Remembering the City Hall Fire - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Remembering the City Hall Fire

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

86-year-old Dorothy Russell was six in 1932.

"March is when all this happened," Russell said.

Mrs. Russell vividly remembers the evening the Montgomery city hall went up in flames.

"The ambulances were going, the trucks were going," Russell said.

She says a tornado had touched down in Prattville and strong winds were in Montgomery. She was in church with her family at the time of the fire.

"I never did know why the fire started. All I knew is that city hall was burning down and all I knew the skies were red and the preacher that night preached on Hell's fire that night. But when we got out of the church, it looked like the whole world was coming to an end," Russell said.

Mrs. Russell says she watched and listened as some of her family members left to extinguish the fire.

"My father and my brother and a lot of men they went to help," Russell said.

"The burning of City Hall right in the depth of The Great Depression was a pretty traumatic and tragic incident," Montgomery resident Mary Ann Neeley said.

Neeley was five when the new city hall reopened in 1937.

"And the result was this truly fine building that has served its purpose beautifully," Russell said.

Mrs. Russell says she also remembers all of the activities at city hall, including her Baldwin Junior High School eighth grade dance in the 40's.

Mrs. Russell wasn't physically able to attend the city hall ceremony, but hopes to one day be able to visit the newly renovated city hall.

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