Selma’s Water Avenue is one of the finest surviving examples of a 19th century riverfront street in the south. Located here are structures which reflect the architectural trends in commercial buildings from 1830 to 1900.
This was the main business artery of one of central Alabama’s major commercial centers. During the War Between the States Selma was the Confederacy’s most important military depot in the lower south. The arsenal and naval foundry were located here and the St. James Hotel provided housing for officers and personnel. When Federal forces occupied Selma in 1865 all of the war-supporting industries and much of the city were burned. Following the war, cotton speculation created a boom (1870-1890) and new buildings replaced the burned ones.