A June 22, 2014 article in the Montgomery Advertiser caught my attention. It was titled “Future should be bright for Winter Building,” by Karen Pell and Carole King. I think all serious Civil War buffs know that the telegram that started the War was sent from the telegraph office located in the Winter Building in downtown Montgomery. It is located directly across from where the Exchange Hotel stood, by the artesian well, now know as Court Square, in the center of downtown Montgomery.
The article was part III in a series about the Winter building. In it Karen and Carole described some the events and changes that 170 year old building had witnessed. Not only did Jefferson Davis and the Montgomery True Blues (the Home Militia) pass by it on their way to the Capitol for the Inauguration of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States of America, but other soldiers in other wars also made their way by the Winter Building.
The old building also witnessed the first city-wide electric trolley system in America. And the old building witnessed drastic social change, as Rosa Parks waited for her bus across the street at Court Square. The famous Montgomery bus boycott followed in December, 1955, when, as Karen described it, “empty buses rattled by the Winter Building.”
Later, March 25, 1965 the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Voting Rights March up Dexter Avenue to the Capitol. Karen said, “The Winter Building stood as witness; it still stands to remind us all about change”.
It looks like as downtown Montgomery is changed, the Winter building will also get a new life as it is slated to become “Hotel Dexter.” That should bode good things for the future of the old building. On a personal note, I passed by there many times with the Lanier High School marching band, as I was a majorette and we always marched up Dexter Avenue before our homecoming games and other times as well. GO POETS!!! (Yes, we were the Sidney Lanier High School Poets.)