In 1819, the same year Alabama became a state, two towns that had sprung up at a bend in the Alabama River joined to form Montgomery. In the 200 years since, the city has played a vital part in events that have shaken and shaped the world. With its story spanning two centuries, Montgomery has undergone myriad changes, has reached high marks and suffered bad times; both its accomplishments and setbacks have been numerous. But through it all, the city has come out on top. And today,
its people are moving forward again, making profound progress by learning from their past and keeping their eyes on the future, turning the capital of dreams into a reality.
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200 Years: Montgomery Bicentennial Timeline
- 1819 Montgomery is incorporated.
- 1846 The city becomes the capital of Alabama.
- 1861 Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker sends telegraph from Winter Building authorizing Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard to fire on Fort Sumter. This was the first military action of the Civil War.
- 1910 “Fathers of flight” the Wright brothers open nation’s first civilian flying school.
- 1918 F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald meet and fall in love in Montgomery.
- 1919 Nat King Cole is born on March 17.
- 1937 Hank Williams wins a talent show at the age of 13 at the Empire Theater.
- 1955 Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and sparks The Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- 1985 Civil Rights Memorial is erected downtown honoring 41 people who were killed in the struggle for the equal and integrated treatment of all people.
- 1989 The Alabama Shakespeare Festival opens a world-class $21 million theatre facility.
- 2002 Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama makes MGM home.
- 2004 Montgomery Biscuits Baseball begins at the brand new, yet historic, Riverwalk Stadium.
- 2009 The Alley opens, bringing restaurants and nightlife to the newly formed Downtown Entertainment District.
- 2017 Montgomery selected to receive the F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet.
- 2018 The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum by the Equal Justice Initiative opens to national acclaim.
AL & MGM 200 BIRTHDAY PARTIES
Turning 200 calls for some serious recognition, but in lieu of two giant cakes, Alabama and Montgomery are holding events to spotlight their big days. Don’t miss the fun!
ROSA PARKS STATUE UNVEILING - DEC 1
Montgomery’s Bicentennial week kicks off with the unveiling of a new statue honoring Rosa Parks on historic Dexter Avenue adjacent to Montgomery Plaza and Court Square Fountain. The statue commemorates the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott sparked by Parks and all the foot soldiers who started the Civil Rights Movement.
MONTGOMERY’S 200TH BIRTHDAY - DEC 3
ALABAMA DAY 200 - DEC 14
Join the grand finale of Alabama’s three-year bicentennial anniversary commemoration. The free, day-long celebration begins at 10 am with a parade of Alabama people, places and history. Governor Kay Ivey will dedicate the Alabama Bicentennial Park, which is located at the foot of the Alabama State Capitol and tells the state’s story in 16 bronzes on Alabama granite bases. As the day continues, exhibitions, presentations and performances all along Dexter Avenue and other areas of downtown keep the celebration going. And this party promises to end on a high note, but you’ll have to be there to find out more. One hint: The surprise, sponsored by the Alabama Tourism Department and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, is being called “a never-before-seen show” that will propel the state into its third century. ALABAMA200.org