When we were at the Montgomery Visitor Center yesterday the lot in the back of the beautiful old Union Station was closed to the public because of a private event.We began our day today by returning to see what we missed. The really big Train Shed in the back, from 1897, is also a National Historic Landmark. It is big and beautiful and in very good condition. The 600-foot long shed originally covered six tracks. An historical plaque says “Few sheds of this type, once so much a part of the urban scene, remain. Designed by railroad engineers, it illustrates the beginnings of that technology which made possible the skyscrapers and bridges of today.”
Also there is an original electric street car from 1897. The streetcar system here ran for exactly 50 years when it was replaced with municipal buses in 1936. Trains still run by the Union Station–freight trains, not passenger trains, not under the old Train Shed, and they do not stop. Yesterday we walked through the tunnel access to the Riverwalk which is behind the Union Station. We didn’t walk the entire length of it so today we walked more of it. It goes along the Alabama River a little ways before it makes a turn and goes up hill. From the hilltop we have a good view of the local Downtown Farm, the train tracks, and the Alabama River and Interstate Highway 65.
At the end of the Riverwalk is the Wright Brothers Park. In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Seven years later they formed the first civilian flying school here in Montgomery, Alabama. Their intention was to teach potential buyers of their planes how to fly them so they could sell more planes. The flying school was short-lived, however, as mechanical and weather-related problems forced the brothers to close the facility earlier than planned. A full-size steel replica of the Wright Flyer sits upon a pole at the park and is the first thing we saw when we drove into town. Upon returning to the Gunter HIll Campground we went for a quick walk before the rain would come. Not sure what the purpose of this big pipeline is. There used to be a trail here with a boardwalk along its top. But looks like a tree had fallen on it and broke a section of the boardwalk and they never repaired it.