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Found! An amazing film of 1914 Montgomery was recovered from the Alabama state treasurer’s vault

Early film of Montgomery in 1914 was discovered in the Alabama State Treasurer’s vault. Thankfully, it was turned over to the Alabama Department of Archives and History and they were able to restore and preserve the film.


Filming the movie in Montgomery, 1914

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The motion picture industry was in its infancy in 1914 when this film Present and Past in the Cradle of Dixie was made by the business community of Montgomery as a publicity film to show around the country.

Article in the Montgomery Advertiser announcing the film

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It is believed it was created to induce people to come to Montgomery and reduce the tension between the north and the south after the Civil War.  There was also the hope that people would relocate in Montgomery and perhaps move there companies here. During a scene near the end when ladies jumped out of the window, one of the actresses actually broke her leg.

A documentary on the film and its discovery can bee see below

Offices of Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet during the time this City was Capitol of the Confederacy, Montgomery, Alabama postcard dated August 25, 1914Most Historical Building in the South, Offices of Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet during the time this City was Capitol of the Confederacy, Montgomery, Ala

Fine Residences on Perry Street postcard dated July 1914

Residences on Perry Street August 25, 1914

The silent film has wonderful scenes of the city of what Montgomery looked like in 1914. There is a story plot in the film about a southern belle and the romance of a gallant gentleman from New England. The young lady takes the gentleman on a tour of Montgomery and they stop at the state capitol to see the 50th anniversary of the reenactment of Jefferson Davis’ inauguration. The film includes a series of flashbacks of the inauguration.

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Cars from 1914 drive from Union Station, down Commerce Street, S. Perry Street to Morningview. The film was made over a period of two days with many local citizens participating. The Alabama Department of Archives and History has also preserved a playbill from the film.

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me
All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .
For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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17 comments

  1. Lynn Lupei

    So interesting of the familiar names of local people who were in the movie.

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      It was a who’s who of Montgomery

  2. Rick Bozeman

    Interesting. Same year my grandfather and brother moved into Momtgomery from Hope Hull to start a automobile repair business that was on the Mobile Hwy.

  3. Teresa Wolford

    I wish people would quit celebrating the treasonous confederacy. They’re still doing it today. It’s unpatriotic.

  4. Teresa you are obviously not very educated on the subject. Before making such claims in the future make sure you are properly on the subject before opening your mouth please!

  5. Howard Kegley

    What was the name of the film…don’t think I recollect?

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      “Present and Past in the Cradle of Dixie”

  6. Mildred Plant Masten

    wow…loved seeing this!

  7. Sherry Hughes Garner

    I wonder if some of those houses are still standing. Would be neat to replicate the binocular view of the city. It’s fun to watch everybody gesticulating – men pounding the table, shaking their fists, women blowing kisses. Many of the people who reinacted this were most likely grandchildren of Confederate soldiers. And some of the men probably died in WWI fighting for the United States of America.

  8. Keith Eastep

    Nice find! Marcia Eastep Newman

  9. Rick Marks

    MaryBeth Jemison; Houghton Smith

  10. Houghton Smith

    The Col Harrison actor appears to be M. B. Houghton, the owner of Morningview.

  11. Susan Segars Robertson

    Such a joy to watch this! Thank you for making it available for us to view.

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