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Birmingham has many notable historic landmarks today, but so many more are all but forgotten. The Bangor Cave Casino was once a world-renowned speakeasy. The Thomas Jefferson Hotel featured a zeppelin mooring station, drawing lots of attention from tourists. Other significant sites from the past, such as Hillman Hospital and the buildings on the "Heaviest Corner on Earth," are unknown even to natives now. Local author Beverly Crider presents an intriguing and educational tour through these and more hidden treasures.
me atop Red Mountain. Amazingly, I never even noticed the zeppelin mooring station on top of what by then was called the Cabana Hotel. When I worked downtown, I must have walked or driven past the buildings of Birmingham’s original skyline hundreds of times, yet didn’t acknowledge their contributions to our city’s development. The “Heaviest Corner on Earth”? Never heard of it. Hillman Hospital? Sure, I knew that it was part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medical Center. I even
again, the Lyric went without restoration. The theater’s doors closed for good in the early 1980s. The Lyric Theatre and its adjoining six-story office building now belong to Birmingham Landmarks Inc., the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Alabama Theatre. Recent estimates indicate it may take $15 million to $18 million to completely renovate the theater. “Look past the peeling lead paint, broken railings, dilapidated seats, crumbling plaster and faded artwork at the once-revered
investigation of a portion of the rolling mill at the old Shelby Iron Works. Joining in the dig were students of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and members of the Historic Shelby Association (HSA). The excavation was funded, in part, by a grant from the Alabama Historical Commission and by partial matching funds by the Historic Shelby Association. Visitors can now visit the remains at the site of Alabama’s first rolling mill at the five-acre park at 10268 Shelby County Road 42.
Steel.” Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. http://isjl.org/history/archive/al/birmingham.html. Gordon, Marty. “Quinlan Castle.” Renzn’tzman blog. http://renzntzman.blogspot.com/2007/03/quinlan-castle.html. Great American Stations website. www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/BHM. Henckell, R.B. “City Will Celebrate 80 Magic Years of Progress.” December 1951. Birmingham Public Library Digital Archives. http://bplonline.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4017coll2/id/485/rec/1.
of such a magnificent structure. I explained that in 1969 there wasn’t really the sense of historic preservation that exists today. In fact, it was not until the mid-1980s, when Cecil Whitmire’s campaign to save the Alabama Theatre went into full swing, that the fate of the Terminal Station began to be thrown up over and over again as a specter of what could happen. It worked for the Alabama, and since then, the Terminal Station has become the ghostly poster child for any number of preservation