Welcome to the Birmingham History Center

Magic Moments
O'Brien's Opera House
Just one of scores of Birmingham theaters to meet the wrecking ball
In 1878, future Jefferson County sheriff and Birmingham mayor, Frank O'Brien, bought 125 feet of frontage at the nor...
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Announcements
Volunteers arise
BHC is seeking a volunteer to help with a summer Game Show performance.Read More...
 
 
We've moved!!
The Birmingham History Center moved Nov. 1, 2013 to 1807 Third Avenue North. The museum exhibits ha...Read More...
 
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SURVEY ANSWERS
See your answers to CAN YOU REPEAT THAT?
 

In June and July, more than 300 people answered survey questions about Birmingham history for our game show, Can You Repeat That? We covered the top five answers at the show. Here, week by week, we will publish the results of the other 20 questions.


It’s a simple question, but one that attracted 95 different answers. With 243 total responses on this survey question, it’s easy to see that no answer convincingly tops the list. To winnow the choices, we first applied a filter for humorous responses (weatherman James Spann, radio sports personality Paul Finebaum, and “Vulcan”), those imprisoned for corruption (Larry Langford, Don Siegelman, Richard Scrushy), and the completely irrelevant (Shakira, Geraldine Brooks).

Next, we looked at answers garnering four or more responses (excluding Mr. Scrushy, with 5). Of those, the top five answers are:  
1) Condoleezza Rice - 19; 2) Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth – 15; 3) Nina Miglionico – 6; 4) Sun Ra, Richard Arrington, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – 5 each; and 5) Mayor William Bell, Birmingham native and celebrated football coach Bobby Bowden, Fannie Flagg, David Vann, and former NBA star and Leeds native Charles Barkley.- 4

It’s worth noting that Birmingham’s Arrington Middle School is already named for the city’s first black mayor, although responders perhaps thought it was time he was promoted. It is also worth noting that five people recognized the talents of the late Birmingham jazz artist, and Parker High School grad, Sun Ra. David Vann, the white mayor working behind the scenes to ease civil rights injustices, was described by one responder as an “unsung hero” of the city’s civil rights movement.
 
THINGS OF THE PAST --
Grape shot, musket ball, ball bearing, or what?
The Avondale neighborhood is never out of the news, a hipster enclave sporting trendy shops to new restaurants and Birmingham's first "craft" brewery since the free-the-hops legislation. As such, businesses have mined the area's history to give historic continuity to their new creations. Avondale Brewing Company has adopted the park's former zoo exhibit, the circus elephant Ms. Fancy, as its mascot. The park itself underwent a $2.8 million re-construction in 2011. And not long ago, a Birmingham metal detector enthusiast dug up an artifact that recalls Avondale's legendary place in Civil War history--the site of Jefferson County's only blood shed in a military engagement. And we use that term loosely. Click here to read more. 
The latest from 1807 Blog Avenue

Young Love! A donor brings a trove of 46 pre-war letters written by a Gorgas power plant clerk to his teenage sweetheart in Birmingham.

Bouts with malaria, "coded" messages in shorthand, references to Birmingham landmarks (the Alabama Theatre, Rex Tavern, East Lake Methodist church) and life in the years leading to World War II are all here in 46 letters from Wilford Pierce to 17-year-old Lottie Peterson of Eastlake.

These letters reveal great details about the social and work life of two Birmingham young people, while tending to confirm our view of teenage innocence before the second world war. Click here for a link to the blog. 
Can You Repeat That?
Even if you weren't there, say you were!
Souvenir posters benefit BHC
 
$12 gets you a
silkscreened edition
of the coveted
Yellowhammer Creative
poster commemorating
the historic show!

Buy one to remember
the event, if you were
there. If you weren't,
buy one to pretend you were!

Either way, proceeds benefit
the Birmingham History Center.  Call 205-202-4146 to purchase.
A current event
This building on 18th Street North is being gutted and remodeled for a a new restaurant with a familiar name--especially to those from Homewood.
 




Just a stone's
throw from
the Lyric Theatre
on 18th
Street,
this once-vacant
building
is being
remodeled
for a live/work
space that will
house a
restaurant
on
the ground floor.
 
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