Montgomery is the state capital of Alabama and the administrative centre of Montgomery County. It was named after Richard Montgomery, a major general of the continental army, who led the Canadian invasion in 1775. Montgomery is ranked second largest city in Alabama, after Birmingham. The population of the city is about 201,332 people and has an area of 418.40 km2.
Montgomery's downtown is built on the southern shores of the Alabama River. The city’s tallest building is the RSA Tower, which rises to a height of 114 metres. Many administration buildings for both county and state governments are located in downtown Montgomery. The eastern part of the city is characterised by rapid development, and is where most of the city’s shopping, like Eastdale Mall and large chain stores, are located. Another highlight of the eastern side is the Wyton M. Blount Cultural Park.
Montgomery is the largest city in the entire Black Belt region of Alabama, which gives it an economical advantage over other cities. Cotton, soybeans and peanuts are largely processed in the city, and metal fabrication and timber processing also take place there. The total revenue generated by the city is about $12.15 billion, and contributes 8.7% to the total revenue of the state of Alabama. Apart from agriculture, other major employment sectors in Montgomery are the government, trade, transportation, manufacturing and services. The rate of unemployment in the city was at 5.7% in 2008. The average annual income for an individual in the city based on the living wage is $16,691. Montgomery is also important as a transportation and healthcare hub in the Black Belt region.
Arts and Recreation
Montgomery is one of the most artistic cities in America, having produced many notable musical performers in the jazz, opera, country music, blues and instrumental genres. It is also home to various rock bands such as Hot Rod Circuit. Wyntom M. Blount Cultural Park is important to the art industry in Montgomery, and includes the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Carolyn Blount Theatre. Other art centres include the Hank Williams Museum, Museum of Alabama, and the Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts.
The city has a 40 acre zoo that includes 500 animals. It also has 2 golf courses, play grounds, football pitches, tennis centres, baseball fields, a riverboat, community centres and an environmental park. In total, parks and recreational centres occupy about 1600 acres of land.
Other Facts of Interest
Montgomery was the first American city to install electric tramcars in 1886. The city was also the hometown of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., who fought for civil rights. In 1965, a protest march of 25,000 people to Montgomery resulted in a review of voting rules in America, after which African Americans and other minority groups were allowed to vote. Also, when the American Confederate States formed in 1861, Montgomery was its first capital. The inauguration of the Confederation State’s first president Jefferson Davis took place in the Montgomery's Alabama State Capitol.