Alabama's capital city of Montgomery
is loaded with interesting attractions, so finding fun things
to do here is the least of your worries. While visiting Montgomery's civil
rights-related attractions is definitely recommended when in town, those who
are interested in history will
also want to include Old Alabama Town on their itinerary. Found in the heart
of the downtown area, Old Alabama Town aims to recreate the setting of a nineteenth
or early twentieth century Alabama village. Stretching for six blocks, Old Alabama
Town offers plenty to explore, including a period drugstore and an old tavern.
Tours at Old Alabama Town are offered on a daily basis, so you can enjoy them
regardless of when you choose to visit.
The Old Alabama Town attractions aren't just ideal for history buffs, but for architecture lovers as well. Among the attractions found here is the Bush Cottage, which was built back in 1860. A "half house," it features the kind of adornment that was prolific at the time. The fancy balustrades are certainly indicative of past trends. The Bush Cottage isn't the oldest entry when it comes to the Old Alabama Town attractions, however. Four of the homes found in Old Alabama Town date to the 1850s, and they include the DeWolf-Cooper Cottage, the Ware-Farley-Hood House, the Nall-Young House, and the Noble House. These 1850s homes boast either a Greek Revival design or an Italianate design, both of which were popular during the period. Even older than these homes, the circa 1840s Graves-Haigler House is worth a glance as well. Unfortunately, these Old Alabama attractions can only be viewed from the outside.
While visitors are generally not permitted to enter some houses at Old Alabama Town, others are open to the public. Among them is the Ordeman-Shaw Townhouse, which dates back to the 1850s. The Ordeman-Shaw Townhouse is arguably the main attraction at Old Alabama Town, and its design characteristics pertain to the "new style" that was gaining in popularity at the time. Among the innovative features that the house boasts are a basement and a bathing house, both of which were uncommon additions at the time. An upper-class appeal certainly characterizes the Ordeman-Shaw Townhouse, which is Italianate in design and features Rococo touches and Empire furnishings throughout. It's interesting to take in the dependency buildings on the site as well, which include slaves quarters and kitchens. Unlike some of the other Old Town Alabama structures, the Ordeman-Shaw Townhouse stands on its original site. Other attractions like the Lucas Tavern were moved to their present site.
The Lucas Tavern, which dates all the way back to 1818, was actually built some fifteen miles from its current resting point. In the early half of the nineteenth century, the Lucas Tavern was a prime stopping point for travelers who were passing through. In addition to getting some food and drink at the tavern, visitors could also stay for the night, not to mention get some helpful information about the area roads. Like many of the structures found at Old Alabama Town, the Lucas Tavern was eventually abandoned and fell into some level of disrepair. The restorations to most of the buildings have them looking practically brand new, and restorations are under way on the properties that are still in decline. You can enter the Lucas Tavern while enjoying tours at Old Town Alabama, as you can at a number of other properties, including the 1820 Log Cabin. Other popular stops on tours at Old Alabama Town include the old-time grocery store and a period Presbyterian Church, so there's quite a lot in the way of variety to enjoy.
If you are interested in enjoying one of the tours at Old Alabama Town, there are a couple different options to choose from. Should you be traveling in a fairly large group, the group tours are arguably the way to go. These guided tours last approximately 1.5 hours and include a stop at the Museum Store afterwards for those who want to do some shopping. If you are alone or are traveling with a small group, the self-guided tours at Old Alabama Town are worth considering. Students and kids ages 6 to 18 get discounts on the self-guided tours, and kids under the age of 6 can enjoy them for free. There are more than 40 restored buildings to explore on your tour, and even small kids will likely enjoy a stop at attractions like the schoolhouse or cotton gin.
In addition to enjoying tours at Old Alabama Town, visitors to Montgomery can also consider attending one of the district's special events. The Saturday Jam Sessions, which take place every second and fourth Saturday of the month, are just one of the events that you can try to enjoy when in town. If you have an acoustic instrument in tote, you can even join in on the jam session! Other fun events that figure among the Old Alabama Town attractions are the Christmas Eve Celebration and the January Tavern Fest, which features live bands, some tasty food, and beer tasting booths. Reserve a table ahead of time at the Tavern Fest, and your group will enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine. Even if you can't make one of the special events at Old Alabama Town, the district is a joy to discover all the same, so don't forget to at least pass through on your upcoming Alabama vacation when in the area. As a side note, if you are interested in historical Alabama structures and are heading up to Birmingham, Rickwood Field is among the city's gems.