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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Montgomery: 1906

Montgomery: 1906

Montgomery, Alabama, circa 1906. "Dexter Avenue and the Capitol." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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My dad the architect used this exact trick years ago to keep pigeons out of the light well space in his downtown office building - they strung thin, barely visible wires in crossing patterns - no birds. Bird-Safe glass now uses similar random crossing patterns. Sometimes "old ideas" are still the best ideas, you just have to have the knowledge of history to realize it.

What is the little cart at the left?

It looks like a miniature carriage with a glass cube on top.

[It's street vendor's cart. Roasted peanuts would be my guess. - Dave]


Loving the wires and the insulators! Great picture. No wonder we've gone to underground wiring these days.

The Deepest South

Lest anyone doubt the Southern sympathies were deep and long in Montgomery, you should know that the last time I was there, on this street leading to the capitol, the Confederate battle flag flew there, above the Stars and Stripes. (And Lurleen Wallace was governor.) 1966.

Fountain of progress

If you do "48 Court Square" on Google Earth for Montgomery, that'll let you zoom to street level, right behind this wonderful fountain with the State Capitol building on the horizon. A number of the 1906 buildings are still there, but while the fountain did its frothy duties for the past century, the Calcutta-like wire and pole circus has packed up and left town. You can almost see Savannah. OK, maybe not.


I noticed the lack of pigeons as well. But I think a pigeon would have no trouble navigating the forest of wires. Maybe their populations in cities weren't so large 100 years ago?

Keep Left - Pass Right

It would appear that there is an attempt to "keep left" when driving as noted by the carriages on the left and the horseless carriage coming down on the right. Even the escaped driverless carriage appears to be keeping left. If this rule were true, the trolley on the left would be bearing down on the gentlemen crossing the street reading a newspaper! I hope this all turned out OK.

A tangled web

Wondering how linemen would put back together this maze of overhead wires after a break caused by a tornado or strong thunderstorm. It seems like you would have to start all over from the main switching station in the area and go from there.

Wired for Progress

Who wired this place? Spider-Man? Obviously "multiplex" and "bandwidth" hadn't hit the dictionary yet.


One might call this an electrifying photograph!

Git along, little doggie

Now there's something I don't believe I've seen before in other street views on Shorpy - a dog running in the street. He's just to the right of the second tier of the fountain.

Dexter Ave. Baptist Church

The steeple just to the right of the Capitol is Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor from 1954 to 1960.

View Larger Map


I'll bet Savannah didn't have a pigeon problem at this time. How would any bird be able to fly through that grid of wires?

[Savannah? - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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