It is difficult to overstate the importance of the ramp down to the river at the foot of Commerce in the mid-1800’s. Each year, cotton bales by the hundred made their way to river steamers down the ramp, pulled by slaves, on to worldwide markets. Trade goods came the other way. When the railroads became dominate circa 1880, the ramp took the form of a tunnel under the tracks, so that horse drawn wagons could reach the wharf. By 1930, river commerce had waned such that the tunnel was closed. It was reopened 50 years later to facilitate Montgomery’s river front park development, which has become quite an entertainment attraction.
Last two photos courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History.