Montgomery Stories and Tips

Dexter Avenue

Montgomery's downtown area is relatively small but very well put together. Dexter Avenue runs right down the center of Montgomery, from Alabama's state capitol at the head of the street, to the city's most famous fountain at One Court Square. The name of the street may ring a bell with anyone familiar with the Civil Rights Movement because Martin Luther King Jr's own church was the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. This historic landmark is only one block down from the Capitol Building on Dexter.

Dexter Avenue is not much of a hub anymore now that the city has moved a great deal to the east, but it is still the center of downtown. And to walk down Dexter and not stop in Chris's Hot Dogs would be a travesty. Dexter eventually turns into Commerce, which runs into the Riverfront. On Commerce is the Hank William Sr. Museum, the Civic Center, The old Train Station (where live concerts are held in the Train Shed) and the Riverfont Park. Down at the Riverfront Park, there is the Betsy Anne River Boat, which has the Blue's Cruise on the weekends, featuring blues great, 'Guitar Slim.'

The best advice for enjoying downtown is not to go looking for one thing, one site, or one event. Just to go and look around. Besides Chris's, there is a great martini bar called the Olive Room and next to that is The Old Elite Cafe well suited for finer dining. Just for grabbing snacks or sandwiches is the Dexter Deli which is always good with tables on the sidewalk. For the real meat, though, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church really is worth visiting. I have heard plenty of stories about the 1960's and the blacks all hanging around the church because they knew that they would be safe there. The national law enforcement had intervened by the time things got heavy for them, but the church was always a safe haven. There is an aura in the church worth experiencing, a history worth knowing. The State Capitol is also worth touring and the Archive Museum is on the Capitol's side of Washington Avenue. All three of these historic buildings deserve more detailed descriptions---more detail than I could write about here---but I can say they are all worth seeing.

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