Completed 1933 on the site of the Court Street Methodist Church –which moved itself to the new Cloverdale suburb and became First Methodist. The 5-story structure faces Church Street and was designed in Renaissance Style by Montgomery’s renowned architect, Frank Lockwood –probably his outstanding work. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. This was the Post Office -no one knew there was a Federal Court on upper floors. But they found out the hard way –This is where the nation’s civil rights issues were decided, where Judge Frank Johnson held forth and terrorized all comers. He even jailed people for making noise when his court was in session. Johnson lived around the corner from me on Old Farm Road in a modest bungalow, but you always saw a black sedan in his drive, home to two Secret Service agents.
This handsome addition to Frank Lockwood’s 1929 Federal Courthouse & Post Office was erected by GSA in 1999, and the resultant complex was named for Frank Johnson. He was the federal judge who reigned misery onto central Alabama for the quarter century of our civil rights catharsis. In this view, the old building (red roof) is on the left, and the circular addition (made famous by the trial of former Governor Don Seigleman) is to the right. Its construction displaced our historic Barnes School (see Page 43) with impunity, but ran into politically correct furor when the old Greyhound Bus Station (site of civil rights confrontations) was to be taken. The bus station is still there, albeit an empty hulk. The project also took a block of Molton Street, which allowed Troy University to then close the next block and absorb that stretch of Molton into its downtown campus.