Diplomat Hotel

Diplomat Hotel

I always chuckle when I drive by the old Diplomat Hotel . . . out on the Southern By-Pass (now grandly called “Southern Boulevard”) at its intersection with Norman Bridge. Around 1960, when all this appeared, that intersection was the largest (by number of lanes) of any in the city. And would you believe it, during that decade this edifice was frivously called, and maybe it was, the Capitol of Alabama. The grand era of the downtown Exchange Hotel and its smoke-filled rooms was over. Downtown had died and taken the Exchange with it. Everything was happening out on the By-Pass, and this is where all the State Legislators stayed, lined up at the bar, enjoyed the entertainment, made deals, cooked up legislation. Back then, the Capitol Complex included no Statehouse, no committee rooms, no legislative offices. Who knows, maybe that statute you so proudly uphold, was conceived right here in the Diplomat.

-Charles Humphries

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