Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Southron

Court Square Plaza

17 posts in this topic

Court Square Plaza, which terminates the western end of Dexter Avenue (opposite the state capitol) and features a ca. 1885 fountain, opened for vehicle and pedestrian traffic on April 24th. The $1.3 million renovation of the plaza transformed the area into a signature public space and returned the plaza to its historic, pre-1950s roundabout design. The new plaza features flush pavement at the edges, traffic circulating around the historic fountain, bollards at key locations, and cobblestone pavers.

The Court Square Plaza may be the first new plaza of its kind on a major U.S. city street in over fifty years. The project included reopening a block of Court Street that was converted into a concrete pedestrian mall in the 1970s. Court Square is now a wireless hotspot, with coverage extending about a block from the square.

CtSquare_old.jpg

CtSquare_new.jpg

Design plan here: http://www.hpe-inc.com/pdf/Courtplaza.pdf

Montgomery Advertiser story with photos and video links: Downtown roundabout comes full circle at last

Montgomery Independent: Reopening of Court Square roundabout a bright spot in downtown revitalization

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Construction photos:

CtSqFountain.jpg

CourtSq_1.jpg

CourtSt_atSq.jpg

Photos after completion:

Photo_042707_002.jpg

Photo_042707_004.jpg

Photo_042707_003.jpg

Photo_042707_005.jpg

Photo_042707_001.jpg

Photo_042707_007.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks very nice. Great to see that it's finally done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i've got to get over to montgomery. how much public money is being spent in this brief span? all this stuff seems to be adding up to a very dramatic transformation. i have no complaints about the money, BTW...i just can't believe this will still be montgomery in a few years. seems like a baron haussmann-scale of renewal - one that couldn't happen without a pretty generous budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Court Square history: Montgomery's first county courthouse was built near an artesian well on the western side of what is now Court Square in 1822. Although the county courthouse was moved to another location well over a hundred years ago, Court Square kept its name through the years. In 1853, the city dug out the artesian well and created a basin, surrounded by a decorative iron fence. "Big Basin" supplied water for stock and fighting fires, and continued to be a hotspot for commerce, with all kinds of goods for sale. The city installed the Court Square fountain in 1885. The figure of Hebe, cup-bearer of the gods, on top of the fountain faces north toward the river and railroad, sources of the city's prosperity, rather than east toward the state capitol as one might expect.

Historic images of Court Square:

DexterAve1857.jpg

CourtSq4.jpg

CourtSq6.jpg

CourtSq1.jpg

CourtSq2.jpg

CourtSq3a.jpg

Dexter_50s.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i've got to get over to montgomery. how much public money is being spent in this brief span? all this stuff seems to be adding up to a very dramatic transformation. i have no complaints about the money, BTW...i just can't believe this will still be montgomery in a few years. seems like a baron haussmann-scale of renewal - one that couldn't happen without a pretty generous budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll dig around and try to find some budget figures for all this stuff. I agree with you, these improvements seem almost too good to be true. Montgomery is laying the foundation for a dramatic downtown renaissance over the next decade or two and beyond.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ you beat me to the european comparison. just going back through expat's photos above, i noticed how completely european the court square plaza has been in both function and appearance. i mean, look at those bottom three or four pics (well, the second from the bottom looks kinda sterile; that must be at the onset of the 1950s era you mentioned, expat): you've got cars & busses & streetcars (or horses & carts in the early shot) busily circling that well / fountain all day; you've got perimiter dining and retail (or so it seems, judging from the level of activity); and - in the middle of all of it, right there out in the flow of traffic - you've got people actually crossing the street and congregating around the fountain, staking their claim to that public space without being cowed by all the auto traffic. how cool is that?

and let me get this right: is the water still supplied by the artesian well? if not, why not?

having wifi in that spot is a great way to reinforce what this plaza's all about: integrating foot traffic and re-establishing public space.

i keep shaking my head, and sort of marveling, when i think about a municipal government in alabama believing all this was a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


^ you beat me to the european comparison. just going back through expat's photos above, i noticed how completely european the court square plaza has been in both function and appearance. i mean, look at those bottom three or four pics (well, the second from the bottom looks kinda sterile; that must be at the onset of the 1950s era you mentioned, expat): you've got cars & busses & streetcars (or horses & carts in the early shot) busily circling that well / fountain all day; you've got perimiter dining and retail (or so it seems, judging from the level of activity); and - in the middle of all of it, right there out in the flow of traffic - you've got people actually crossing the street and congregating around the fountain, staking their claim to that public space without being cowed by all the auto traffic. how cool is that?

and let me get this right: is the water still supplied by the artesian well? if not, why not?

having wifi in that spot is a great way to reinforce what this plaza's all about: integrating foot traffic and re-establishing public space.

i keep shaking my head, and sort of marveling, when i think about a municipal government in alabama believing all this was a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, while it can't be seen in the picture. The original "intermodal transportation center" ( a covered outdoor segreagate waiting area with seats, and with a rail and a glassed in bible was on the NE side between the Klein & Son build and what is now Regions bank. Additionally there was an entrance to the old Montgomery Fair ( then Gayfers, then whatever) building on N Court (where I had my first escalator ride!). The buses were too numerous for that single stop and filled up the square on all the corners with stops to the outlying areas. There were many major department stores (Montgomery Fair, Belk, JC Penny, Sears, Kress, Newberry's, Grant's) to keep one occurpied on Dexter Av. For a young boy back then it was really happening!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^ I wish I had been around to see our cities when downtowns were the hub of activity. Hopefully, after a few decades our downtowns will be as fun and interesting again for young kids.

I didn't know that the old bus waiting area was next to the Klein building. Court Square must have been a really busy place throughout the day back then. Thanks for all the cool info. Keep it coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
^^ I wish I had been around to see our cities when downtowns were the hub of activity. Hopefully, after a few decades our downtowns will be as fun and interesting again for young kids.

I didn't know that the old bus waiting area was next to the Klein building. Court Square must have been a really busy place throughout the day back then. Thanks for all the cool info. Keep it coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I visit Montgomery at least once a year (I live in Orlando) and Court House Square Plaza looks like a great asset to downtown. I don't know how fast Montgomery is growing in population (or not growing) but if you could get a few apartment or condos built downtown and increase the living population in the CBD then you could probably get some cafe's opened in the area. A movie theater downtown is a great asset to a city and attracts people in from the suburbs if there is some decent dining in the area (and nightlife.) A hip martini ultralounge or wine bar would be nice and possibly keep people downtown after work. As far as retail goes, that is difficult even in the larger cities. In the Orlando metro, which has been hit hard by the mortgage crisis, downtown is now the fastest growing part of the metro in the past six months. There is now 20,000 (and growing) permanent residents within a one mile radius of the CBD and over 100,000 within a 3 mile radius. While Orlando has had many nightclubs downtown for the past 20 years, downtown has been packed on weekends with kids cruising from the suburbs and out of town. That has been changing to a young, 20-30 somethings with a lot of upscale lounges and restaurants, theaters and art galleries, and a lot less of the kids coming in. Orlando now has one of the largest downtown populations in the south and growing. It would be cool to see Montgomery have the same success. You don't have to be the largest metro in your state to have the nicest downtown. I understand Birmingham and Mobile don't have many downtown residents, maybe Montgomery can be the place in Alabama.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Notice the throngs of people in and around the picturesque fountain. No place to sit, no place to eat no shade. What's wrong with this pretty picture?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.