot by Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington.
James Marion Sims Father of Modern Gynecology Operations he devised cured a then considered hopeless malady- gaining him fame as a benefactor of women. It's not mentioned here on the plaque that the good Dr. Sims used slaves as experimental subjects. Back in the day, women with vesicovaginal fistulas, usually the result of traumatic labor, were social outcasts. Vesicovaginal fistula, or VVF, is an abnormal fistolous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault. Sims treated three Alabamian slave women, Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy, who were suffering from this malady, developing new techniques to repair this condition. Anesthesia was not used. It was only after the success of the early experiments on the slaves that Sims attempted the procedure on white women with fistulas, this time using anesthesia. Dr. Sims also devised instruments - namely the Sims' speculum, and a rectal examination position is also named after him - Sims' position. And all this time I had no idea. I know. I know. You're quite welcome for this information. It's the least I could do for my readers.
John Allen Wyeth Confederate soldier, surgeon, and author.
The "Moon Tree." Loblolly pine crown from seeds that journeyed to the moon with 1971 Apollo 14 mission. Planted here in 1976.
Albert L. Patterson Soldier, educator, attorney, state senator, attorney general-elect An honorable life dedicated to this fellow man and to the cause of good government. Shot down by an assassin's bullet, June 18, 1954 in Phenix City, Alabama.
Washington took command of the American army under grandparent of this elm. Cambridge, Mass., July 3, 1775