Charles Humphries, aka "Gongy"

Charles Humphries, aka “Gongy”

This website is dedicated to and in loving memory of Charles Evans Humphries. Charles, also known as “Gongy” by his grandchildren, had a passion for history and buildings. Charles grew up in Eutaw, Alabama. He served in the U. S. Navy during WWII. He attended the University of Alabama, where he joined Sigma Nu fraternity. He then entered Auburn University, where he earned his architectural degree and graduated Phi Kappa Phi. Charles moved to Montgomery and made his home there for more than 60 years, loving its history, fabric, and downtown. He was a founding principal of PH&J Architects, where he served as Project Manager for hundreds of buildings across the south and the United States, including Auburn University’s Haley Center, the Montgomery County Courthouse, and the first five Retirement Systems of Alabama “greentop” office buildings, as well as 55 Water Street in New York City. Charles served as a mentor to many practicing architects.

Charles Humphries and first great-grandson Charles Conoly

Charles Humphries and first great-grandson Charles Conoly

After retiring Charles continued his passion for history and buildings, publishing several books on genealogy and building history throughout Montgomery. Some extracts from his books “Exploring Montgomery” and “Peril & Intrigue Within Architecture” can be found here. “Exploring Montgomery” was a hit and many wanted more stories and Charles wanted to learn more about the city he spent most of his life in. For years he would explore Montgomery, taking pictures, knocking on doors, researching in libraries and courthouse documents. He gathered hundreds of interesting stories of buildings, places and things all over the area. After discovering Facebook, he posted a portion of the stories there, but had plans for a second, and much larger, edition of his “Exploring Montgomery” book.

Sadly and suddenly on July 2, 2014 Charles died from complications from an aneurism at the age of 86. Shortly after he passed I started meeting people around Montgomery that knew my grandfather, Charles, and were heartbroken, not only from his death, but also because they thought all those stories and research he had done was gone. I loved his stories just as much, if not more. Everywhere we went he had a funny, interesting or amazing story about where we were or what we passed by while driving. It amazed me to hear these stories about places I see everyday and thought nothing about. That is why I am posting his hundreds of stories here, for others to receive the same enjoyment and knowledge Charles gave his friends and family.

Some of these stories are published in Charles’ books, some on his Facebook page, but many are not. Some he had not finished researching or photographing. Except for the ones unfinished or unresearched, most of the stories here are written by Charles himself. All the grandchildren loved hearing Gongy’s stories and I hope you will get as much enjoyment out of these as I have!

-Cyle Conoly