The Lightning RouteIn 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.
Side BCentral Bank BuildingDesigned 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 ironfront 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.