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
Can You Repeat That? for the holidays
Thanks to Brighthouse, our popular summer quiz show, Can You Repeat That? has been captured on video...Read More...
 
 
Volunteers arise
BHC is seeking a volunteer to help with a summer Game Show performance.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.
 
The latest from 1807 Blog Avenue

Homewood seniors pen a memorable collection of stories from their own pasts and announce a February book signing event.

Forty members of the Homewood Senior Center contributed nearly 90 stories from personal experiences, spanning most of the 20th Century: Basic training with Elvis, a cross-town memory of the 16th Street church bombing, the real Rosie the Riveter, and growing up in rural Alabama in the 1930s and '40s. Figuring prominently as main characters are The Alabama Theatre, the Edgewood streetcar line, and Turkey Creek. Anyone remember the Ice Cave? Click here for the story.   
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. 
A current event
Onward and upward . . .
 

To the fourth floor of the Pythian Temple of Alabama  Building.

The Birmingham History Center will be moving approximately 1 block catty-cornered across 18th Street North from its present office at 1807 Third Avenue North, (next to the Alabama Theatre).

Moving day is Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. The center's contact information, email and web addresses will remain unchanged.



 

 
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