Valentine's Day is around the corner so I'm sending some love to my original hometown. Just saw this article in Birmingham Magazine and had to share... There's even a section about Birmingham's preservationists. No. 13: We love our protectors.
Historic preservationists will tell you that the 1969 demolition of the Terminal Station to make way for the Red Mountain Expressway was one of architecture's darkest hours in the Magic City. But while the Terminal Station is long gone, others have stepped forward to ensure that similar mistakes don't happen in the future. From the mountains to the rivers, we celebrate a few of our "protectors":
- Though Cecil Whitmire died in 2010, the work he championed with Birmingham Landmarks Inc. lives on. Whitmire and his volunteers were the force behind renovation of the historic Alabama Theatre on Third Avenue North. Now, led by Whitmire's successor Brant Beene, there are grand plans for the Lyric Theatre, a vaudeville house across the street from the Alabama. It will be a fitting tribute to Whitmire's legacy if that proposed renovation becomes a reality.
- It's hard to believe now, but from 1999-2003, the statue of Vulcan didn't overlook the city. That's because a $14 million renovation was underway to save the statue that was in danger of collapsing. With the renovation, spearheaded by the Vulcan Park Foundation, came new landscaping, a new observation deck, a new museum and more. A newly reinvigorated Vulcan celebrated his 100th birthday in 2004, and the restoration project received a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Flowing from the Birmingham area southwest to Cahaba in Dallas County, the Cahaba River is Alabama's longest free-flowing river, home to more than 100 species of fish and the endangered Cahaba lily. Birmingham's Cahaba River Society is dedicated to preserving the flora, fauna and water that flows through the Cahaba. Likewise, Black Warrior Riverkeeper is a group determined to do the same thing for the Black Warrior River in Jefferson and Walker counties. Both groups hold fundraisers, tours and festivals to preserve two of the beautiful waterways in the Birmingham area. —Alec Harvey
Anybody else out there love the Magic City?