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The Gerald-Dowell House was built ca. 1854 by Perley and Camilla (Sanford) Buckley Gerald. Perley Gerald, a native of New York, moved to Alabama in 1829, first settling in Mobile before moving to the Montgomery area to trade with the Creek Indians. During the Gold Rush of 1849, the enterprising Gerald went west and made a fortune trading with the miners. He later married Camilla Sanford Bunkley, whose brother was General John William Sanford of Georgia and whose nephew was Colonel J.W.A. Sanford, Jr., who designed the State flag.

According to local tradition, Herman Arnold, conductor of the orchestra at the Montgomery Theater, was renting the front corner room of the house in 1861, when the Confederacy was formed. To celebrate the inauguration of Jefferson Davis, Arnold arranged "Dixie" as a march and led the Montgomery Brass Band in the inaugural parade. Another local inhabitant was Robert T. Simpson, an Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who lived in the building from 1940 to 1949.

The Gerald-Dowell House is one of the few large raised cottages remaining in Montgomery, and has undergone substantial rehabilitation as part of its conversion for use as a law office. In 2000, construction was completed on a new building connected to the historic structure through what was once an enclosed back porch. The addition, designed by PH&J Architects of Montgomery and constructed by W.K. Upchurch Construction Company, was designed to convey the image of a carriage house, in keeping with the historic nature of the site.

Nearby points of interest include the Dexter Avenue Methodist Church, where Martin Luther King was once a pastor, the Alabama State Capital and the Civil Rights Memorial.

The Gerald-Dowell House is on the National Historic Register. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places, go to http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/index.htm

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