| 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
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