RSVP Montgomery

Cover Story

Commerce Street: History Happens Here

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009

For almost 200 years, Commerce Street has served as the main mercantile, transportation and business artery for the city of Montgomery. From that day in October of 1821 when the steamboat Harriott reached the Montgomery landing after a treacherous ten-day journey up the Alabama River from Mobile, the citizens of the recently united settlements formerly known as Alabama Town and New Philadelphia were connected to the markets around the globe. Montgomerians now had access to all types of finery from Europe and Asia. After that cargo was offloaded onto the wharfs at the foot of Commerce Street, the empty space on the decks was replaced with hundreds of bales of short staple Alabama cotton headed for the textile mills of Europe. There were over 300 pick-up spots at river wharfs between the ramps and slides at the foot of Commerce and the port in Mobile. The rudimentary feeder system allowed area farmers to arrange for wagonloads of their cotton bales to lade aboard the broad decks of the steamships bound for the transoceanic cargo ships and lucrative foreign markets. In this part of antebellum Alabama, "Cotton WAS Commerce." 

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Kress, Born Again: 1929 Meets 2018

MAY/JUNE 2018

THEN
In 1896, S. H. Kress built a chain of five and dime stores that grew to 264 locations and dominated our country for years. Most were located downtown at five or six stories high and, because he was an avid art lover, each building incorporated distinctive architecture with detailed artistic flourishes on the exterior. His Montgomery store was his third to be built but was destroyed by fire in 1927. In December of 1929, architect George E. Mackay rebuilt it with a Greek temple design that remains today. It closed in 1981, and over the years began to deteriorate, along with several other buildings on Dexter Avenue. So much history happened on Dexter: Martin Luther King, Jr. led thousands on the Selma to Montgomery March from this street. Nonviolent activists organized sit-ins at the eating counters in the Kress Department Store. The Webber Theatre, the oldest theatre in Alabama, is where actor and assassin John Wilkes Booth performed regularly. Dexter Avenue created a platform for Civil Rights activists. It tells a story…several stories. How could Montgomery afford not to restore it?

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RSVP Through the Looking Glass

MARCH/APRIL 2018

In 2008, The United States elected its first African­American president, Congress bailed out the big three automakers, China hosted the Summer Olympics, Heath Ledger died and a little publication called RSVP Montgomery was born. Despite the economic crash in 2008, two friends in Montgomery, Alabama, were determined to make their dreams of starting amagazine a reality.

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"All the World's a Stage..."

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

“...And it’s people merely players.” It’s not just a Shakespearean quote, it’s a way of life for Catherine “Cat” Williams. The Montgomery native and Montgomery Academy alumna grew up in Montgomery Children’s Theater, headed by John and Lorna Bell, and took that passion with her to college, the Big Apple and the City of Angels. But when the curtain closed on her time in theater a new stage appeared: The Internet.

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Be Our Guest

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

Whether it’s a fancy dinner party or a casual get-together with family and friends, this time of year is never short of parties. While the fun memories of holiday cheer will be what we hold on to for years to come, great décor can be pretty memorable, too. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to design a beautiful, instagram-worthy tablescape. Your decor can be over the top or minimalistic – either way, it can still set the mood and make an impact! Take a cue from these local designers and allow these photos to inspire you to design a table you’lllove all season long. ‘Tis the season to be jolly...and to celebrate!

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Montgomery's Best Dressed Ball

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017

What’s better than looking fabulous? Looking fabulous for a fantastic cause, of course! That’s exactly the combination you will find at Montgomery’s Best Dressed Ball. The Best Dressed Ball is Montgomery’s premiere event for young professionals. This event honors the top 10 men and women who not only dress sharply and present themselves professionally, but are also recognized for their leadership and continued contributions to our community. This is the second year for this exciting event, which will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. at The Shoppes at EastChase.

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100 Women Strong

JULY/AUGUST 2017

For 36 years, the Family Sunshine Center has been a beacon of hope to victims of family violence, and/or sexual assault. This includes women, men and children. Offering hope, healing, and eventual happiness, the Family Sunshine Center’s mission is to aid victims of domestic violence and assault. Many arrive at the Family Sunshine Center with often just the clothing on their back. After a series of counseling sessions, self-esteem workshops, and other aid, these individuals gain the tools to be independent of their abusers. Although this process is not an easy one, the victims are always appreciative of the center’s aid. Many even come back to the center to share their testimonies of healing with supporters. 

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Mobile Cuisine

MAY/JUNE 2017

The food truck industry has exploded in major cities across the country, and Montgomery is no exception. The City of Montgomery is very supportive of the food truck movement, and those who live and work in the area are excited to have more dining options available here. Some of the trucks currently operating in Montgomery are Southern Smoke Shack, On a Roll, NYC Gyro and Fire Meats Wood, among others. There are even plans in the works by Lomar Benson of Fire Meats Wood to create an app that allows people to see where each food truck is every day. Steve Jones, director of general services for the mayor’s office, graciously agreed to answer questions about the food truck movement.

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Heritage to Horizon: Legacy of the Great War –A Century of Airpower

MARCH/APRIL 2017

Maxwell Air Force base has been gearing up to celebrate two historic marks in history, anniversaries that bring to light the importance of not only aviation, but the United States’ efforts in making this country the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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Blackberry Smoke

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

A lot can happen in 16 years, and there may be very few bands that understand that more than Blackberry Smoke. The Atlanta-based Southern rock band formed in 2000, the brink of the new millennium. Emerging during the time of frosted tips and boy bands, Blackberry Smoke--consisting of Charlie Starr (lead vocals/guitar), Richard Turner (bass), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitars) and Brandon Still (keys)-- started to grow their audience against all odds. Though a southern-bred band, the quintet got their big break in the northern states, maybe because of the saturation of Southern rock at the time or maybe because Northerners like Southern music more than they’d like to admit. Whatever the reason, Blackberry Smoke doesn’t care because that recognition was a catalyst for their music career.

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