Historic Markers Across Alabama

The Lightning Route / Central Bank Building

Marker ID: AHA 
Location: at the intersection of Court Square and Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama
County: Montgomery
Coordinates: N 32° 22.655    W 086° 18.541
  32.37758333    -86.30901666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMD6G4


The Lightning Route

In 1886, Montgomery became the first city in the Western Hemisphere to convert an entire street railway system to electricity. The Capital City Street Railway Co. initiated electric trolley service on one mile of the street car line the year before. Civil engineer J.A. Gaboury supervised installation of the system developed by Charles Van de Poele. The car line, fondly known as the "Lightning Route," operated until 1936. Investors in the mass transit system also were involved in the development of the early suburbs of Highland Park and Cloverdale, as well as the first public recreation area at Oak Park.

Central Bank Building

Designed by Philadelphia architect Stephen Decatur Button for William Knox, president of Central Bank of Alabama, this Renaissance Revival building emulated the Venetian palaces of the 16th century. Completed in 1856, it was praised by state newspapers as the first iron front in Alabama. Central Bank, which generously supported the Confederacy, was bankrupt at the end of the Civil War. Other banks occupied the building until jewelers Klein and Son acquired and occupied it from 1923-1983. The building was restored for the Arts Council of Alabama in 1985.

End of The Lightning Route / Central Bank Building